1. Check the temperature outside. As we get into colder months, dressing appropriately for a run can be more challenging. A quick look at the current weather and that for the next 1-2 hours can help create a game plan. Typically, I recommend dressing as if it is 10 degrees warmer than it actually is outside to avoid overheating during the run. Easy upgrades can include a running vest to shield some wind or rain, a running hat with a bill (for times of rain), and gloves. That weather outlook is rather important because it can help prevent either underpreparedness or overpreparedness. I say this because carrying your gloves or running with your vest open for the last mile can be inconvenient but doing so only 10 minutes into your run can become quite a distraction and nuisance during a run.

2. Foam roll. This is important as it will help both identify tight muscles and gently elongate the muscles where they are tight to allow for more appropriate joint motion.

3. Stretch the hips. This allows them to move normally. How do the hips get so dysfunctional? One of the easiest things to consider is the longer time you spend sitting down, the higher the chances your hips will be tight. It is imperative to stretch your hips in order to allow more free motion during your run. Tight hip muscles are a common cause of injury in the lower extremities and back pain.

4. Select audio motivation. What you listen to should meet the needs of the run. For runs that need motivation due to low energy or low desire, upbeat music may be just what is needed to power through. Conversely, for a day where grounding or mental clarity is desired from the run, it might be light, gentle music, or even a podcast or audiobook. That last one might seem odd to run to but a near daily go to for me is the audio bible for morning runs as I ease into the day.

Don’t let changes in seasons keep you from getting your runs in. It can allow for just the right stress relief, moment of clarity, or opportunity to better your health and fitness. It just takes a few minutes to set yourself up for a positive run.