The end is near. No, I'm not a doomsday soothsayer predicting the apocalypse. Quite the opposite, actually. The winter doldrums brought on by cold, dark runs are ending soon (we hope). Spring is almost here. The four simple words “Pitchers and catchers report!” signify that daylight savings will have us leaping forward in just a few short weeks. Hooray for daylight!
Spring is an excellent time to polish up those old New Year’s resolutions gathering dust in a corner somewhere. We start the year with great intentions, but get worn down riding Mother Nature's bipolar-coaster. As Dorothy would say, "Floods and darkness and snow! Oh, my!" Now is the perfect time to ready ourselves for the spring and summer ahead. We don't want to be like Aesop's grasshopper, hopping into warmer months unprepared to achieve the goals we set at the beginning of the year.
So, how do we get ready for spring training? Here are a few tips:
Be Honest | Let's not kid ourselves. If we've put consistent training on the back burner for a few months, our overall fitness has suffered. The quickest way to failure and an un-fun spring is to try to jump right back into training at the same point at which we left off months ago. We need to be honest and realistic about our current fitness level and gradually build from there. The goal is to lay a solid foundation on which we can build our fitness. It is not to leap for our goals and hope we don’t crash too hard.
Accountability | Find a group, a friend—anyone—to train with. There is strength and support in numbers. Running buddies and groups help hold us accountable. More often than not, we will give up on ourselves before we give up on one another. Knowing that others are relying on us and expecting us helps us stay on task. A support network exponentially increases our chances of success. With a few new programs starting up this spring, Fleet Feet has group accountability covered.
Find A Race | Races will begin sprouting up around town quicker than the crocuses. Find a race to get those competitive juices flowing. Enjoying a fine weekend morning with several hundred kindred spirits is a great way to kick the winter from your feet. Plus, signing up for a race is an investment in your goals. It’s a contract we make with ourselves.
Gear Up | Set yourself up for success with the proper gear. The key word here is proper. Too often, we fail to invest in the equipment we need to be successful until after we've been sidelined by injuries. Not only does the right equipment help keep us healthy, but the financial investment works as a motivating factor as well. And never buy gear because you like the style or color or because it just happens to work well for your friend. We are all different runners with different needs. Might I suggest a friendly neighborhood Fleet Feet to help you select the right gear for your goals?
The Cardinals are at spring training, laying the foundation for a World Series season. We need to follow suit. Now is the time to enjoy our own spring training and turn what might have been into a triumphant, "Look what I did!"
Tim Cary is Head Track & Field and Cross Country for Lindenwood University at Belleville and the former Fleet Feet Assistant Training Manager. Over his more than two decades of coaching, Tim has coached athletes to three national team championships, five national individual championships, two national records, and numerous All-American and All-State honors. Click here to receive Tim's articles via email.