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Spring Running Tip: Ease Into Your Outdoor Runs

If you've been running all Winter on the treadmill at your gym, you must be psyched to hit the pavement or trail outside. The warm weather may inspire you to lace up your sneaks and continue the same running routine, but remember that running outside is a lot different than running on a treadmill. The moving belt on a treadmill helps you out a bit by pulling your feet back for you, which means you're exerting less energy. I also find that the even pace the treadmill creates is easier to follow and because it's harder to keep my own pace steady when running outside, I end up running faster than I should and get tired before my workout is finished. Plus there are natural obstacles to deal with like heat, wind resistance, rain, rocks, puddles, tree branches, bugs, and hills.

Please don't think I'm discouraging you from running outdoors. Definitely be excited about it, but remember to ease into your runs in the beginning, and don't be so hard on yourself. If you're used to jogging 10-minute miles on a treadmill for 30 minutes, maybe you decrease your speed on your first few runs. Or you can maintain your speed, but run for only 20 minutes. Give your body time to adjust to running outdoors, and gradually work your way up to what you were doing on the treadmill.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Ericka McConnell
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Join The Conversation
gregcase gregcase 7 years
There are differences, but having the belt pull your foot back is not one of them. When you run on the gorund, your body is moving forward. When your foot lands, it stops until you pick it back up. The ground acts the same way in relationship to your body as the belt does. The relative motion is the same. The difference in running outdoors lies in air resistance, grade, and energy return from the surface. Harder surfaces are typically faster. Dirt, gravel, and sand are slower surfaces, as not all of the energy that you put into your stride goes back up into lifting you off for the next stride. Air resistance can be significant, although it also aids in cooling. Grade, as in hills, is also a factor, as you do not make up on the downhills what you lose on the uphills. I prefer running outdoors, personally, but it is different.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
Get a Garmin to help w pace
runningesq runningesq 7 years
Get a Garmin to help w pace
mondaymoos mondaymoos 7 years
Ugh... I hate the treadmill. I actually have to put a towel over the readouts so I don't keep staring at the time/mileage. 2.8 miles to go... 2.7 miles to go... It makes me crazy. I only do it when I get home too late and it's already dark outside... My neighborhood isn't the best lit, and I have a bad ankle. The LAST thing I need is another twist/spraign.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 7 years
Ugh... I hate the treadmill. I actually have to put a towel over the readouts so I don't keep staring at the time/mileage. 2.8 miles to go...2.7 miles to go...It makes me crazy. I only do it when I get home too late and it's already dark outside... My neighborhood isn't the best lit, and I have a bad ankle. The LAST thing I need is another twist/spraign.
TidalWave TidalWave 7 years
Remember, too, that asphalt (the road) is easier on joints than concrete (sidewalks).
ffemt1201 ffemt1201 7 years
i noticed that, too, but i still think it's easier to run outside...emotionally easier. it helps to have distractions and to actually be going somewhere (than, essentially, just "in place" on the treadmill)
ella1978 ella1978 7 years
Yup happened to me too. I jog to change up my power walks, and the other day, my back was killing me after my jog. I attribuited it to posture and running on a downhill slope as opposed to an uphill treadmill incline.I'm easing into it :o) I love being outside.
ella1978 ella1978 7 years
Yup happened to me too. I jog to change up my power walks, and the other day, my back was killing me after my jog. I attribuited it to posture and running on a downhill slope as opposed to an uphill treadmill incline. I'm easing into it :o) I love being outside.
MuppetsForDinner MuppetsForDinner 7 years
Yesterday I went for my first outside run of the season and wanted to DIE. Compared to the gym it was really tough... so thank you for this post. You just made me feel a lot better.
xxkrist24xx xxkrist24xx 7 years
I'm with the other people who said it's actually the reverse for them -- easier to run outdoors rather than on the treadmill. I need distractions that come with actually being outside and crossing streets and avoiding cracks in the sidewalks... in the gym, I'm just standing (well, running) there thinking about how tired I'm feeling and how I still have so much longer to go.
porkypocky porkypocky 7 years
i love running by the river near my apartment, but now that it's warmer i get bitten like crazy! :( seven bites all down the right side of my back(that was the side facing the river...). i guess i'll have to find another route or hit the treadmill, which i really don't like. i feel i don't work as much, and the gym gets so stuffy anyway...
darkoblivion darkoblivion 7 years
I run outside easier also. I run on the treadmill only when absolutely necessary.
Renees3 Renees3 7 years
It's a bummer to read these becuse where I live it's opposite. It's supposed to be 101 degrees this weekend here! It's Way to hot to run outdoors, I run outside in the winter and indoors in the summer. I want to run outside! I wish there was a good track or are with lots of trees. stupid desert.
jdeprima jdeprima 7 years
I definitely prefer outdoor running in all but the iciest conditions, but what really kills me every time is the wind resistance. The circuit I run always has a stiff breeze blowing in my face during the .75 mile uphill portion--makes it seem twice as hard! Then again, the workout is that much better.
ameliajc ameliajc 7 years
Thanks for the advice. I love running outside but switched to the treadmill for the cold months. I tried to switch to outside running the other day and promptly fell and scraped up my knee. Haha stupid sidewalk :(
cvandoorn cvandoorn 7 years
I went for an outdoor run this morning and got so frustrated with the stop lights that kept messing up my pace, the wind, which made it even harder to run up those hilly roads, and the people with strollers who wouldn't move even an inch to the side. I use my Nike + to try and keep track of my pace, but it will definitely vary if there is wind/traffic.
cvandoorn cvandoorn 7 years
I went for an outdoor run this morning and got so frustrated with the stop lights that kept messing up my pace, the wind, which made it even harder to run up those hilly roads, and the people with strollers who wouldn't move even an inch to the side.I use my Nike + to try and keep track of my pace, but it will definitely vary if there is wind/traffic.
jy jy 7 years
I am totally the same BuzzSugar.I can go for long runs outside (I usually run for an hr) but within 10 mins of running on the treadmill I am ready to call it quits.For me, it has a lot to do with scenery...I just feel too trapped running on the treadmill. The whole mouse in a wheel thing I guess. I find myself constantly looking at my stats and willing time to go faster.
jy jy 7 years
I am totally the same BuzzSugar. I can go for long runs outside (I usually run for an hr) but within 10 mins of running on the treadmill I am ready to call it quits. For me, it has a lot to do with scenery...I just feel too trapped running on the treadmill. The whole mouse in a wheel thing I guess. I find myself constantly looking at my stats and willing time to go faster.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 7 years
I need a good place to run outside. The pavement is killer on my joints but all the trails in the woods have debris or roots and stones all over them that I know I'll trip on. Must work on that.
Entertainment Entertainment 7 years
I think I'm really weird for this, but I have an easier time running outside than on the treadmill. I've always been good at finding my natural pace, but I think I fight against what the treadmill is telling me to do. Or maybe it's just that there's more to look at outside and so I get less bored and stop focusing on how tired I am.
aimeeb aimeeb 7 years
Awesome!
aimeeb aimeeb 7 years
Awesome!
Alexisis Alexisis 7 years
just got back from a run outdoors & I definitely noticed the differnce, anyone have tips to maintain pace?
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