"Many runners simply take the winter off, but this is a huge mistake," says Jason Fitzgerald, USATF-certified running coach. "Taking a season off -- or barely running at all -- prevents most runners from progressing."
So how can you beat the winter blues and continue to up your running game? The Huffington Post has just the answer with these 7 Training Tips:
7 Tips On How To Run Faster By Spring
1. Maintain Your Base
No matter the season, you want to maintain some level of base fitness. Ideally, you'll want to keep logging the same amount of miles you're used to. If that's not possible, reduce mileage by 10 to 20 percent, or reduce your intensity, but keep focusing on your base.
2. Build A Strong Behind
Many runners are plagued with inactive glutes and weak hips. Due to the inordinate amount of sitting we do in our daily lives, our behinds tend to be unresponsive, compromising their ability to do their job when we need them, like during a race. Add in clamshells, hip hikes and lateral leg raises and you'll be on your way to building a strong bum.
3. Improve Your Posture
Your mother was right: Good posture does matter. According to Dicharry, balance, alignment and posture all directly impact our running ability and form. "Most of us stand back on our heels and lock out our knees. We just 'hang out' in our posture," says Jay Dicharry, director of the REP Biomechanics Lab, author of Anatomy for Runners and USATF-certified coach. "When you stand like this all day, you'll start to run like this, too. And, poor posture can inhibit your hip strength by half."
Practice proper posture all day -- when standing, sitting, walking and running -- so that it becomes second nature and you can maintain this position even during a hard workout.
4. Build A Strong Core
Having a sturdy center helps improve stabilization and allows your lower body and upper body to communicate more effectively. Fitzgerald's "bread and butter" core workout includes everything from planks and side planks to modified bicycles and bird-dog exercises. He recommends doing a routine like this two to three times a week.
5. Practice Toe Yoga
Your feet play an important role in running. How can you make your feet more resilient? Practice toe yoga! What exactly is toe yoga? It's learning how to move your big toe and little piggies independently of each other. Keeping the ball of your foot on the ground, lift up just your big toe while your little toes remain on the floor and hold. Then, drive your big toe down into the ground while you lift up your little toes and hold.
6. Try Something New
Aqua jogging, stair mill, spin class... "The more things you do that are different, the better athlete you become," says Dicharry. If some form of cross-training isn't already in your weekly routine, mix in your favorite low-impact activity (or try something new!).
7. Hit the 'Mill!
Don't want to run outside? No problem. Try this treadmill hill workout from CLAY Health Club + Spa. It will build glute and leg strength as well as increase fast-twitch muscle fibers. The result: you being able to run farther, better, faster and stronger.
For the full article and more great tips, read the HuffPost article here.