Perhaps you've been grinding it out on the treadmill all winter, but with warmer weather emerging, you're ready to try your hand at some outdoor running. This transition can be a little trickier than you think, as there are several conveniences to running indoors that you simply won't have when you hit the pavement. With treadmill running (or running on an indoor track), there's a lot more predictability, not to mention the perks of exercising in a controlled environment (e.g., TV monitors, towels, easy access to a water cooler, etc.). This doesn't make outdoor running any less awesome, though -- after all, there's nothing quite like going for a nice run while breathing fresh air and enjoying the natural beauty of the outdoors. Below are some tips to keep in mind that will help make your transition to outdoor running as smooth as possible.
1. Begin at a slower pace.
Even if you're a rock star on the treadmill, it's a good idea to start off at a slower pace when you start running outdoors. There are quite a few outdoor-only variables that you will have to account for (e.g., temperature,
2. Vary your terrain.
While pavement can provide a little more predictability in terms of a running surface, it can also be hard on your joints if it's the only terrain you choose. Try running on a forest trail at a local park, or even through a nice stretch of grass. This will engage your muscles in new ways, and it can provide some relief for your legs between pavement-based excursions. Just make sure that you're not going too far off the beaten path -- only traverse well-marked areas, as you wouldn't want to compromise your personal safety. You might even want to consider bringing a running partner with you for your all-terrain adventures.
3. Map out your route.
It's a good idea to know where and how far you want to go before you start, that way you won't waste time going on unintended detours. A good tool you can use to help in this regard is a website called Map My Run, which provides a directory of some of the most popular running routes in your local area.
4. Take walking breaks if need be.
There's nothing wrong with taking a few intermittent walking breaks during your run if need be. In fact, by taking some well-placed walking breaks (maybe 30 seconds to 1 minute in duration) during your run, you can actually squeeze out more distance while you're working on building up your stamina for outdoor running.
5. Don't forget the essentials!
You definitely don't want to forget
Outdoor running is an exciting experience, especially if you've been going a little "stir crazy" after so many indoor winter workouts. Just keep the above tips in mind to help you make a successful transition, and have fun out there!