For runners, spring brings welcome return outdoors

Running season never really dies in winter, but it tends to burrow itself into cozy, warm buildings where tracks lie.
As the cold, winter months subside, though, runners like Costa Routos begin transitioning back outside to get their daily run in. For Routos, a 20-year-old, history and education major, the transition is welcome and offers relief from indoor running.

Getting off the track and on the road is easy because “there’s more stuff to look at (and) you don’t have the monotony of running inside,” said Routos, a sophomore from Manchester, N.H.
Routos and many other runners look forward to transitioning back into warmer weather, but first they have to make it through many snowy days.
Track and treadmill running has not deterred Routos from cutting back on his workouts.
“I run six days a week (and) I take one day off as a recovery day,” Routos said, noting that is a routine good for the body, especially when just beginning to run.
“Transition from indoor to outdoor running is a piece of cake,” said Nick Cooper, who is Regulatory Compliance Attorney as well as the head cross country coach at Norwich.
Transitioning from outdoor running to indoor is the difficult change, he said. It is mentally harder because there is no change of scenery as there is when running outside, Cooper said.
Moderation in running, with recovery days, can help prevent injuries, argues Eric Mentes, a 20-year-old athletics major.
“There’s a couple different things that (can lead to) running related injuries. The biggest way to prevent them, I would say, is moderation,” said Mentes, a junior who is from Sutton, Vt.
“Anyone can get them, but the biggest thing is just knowing your body and not over pushing it,” Mentes said.
Preventing injuries and taking care of injuries is important for runners to understand. Having good shoes is a key step.
“The only gear that helps is a good pair of running shoes. It’s usually best to go to a running shoe store and most have knowledgeable staff who can help you,” said Cooper.
Other than the shoes, Cooper mentioned that adjusting slowly to running changes can be helpful. “All runners need to ease into things – whether that is starting to walk and jog at first for runners just starting, or whether it means only increasing a cross-country runner’s mileage no more than 10 percent a week,” Cooper said.
One reason runners like seeing spring is that winter may hold more risk of running related injuries, because of the dangers posed by ice and snow on the ground.
“I would look at this as a common sense approach, I guess,” Mentes said. “I would say winter (has more risk) because of (ice and snow). The weather and the season will attribute some (to injuries).”
Routos said he has had plenty of running related injuries such as problems with his ACL in his knee and Plantar Fasciitis, a common runner’s ailment.
Plantar Fasciitis, according to the Mayo Clinic, is “one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue…that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.”
“I have pretty weak ankles so I roll my ankles all of the time,” Routos said. Routos said he works closely with his athletic trainer to prevent his injuries and lifts to build strength in the offseason.
Spring also means not having to layer on as many clothes as in cold weather when venturing outside to run.
Running outdoors in the winter is “pretty difficult,” said Routos, who notes you have to wear a warming layer if it’s not the kind of temperatures you’re used to. The gear runners need outdoor exercise can also be extensive and expensive. Robert Greene, a 19-year-old accounting major said he wears “an under layer, and then something really tight on top to block the wind from touching your legs and then you wear a long sleeve undershirt and then you have a wind breaker on.”
Greene, a sophomore from East Hartford, Conn. braved the winter season despite an unusually cold few months and some brutal wind chills. “There’s only been one day this year where I couldn’t run outside and it was maybe -25 (degrees),” he said,
But avid runners say winter can be tolerated if enough layers are worn. “If you have all the right gear, running in the winter is just as comfortable as running during any other time of year,” Cooper said. That means shelling out some money, though.
Running tights can be around $80 to $120, Cooper said. The other main cost is the shoes.
“Trail shoes are a big thing if you’re going to be on a mountain or on a trail. If you’re going to be on a road, it’s usually whatever (running) shoe is fine,” Maria Trejo, a 19-year-old freshman said. “For race day you want lighter shoes.”
The amount of money someone is going to spend on a pair of shoes is mostly dependent on brand, but there are also bargains to be had.
“Most of the shoes I have are over $100 but I’ve never paid over $40,” said Trejo, a civil engineering major from Elkin, N.C.
There are a lot of quality brands that are also affordable too,” said Chapel Guarnieri who is a 20-year-old, sophomore.
Guarnieri, a criminal justice major from Pepperell, Mass., said she does “spend a fairly large amount on sneakers, but a good pair of sneakers that feel good and get you through the season, is worth it.”
While good running shoes can get expensive, another issue is that they may need to be replaced fairly often.
“A lot of people don’t know, but running shoes are only good for about 400-500 miles per good running shoe,” Routos said. Once the heel of the shoe beings to wear away, a runner is more prone to injuries, added Greene.
Running outdoors or indoors is doable at all times of the year, according to the avid runners at Norwich. Using the correct gear and paying attention to the risks to avoid injury is part of every running season.
But there’s little doubt that most runners prefer being in the outdoors. Warm weather running is more favorable over cold weather because “there’s way more stuff to look at and it gets a lot quieter running indoors (and) you have to worry about other people; it gets really monotonous doing 100 laps inside Plumley,” Routos said.

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