Oh, heck yes! It’s been one doozy of a winter, but spring is finally here — and it’s time to get outside and get active again.
But let’s be realistic here. The season may technically be spring, but there’s a good chance we’ve still got some cold days and melted snow ahead of us. That’s not going to keep us from heading outside, but we’d still like to keep our feet warm and dry and clothes unmuddied — thank you very much.
Here are some tips to keep you comfortable during the thaw:
1. Lighten up.
Trade your winter parka in for a light, packable waterproof jacket and pants. You need full-body protection against splash back when you run through puddles, and using lightweight, packable gear ensures that you won’t leave it behind to cut weight and then end up wet and cold. You’ll also stay dry if it rains, snows or pours freezing rain on you — all of which can happen in the shoulder season. Even better? Being waterproof from head to toe protects you from even the most inconsiderate of puddle-splashing drivers if your workout takes you anywhere near the road.
2. Expect the weather to change.
It might be winter one day and spring the next, then flip back and forth a few times before it’s done. Cope with the changing extremes by leaving room for layering underneath your waterproof jacket and pants. Check the forecast before you go and take extra layers if necessary, or even better yet, just leave an extra top and bottom layer or two in your vehicle or pack all the time. The extra air trapped between layers acts as insulation for your body, and as long as the layers are available, you can remove or add them to fine-tune your comfort.
3. Remember the small things
It’s easy to remember important workout gear, like your shoes or jacket, but there are a few small things that will optimize your spring fitness time. Sunglasses help shield your eyes from cold winds and spring sun all at the same time. Always have an extra pair of dry socks available. Always. Finding dry socks when you need them is just as good as finding a $20 bill in the pocket of your winter coat come next winter. And toss a plastic grocery bag or waterproof stuff sack in with your other gear to hold any wet or muddy gear separate from dry items.
4. Have fun
Spring may present unpredictable weather, puddles and even a residual winter snow, but being prepared to brave the elements will make your outdoor spring workouts fun and effective.