Spring is Here!

Spring is a critical period for many endurance athletes in Quebec. For many, the cleared sidewalks and the return of milder temperatures can cause a rapid change in training routines. Some runners will drastically increase their training volume. Others will get back to speed work and interval training. Furthermore, those who remained active during the winter months will say goodbye to their skis, snowshoes, and treadmill for outdoor runs. In all cases, some rules are to be considered in order to reduce the risk of overuse injuries.

Any change to your running training must be done gradually so that your body can adapt to it. The change of running surface does not deviate from this rule. So, running outside on paved roads is not, per se, dangerous. What is risky is the transition between both surfaces. If you favor treadmill running through the winter months, a gradual transition is in order. As a general rule, it is recommended to reduce the running distance by at least 30% when you switch from the treadmill, which absorbs some of the shock, to roads, which are harder and therefore cause more load and more work to absorb that load. Subsequently, gradually increase the training volume while listening to your body’s aches and pains, as adaptability varies from one person to another. A certain level of discomfort is often present in an adaptation process, but if persistent discomfort develops, temporarily reduce the length of your outings and re-increase as symptoms dissipate.

If you have practiced little or no running during the winter months, it is particularly important to resume gradually. When the body is not exposed to impact activities on a regular basis, it will take more time to adapt to such impact. Many running experts agree that a runner who has stopped training for a period of more than 3 months will have to return to the same level as a beginner runner. In other words, start with only a few minutes of jogging at a time, alternating with the jog-walk, adding 1-2 minutes at a time progressively. That being said, an experienced athlete can certainty increase the training volume faster than a neophyte, but they must start at the bottom of the ladder to avoid training beyond their current maximum capacity. Once again, we must listen to our body, as it is the only guide who can lead this progression.

The best advice to follow to allow an effective adaptation to the mechanical stress of running is to run often. Either 4 times or more a week. I can already hear several triathletes telling me that their training schedule does not allow them more than two runs a week. No worries, 10 to 15 minutes of running still counts. We are not talking about cardiovascular training here, but about loading our body a bit to adapt to the mechanical stress of impact. Adding 2 to 3 mini jogs a week following each bike outing is an easy way to increase the frequency of runs in addition to adding some Bricks bike-running workouts to your training!

Our therapists, who are experts in running, will be delighted to help you manage an injury, but also decrease your risk of injury and even increase your performance. In addition, our runner analysis service will allow you to start your running season with full confidence.

Come on! It’s time to play outside now!

by Rémi Bergeron, B.Sc. P.T.
Running expert