Here are 10 spring fitness tips to keep you comfortable while you exercise during the winter thaw. 1. Lighten up Trade your winter parka in for a light, packable waterproof jacket and pants. You need full-body protection against splash-back when you run through puddles, and using lightweight, packable gear ensures that you won't leave it behind to cut weight and then end up wet and cold. You'll also stay dry if it rains, snows or pours freezing rain on you — all of which can happen in the shoulder season. Even better? Being waterproof from head to toe protects you from even the most inconsiderate of puddle-splashing drivers if your workout takes you anywhere near the road. WRITERS & BLOGGERS SUBMIT ARTICLES TO firstname.lastname@example.org 2. Let your footwear work for you Abandon any thoughts of protecting your footwear from mud, slush and puddles. Let those shoes or boots sacrifice themselves to keep your feet dry — that's their job. Most waterproof boots or shoes have a waterproof bootie sewn into the body of the shoe. As long as this bootie isn't pierced and you don't step into water that's higher than its edge, your feet will stay warm and dry. If you think you might end up in over that level, which varies from shoe to shoe, you can extend your waterproof foot protection by using standard gaiters or shorter ankle gaiters. You can also sometimes get by with wearing waterproof pants that cinch down tightly over the tops of your shoes or boots. If temperatures aren't cold enough to pose a hazard to wet feet, you could also just toss on a pair of throwaway sneakers or water shoes, which are made of mesh that lets water in but also lets it drain right out again so you're not squishing around, and then splash away to your heart's content. Allow 3-4 weeks for reply
3. Expect the weather to change It might be winter one day and spring the next, then flip back and forth a few times before it's done. Cope with the changing extremes by leaving room for layering underneath your waterproof jacket and pants. Check the forecast before you go and take extra layers if necessary, or even better yet, just leave an extra top and bottom layer or two in your vehicle or pack all the time. The extra air trapped between layers acts as insulation for your body, and as long as the layers are available, you can remove or add them to fine-tune your comfort. 4. Get a grip Invest in a pair of ice grippers (like Yaktrax or Get-a-Grip) that slip on over your boots or shoes just in case you encounter water-slicked ice. Tuck them into your fanny pack or under the seat of your car so they're always nearby if you need them. Keep an extra-vigilant lookout for icy spots in areas where the snow has been packed down, then exposed to sun followed by shade. Slipping and getting hurt isn't a good way to start the spring season. 5. Stay prepared Having a box in your car or a pack by the door always ready to go helps keep you organized and make sure that what you need is always available. There's nothing quite like leaving the house stoked for a workout only to realize that you left your warm hat, running shoes or ice grippers behind. Tuck your packable pants and jacket, an extra layer for top and bottom, extra socks, your ice grippers and your waterproof shoes with gaiters into the box or pack. If you happen to throw a bottle of water and an energy bar in there too, you'll be your own hero once that post-workout hunger and thirst set in. Also, work out a system for toting winter gear like skis or snowshoes before you leave the house. This means finding a way of strapping, tying, bungeeing or otherwise fastening them to the outside of your pack, not planning to carry them by hand if you hit a snowless spot on the trail. Some packs come ready-made with fancy doodads for toting extra gear on the exterior.