Spring tends to naturally bring about a renewed sense of love for outdoor running. As winter thaws, so does that icy feeling of frustration that comes with working out on the streets during the coldest, darkest months of the year. As our mornings brighten, passion blossoms once again.
(New York City tends to lack in spring colors — mainly green. Fortunately, there are plenty of pretty flowers planted throughout.)
As much as I enjoy it, and to this day have yet to purchase a gym membership, Central Park from December through February can feel tedious and cruel. March and April, to be perfectly frank, haven’t been much kinder to us either. And as my wedding approached in early April, I was very much itching for spring.
Only in recent weeks have the mornings become tolerable — almost enjoyable, in fact. While I’m still in long pants (with a few runs in shorts peppered in here and there) and, most mornings, long sleeved shirts, the sunshine on my skin feels divine. The air may still be crisp, but my body is at least quick to heat up.
I know I’m not the only one who’s running fire has been fueled by the spring air.
Central Park, once quiet and bare on winter mornings, is now bursting with energy, the paths packed with runners and cyclists, walkers and dogs. Instead of leisurely paces and clear-cut routes, it’s the time of the season when, to run without stopping, one must zig-zag in and out of fellow pedestrians, making an effort not to swipe an arm against the flesh of another (lest you suffer the disgust of a stranger’s sweaty skin).
But that’s a whole lot of run love, amirite?
I never thought I’d say this, but after running for so many consecutive days now, I’m beginning to consider whether there’s a negative side to all this fervor.
I mean, it’s great that I can run every day and all, but if I run every day, that means there is less room in my life for alternative modes of exercise, like yoga and strength training and impromptu classes like Circuit of Change. This week, I practically had to force myself to swap my morning in Central Park for a “lunchbox flow” at Mang’Oh studio in Murray Hill. Even then, the class turned out to be crowded, all of us packed in (ironically, as with a lunchbox) like sardines.
I know I don’t need to say this, but not only are cross-, strength- and stretch-training GOOD for your body, but no matter how much we deny it, they’re also incredibly AWESOME for the run, making us stronger, fast, more resilient. They’re paramount to our performance as runners but also great for our general health and well-being.
So is it wrong to ignore these complementary modes of exercise to enjoy the spring air and run, run, run, run, run?