Spring is finally here, and now that the weather is starting to get warmer, you may be itching to get outside and run. But if you took a bit of a running break during the winter, don't expect to be running at the same level as you did in the fall. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you head outside to take advantage of the nicer weather and ease back into running:
Make slow increases. If you haven't run consistently all winter, start your spring training with short, easy runs -- no more than 3 or 4 miles at a time. Don't run two days in a row. One of the easiest ways to get injured is to increase your mileage too soon, before you've established a good running base. Don't bump up your mileage by more than 10 percent per week.
Watch your intensity. Be patient with your running -- it could take as long as 4-6 weeks to re-build your running base. Don't introduce hill running or speed training until you have a solid base. And make sure you give yourself enough recovery time in between hard workouts.
Follow a training schedule. If you decide to train for a late spring or summer race, find a training schedule that works for your race distance and running level. Following a training schedule will help keep you on track and prevent you from doing too much too soon.
Get used to running outside again. If you didn't run or trained on the treadmill during the winter, you may have forgotten some important safety precautions for running outdoors.