Whether spring has already sprung where you live or if it’s about to, it’s that time of year for runners to start adjusting to warmer temperatures that sometimes seem to come at random. You know how March is—one day it’s snowing, and the next it’s in the 70s! Here in the South, the temperatures swing back and forth, making it hard to acclimate to anything. With a little patience and some strategic planning, you’ll be ready to embrace the warmer weather and sweat through the summer in no time.
1. Consider your spring race schedule. You’ll want to make sure your long runs emulate race conditions. If you’re racing later in the spring (think May races) or in warm climates, plan your long runs to take place in the warmest part of the day. If you’re racing early in the spring (March or early April) or in a colder climate, continue to run in the mornings and on the coldest days of the year.
2. Layer accordingly. Long runs can be miserable without the right gear, but it is very tempting to overdress at this time of year. The mornings are cool or cold, but quickly warm up, leaving you sweating. Wear a layer or two and shed it once you get moving. If you hate layers (I do!), plan your wardrobe based on what the temperatures will be like during the last hour of your run so that you don’t overheat when you’re working your hardest.
Related: The Sweat Struggle
3. Drink more fluids. With the air still dry and not yet humid, you might not feel that soul-sucking thirst that summer runs can yield. Before you get acclimated to the warmer temperatures, you’ll be working harder than usual and getting your heart rate up faster. Accommodate for the extra workload by drinking extra fluids throughout your run.
4. Don’t be afraid to slow down. The first run in truly warm weather can be sobering. Your body isn’t used to working at those temperatures just yet, and there’s no shame there. Slow it down if you need to in order to keep your heart rate in its target heart rate zone.
5. Enjoy it! After months of slogging through the cold winter season, the warm sunshine and longer hours are a welcome change. Try and focus on the positive, even if you don’t love running in the heat. Enjoy each season as it comes – it’s not summer yet!