The cycle for me goes a little something like this...
September - **breaths in slow, breaths out slow** beautiful fall weather...I get to wear jeans and a sweater, but maybe don't have to put on that huge coat! Autumn is upon us and the climate feels right for just about anything. Running outside is more comfortable than it was in July and it's quieter as school is now in session.
October - Halloween is coming, how cute all these little kids will be marching around my neighborhood! Gotta figure out what my kids will dress up as too! I'll come up with something great, ideas come flowing to me as I go out for a brisk run. The scenery seems to enhance my creativity.
November 2nd - ... OK now, let's get rid of this excessive candy around the house.
November 5th - Thanksgiving is coming, let's put some gourds and indian corn on the table! I can still enjoy a walk with my family after dinner, just add a scarf. I will put on my fleece lined running pants, but I can still go for a run! Afterwards, I'm going over to the local rec center to get a membership. Just because I won't want to run outside soon doesn't mean I can't stay healthy and active!
December - Christmas is coming now, finish up shopping - don't forget so-and-so! Get the Christmas tree up, decorate and put up those twinkling lights. What a nice, warm, cozy house and there are about to be so many fun memories to be made. Though I do find myself grumpier than I was last month-when is the last time I went for a run?
January - New Years! I can be whoever I want to be - what kinds of things do I want to try and make better in my life? This is the time to do it! ... Uh oh, I haven't made it over to the rec center...never got my membership pic taken, never went to exercise and my 1st 1-month membership expired last month. How disappointing.
January 3rd - OK, time to take down the decorations, this tree is getting needles everywhere and it's a fire hazard now. Oh and how about those lights outside? ... but it is so cold/snowy/rainy/wet/dirty outside :-/
February - Well I guess Valentine's Day is OK. Maybe I will get to have a nice night out for dinner and not have to clean up the kitchen!
March - OK, I'm done with this weather, just done with it. And what was up with that week of 50 degree weather? Just a tease, because now it's negative 300 again. GRRRR!
April - Alright, it isn't THAT cold and I never did go to the rec center. I only have a couple months to get into swimsuit shape, so let's get moving!!
I feel that it's in our genetic makeup to slack when the winter months are upon us. I mean, we are supposed to be sleeping in a cave somewhere until the raindrops start to fall right? Some awesome people out there manage to keep up with Yoga, treadmill running, Peloton, Spenga and other indoor activities. Truth is for me, sometimes I feel like a big motivation of 'exercising' for me is being able to see the world around me, which I can't do inside. So when I actually manage to be good about exercising in the winter, I don't feel like I get out of it what I'm hoping to. Finally spring comes around and I decide that it's time to get back into running outside. I start to feel more motivated about making time for myself in this way. One thing I try to make sure to do every year is to ease into things. As much as I've been daydreaming about being out running farther than I have before to places I haven't run before, taking it a step at a time is essential.
Even for those awesome people I mentioned earlier, when you get back to outdoor activities, there are little differences that may mean you shouldn't run the whole 15 miles you would on a treadmill on the pavement right away. Your body still needs to adjust to the new environment and you may run faster outside than on the treadmill without realizing it. If you start back up to your activities from 0 to 60, you may end up at 0 for a few weeks because of an injury. Another thing that tends to happen is that you are so excited to run that you forget to stretch, warmup and have a proper recovery. You are just so glad you ran, you are ready for the next things.
Stress fractures, tendinitis and plantar fasciitis are just a few of the more commonly seen conditions come springtime. Stress fractures occur as the result of increasing speed and distance too quickly, and also of changing from treadmill or track to pavement. Pavement does not have the benefit of shock absorption, so this energy from every step is much more transferred through the bones of your feet than your body is used to. Ensuring you have running shoes that aren't worn out is also important. If you had a new pair before winter and ran on the treadmill for the last couple months, they may not look as dirty, but it doesn't mean their construction isn't compromised. Tendinitis and plantar fasciitis often result due to neglect for stretching and shoes that are not supportive enough. Custom orthotics can help prevent recurrence of all of these conditions and we offer them at our office.
To keep you going from week to week, take things just one day at a time, one run at a time. Make sure when you account for time to run in the morning that you have also worked in the time to stretch, warm up, cool down and stretch again. Your muscles will probably still be achy a day or two or more after, but stretching through these days and recovering a day at least before you hit the pavement again will be something your body thanks you for later.