Contrary to what the recent two snow storms tell us (at least here in Chicagoland), Spring is around the corner! We will soon be able to get outside, pound out some miles on the bike, run in shorts and a t-shirt, and enjoy the weather!!!
In anticipation of that, lets go over a few things to think about before we start pounding out those miles.
1. Maintenance. Make sure you look over your bike, and do the proper maintenance so it’s ready to put in all those miles. It’s been sitting all winter, so lubrication may have dried up. Things may have gotten bumped or damaged while it was sitting in your garage. Tires could have dry rotted, or you may have forgotten you needed now ones before you put it away for the winter last year. Check your running shoes, and make sure they are road worthy, along with any other gear you carry with you on your runs/bikes. If you’re not sure how to properly perform maintenance take it to the nice people at Spokes, in Wheaton, for a spring tune up!! Check over your bike helmet too. Make sure it’s in good condition and has no cracks.
2. Clothing. Watch the weather reports and be ready for any drastic changes in temperature you are going to experience while your on the bike or out running. Make sure you are warm enough for the coldest parts of the day and that you can peel off the clothes so you are cool enough when it warms up. Check over your bike helmet too. Make sure it’s in good condition and has no cracks.
3. Hydration. The amount of water you consume may increase in warmer weather. Be sure you take enough with you if the day will get warmer while your out, or plan out a route where you can stop and re-fill.
4. Coordination. Be careful out there! Typically, we spend lots of time on treadmills and bike trainers over the winter. Our skills for dodging cars coming out driveways, or jumping over logs on a trail run, have diminished. Take your time and ease back into to things slow to get your reflexes back. Trying to set a PR on your favorite Strava mountain bike segment probably isn’t the best idea right out of the gate!
5. Safety. One thing a lot of us don’t think about, but we should! Every year, there are more and more attacks on cyclists and runners. Whether it be an angry motorist, or a predator looking for an easy target on a remote not so well lit trail, we as athlete’s sometimes can become targets. So don’t be afraid to take measures to protect yourself! Have a plan, make sure someone knows to about when to expect you back, and carry a cell phone for emergencies.