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Taking it To the Streets After Running On a Treadmill

It is that time of year when folks move their workouts outside since the weather is so dang nice. If you have been running indoors on a treadmilll and are looking to move your runs outside there are a few things to take into consideration.

  • The surface of the treadmill is more forgiving to your joints so suddenly shifting all your runs outside can be jarring to your ankles, knees and hips. Try just taking one run outside per week for 2 or 3 weeks. Then add one run outside every 2 weeks. If you are training for a road race it is really important to start planning ahead and hitting the streets.
  • Running outside will have to run against wind resistance and the elements, which in the summer means heat, which requires more energy to run at the same speed as on a treadmill.
  • Keeping your pace outside might feel really different since stride for stride, running on the road requires more energy output to propel your body forward since on a treadmill, you are keeping up with the treadmill as it moves under your feet. Plus, on a treadmill the machine keeps you running at a certain pace and now you will have to monitor your own pace. I suggest using a heart rate monitor to help you keep track of your heart rate and time.
  • The smooth, flat surface of a treadmill is very predictable. Running on roads or trails trains your neuromuscular system to deal with unpredictable terrain like hills, banked surfaces, trails and uneven surfaces. Chances are high you will be looking down much more when running outside, especially if you are trail running.

Have fun taking your running to the streets. Remember, when running outside you need to be more aware of your surroundings since people, dogs, bikes and cars might be out on the road or trail too.

Join The Conversation
gracemademe gracemademe 10 years
Recent Runner's World blog about this topic:,%20answered
Kaciegrrl Kaciegrrl 10 years
It's too damn hot to walk/run outside in Louisiana right now. I'm sticking with my treadmill until Octoberish, when the humidity lets up a bit.
EcannDallas EcannDallas 10 years
i ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS bring mace with me when i go running. they have a little handheld one made especially for people jogging. ive heard too many stories of young women going for a run then disappearing. so i bring my mace and keep an eye out.
panddaaaaaa panddaaaaaa 10 years
I only wish I could jog outside at this time of the year! In Arizona, it's definatly impossible. So I'm very thankful for my treadmill this time of year. But, any other time of year it's amazing to jog outside, and even go on hikes on the mountains behind my house. That's one of the few things I like about Arizona..
mwmsjuly19 mwmsjuly19 10 years
I disagree completely. Treadmills count for me. That's how I learned to run and learned to like running. And I use the lap and hill programs to mix it up and adjust the incline. It's not the same as running outside, but I appreciate the safety of using a treadmill at night or in winter when it gets dark early and the choice it gives me in a gym of incorporating it into a circuit workout. Even elite athletes train on treadmills -- for the ease on their joints and for convenience.
lintacious lintacious 10 years
running on a treadmill hardly counts as running.
doubleuendy doubleuendy 10 years
ive been running on a treadmill for a while now but i started to take jogs around my neighborhood twice a week and i really enjoy running outside. i know its not as good for my knees but i like the feeling of being out.
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