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SUMMER WEIGHT GAIN AND WINTER MAINTAIN

SUMMER WEIGHT GAIN AND WINTER MAINTAIN

By Ashley Gerrard

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Heading into the fall weather, there doesn’t seem to be much difference from the summer we just had.  It was a pleasant surprise to experience mild weather and perfect conditions for runners.  We didn’t suffer through scorching hot, humid days for weeks at a time. This allowed many of us to log numerous miles and take countless steps toward lengthening our distances and improving our times.  Although we can remain hopeful that the mild weather trend will continue into winter, it is safe to assume that will very likely not be the case.  So what do all the runners at the many different levels and abilities do to maintain the gains they have achieved? How can they continue to move forward in the cold, snowy and icy months to come?

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Whether you’ve been running for years, or you just started a few months ago, it has been convenient during the nice weather months to grab your shoes and get some miles in right outside your door.  Maybe even multiple times a week you find yourself staying out longer or going farther.  So you newbie runners over the summer were able to create this new habit, and the thoughts about what to do over winter to maintain are creeping up.  The same applies to avid runners.  Maybe you set some new PRs or found a new favorite trail just as fall is cruising in.  So now what can you do?

Milk it.  If you continue running as the days get cooler your body will adapt with the changing temperatures.  Plus, this is Ohio! There’s a good chance of having some random really nice days mixed in as the temperature drops.

Treadmill and an indoor track.  As “boring” as these two options are, they do allow for working on mile times.  Some treadmills have different settings that allow you to do hill and speed programs, or you can create your own incline workout.  Since the loop of an indoor track is typically a shorter distance, you can work on interval runs by alternating normal paced and quicker laps.

Cross train with biking or swimming.  These forms of cardio are a great way to give your “running” muscles a break while still working on your endurance and stamina.  Laps in an indoor pool, on a spinning bike, or a road bike on a bike stand are great ways to utilize the indoors and optimize your cardio output.

Strength train.  Muscular strength is important for everyone and should be a part of any regular training program. Runners require strong legs to withstand the demands that long distances and hills place on the body.  Most may think upper body strength is more of an optional or vanity thing, but for runners, upper body strength is crucial for strong fluid leg movement.  A strong core will also help maintain integrity of the body as a whole, connecting the upper and lower body to move in sync.

Form and technique.  This is a great time to really pick apart your gait and stride and see how you are able to improve to become a more efficient and safe runner. Just working on your stride and where your foot makes contact with the ground can make a huge difference in your times, pace, and how your body responds to your run.

Oh, and don’t forget. If you happen to be lucky enough to vacation somewhere that you can take advantage of warmer temperatures, be sure to pack your shoes!

How can we be sure that we are moving forward?

Set goals. An end of summer goal deciding what you would like to accomplish prior to spring; an end of year goal about the new year and what it means to you and your health; and an end of winter goal applying all the different things you took advantage of during winter and how to succeed this summer.

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Map out new runs and find new trails. This will give you something new to try out on those random nice days or once the weather starts to break.  Have a game plan so when the time comes you can leap right back into stride.

Plan races to participate in.  Get a few lined up right in the beginning of spring so you stay motivated to keep your endurance ready.

Continue moving forward.  Don’t let summer be the only few months of the year where you work on improving your runs.

SUMMER WEIGHT GAIN AND WINTER MAINTAIN

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