Many runners enjoy the warmer weather because it affords them the opportunity to switch from treadmill training to outdoor workouts. There are some things you can do to make the transition to running on hard and uneven surfaces found outdoors a little easier. An article by Jenny Hadfield popped up recently on womens running competitor.com, she had some good tips for adjusting to the differences between running on a treadmill most of the time and training outdoors.
Indoor vs Outside Running
Treadmill and outdoor running differ in three important ways: surface, surroundings and biomechanics.
Due to these differences, you can easily injure yourself if you abruptly change your training method. Take the time to gradually transition to running outdoors and you’ll remain injury-free and hit your 5k goals. Just follow a few simple rules:
FOCUS ON EFFORT RATHER THAN PACE. Some people run faster inside while others run slower. To avoid injury and burnout, leave the GPS watch at home and focus on your breathing. In your first few runs under the sun, maintain an easy effort at which you can speak in full sentences without gasping for air. Learn to pace yourself depending on the terrain and the elements. Every day outdoors will be different!
PRACTICE PATIENCE. It might be tempting to quit the treadmill cold turkey, especially if the weather’s beautiful, but please proceed with caution. Your body needs time to adjust to the harder surface and the changes in your running form. At first, run only one workout per week outdoors. Gradually work up to a higher frequency.
START SMALL. To give your body a chance to adapt, shift your shorter running workouts outside first. For instance, if you run four miles three times per week and a six-miler once per week, your first run outside should be a four miler.
Another way that treadmill training and outdoor training differ is the safety risk. A note of caution, when training outdoors it is possible to get a little too far away for quick and speedy medical care if you should accidentally fall our twist something. It’s a good idea to have a buddy with you or at the very least tell someone where you’ll be and have a fully charged cell phone on your person at all times.