Just a few short months ago, we were glowing with excitement over orange and yellow foliage, crisp morning air, and winter spices. After a bomb cyclone, Florida snow day, and Erie disappearing under snow, we’re ready for spring!
The change of seasons will bring more than nicer weather—it will drastically change how we train and compete. As you kick spring training into gear, we’ve got some great tips for your spring ramp-up on staying safe and making the most of your workouts(and the science to back it up!):
- Goodbye treadmill, Hello world! – Now that the snow is melting and trees are budding, you can return to running in the sun. Better news? There are benefits to taking the run outdoors! You’ll engage more muscles—your glutes, for example, will take on more work pulling your legs under and behind as you run in the absence of the treadmill’s belt. The uneven terrain of an outdoor run will also work those smaller leg and foot support muscles and require more core muscle engagement. And, while the treadmill won’t hurt the biomechanics of your run, we know you’re better prepared for race day when you most closely mimic race conditions in training. So unless you’re racing on treadmills, it’s time to head outside!
- So long to you, too, stationary bike! –Now, let’s start with reassuring your stationary bike that we’ll see it again. They are great for speed work, after all. But you really need to get outside with some twists, turns, and even some terrain changes to work on balance, fluidity, and to fully engage the core muscles you’ll depend on for long rides.
- Integrating intervals – The winter months are great for some extra time in the gym doing weight training, shoring up any weak areas, and really drilling in on specific routines to address specific needs. Now, let’s add some high-intensity-interval-training (HIIT) into the mix. HIIT’s greatest benefits for the experienced athlete are its proven ability to increase VO2max—how efficiently you use blood oxygen during exertion—and building endurance. Swedish researchers found that mixing HIIT into your regimen improved muscular endurance. Free radicals released in HIIT training basically cue the muscle cells that they are running out of juice and need to step up mitochondria—cellular energy—production. Make sure you are physically prepared (i.e., consult your doctor first).
- Easy there, tiger! – Even if you’ve stayed at your peak all winter with a gym routine, you’ll need some transition time. The benefits we listed below for returning to the great outdoors also indicate the need to transition with a reverse-taper of sorts. Your body needs a little time to acclimate to all of this again. While many factors—intensity, duration, and frequency—play into how long it will take your body to acclimate, you could be ready to start pushing boundaries in as little as two weeks.
Seasonal changes and times of great variation in output are also times to be aware of exercise-associated muscle cramps. Varying levels of exertion, varying muscle engagement, and introducing new exercises—basically things athletes do in spring—can be perfect catalysts for cramping. Fortunately, we have a tip for you on that front, too. HOTSHOT is the only product scientifically proven to not only treat, but also prevent muscle cramps.
To see what cramp-free spring training is like, click here to get your supply of HOTSHOT. Then, tell us how it changes your training experience—we’re always listening on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.