Spring training for Major League Baseball is already in full swing (no pun intended) thanks to the accommodation of warmer areas of the country like Arizona. While you may not be an all-start athlete getting ready for your summer performance on the outfield, spring is still a good time to get yourself in gear for any summer or fall event (even if that event is beach season).

Advantages of spring training

Spring is a great time to start a training plan because the weather allows us to get outside a little more often, but it’s still cool enough not to be miserable working up a sweat (even inside the fitness center). Training early in the spring also gives your body time to gradually build base fitness after the winter season of hit-and-miss workouts. This helps you avoid injuries so you’ll still be going strong when it’s finally time for your event. If you’re more competitive, training early will give you time to tweak your strategy and peak your performance; the more casual will be able to enjoy their event more without aches, pains, and the misery of being out-of-shape.

How to get your spring training underway

First, you need a plan. The specific plan will depend on your fitness level, the sport you’re involved in, and any personal goals. Most plans range from novice to advanced, starting out easy and building intensity, dropping back down shortly before the end of the plan to allow you to recover. You can find plans for various sports and activities online or through a personal trainer. Since there’s plenty of time if you start now, look for a longer plan (12 to 18 weeks).

Second, it always helps to have company. Many running and triathlon groups organize training sessions that start in the spring, so keep your ears tuned when you visit your local fitness gym and sportswear stores. While you’re at the gym, keep your ears perked for a workout buddy with the same event goals as you. Another place to find workout partners is a socially-integrated activity app where you might already have a network of fellow fitness enthusiasts.

Don’t forget to cross-train. It’s easy to get excited about building up endurance or strength for your main event activity, but don’t forget to balance your training. Cross-training with activities that work key muscle groups in a different way will give you better overall fitness and help you avoid fatigue and overuse injuries. If your main event revolves around cardiovascular endurance, fitting in some strength training at the fitness gym at least a few days a week will benefit you by building muscular endurance, as well. Finally, don’t forget to stretch and give yourself adequate rest days.

Spring training is for everyone

Spring is perfect for preparing Major League Baseball players, and it’s perfect for preparing yourself for a fun 5K, triathlon, or just keeping up with your kids all summer long. Don’t miss the opportunity to get started now and make the most of it!