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The snowfall in January didn’t stop Leslie Mitchell, left and Sue Johnson from their morning jog along Middle Road in Davenport. If you stuck to your treadmill this winter, you'll want to take some precautions before you run outside again.

Man, what in the world did we get hit with the last two months? That has to be some of the most brutal winter weather in recent memory. Between the snow and extreme cold continuing to switch spots, it was nonstop fun.

If you have been anything like me, it’s been a challenge to get out the door on some of those cold mornings. I was lucky to shift my running around to the mid- to late-day hours during each of the vortexes. I’m not sure I would have done much if I didn’t have that opportunity.

Now that daylight saving time has started, we should finally turn the corner and things should start warming up. Gaining the extra daylight in the evenings should brighten moods and get us excited that spring might finally arrive.

If you’ve been running on the treadmill all winter, you are probably excited to finally get back outside to log your miles. I’ve highlighted a few things to help you maintain perspective with the positive changes of returning to the great outdoors.

  1. You are going to work some muscles you haven’t used in a while. Drop pace expectations for your first few runs on pavement and just let your body get used to the extra impact and effort to get you through them. After a few outings you will be back in the groove.
  2. Be cautious of running on trails. I haven’t been on any trails in the last month due to the snow and ice. They haven’t been the safest place to get a solid workout in despite using traction devices. Icy trails can create a hazard that could potentially derail the next few weeks or months’ worth of activities. With warm temps (30s and 40s) in our extended forecast, we will see the ice melting.  While that’s great, it also creates an issue of rutting if trails are being used when they are saturated with water. Please allow them time to dry out to avoid creating future erosion issues. Also, if hitting any mountain bike trails, verify they are in fact open for use before going. Our local MTB group puts a lot of hard work into maintaining their trails so please respect their wants and stay off their trails if they are marked as closed.
  3. Be cautious upon returning to the streets. Foot traffic drops significantly during the cold months. Because of this, I see a trend with drivers not paying as much attention at stop signs or when turning at intersections in the winter. Drivers need to get used to seeing runners back out on the streets each spring. Running defensively is the only way to make sure you return unscathed.

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Jeramy Duffee is an RRCA Running Coach and an ACE Certified Personal Trainer with racing and coaching experience ranging from 5K’s to 100-mile trail races. For coaching services, please email him at swingthegate@gmail.com

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