Now that spring is here, it is time to take your running outside! Nothing is better than the fresh air and a cool spring breeze. But with that comes less desirable conditions as well; wind, hot sun and other poor running conditions. It is important to make a slow transition from running inside on a treadmill to running outside on the pavement. There are many things to consider and to prepare for that will help in preventing injury.
Ease into it and your body will thank you. Don’t start off at a sprinting pace; start off slow. Let your body adjust to running outside if you are used to running on a treadmill. Running on a treadmill can be easier since the belt will pull your legs as you run. Outdoor running is harder on your joints due to the uneven conditions. Run shorter distances at first to prevent shin splints and to allow your body to adjust to the new conditions. Pavement can be unpredictable, so finding a soft track or dirt trail may be a good start. Hills can also make your run more difficult even if you are used to them on the treadmill. Going downhill can be rough on your quads and knees so taking a hill slow at first is recommended. Another challenge is running in the wind. Try heading into the wind first to get the hard part out of the way. You will burn more calories and increase your endurance while you are battling the wind, so there is a benefit! Returning will be much easier! Mapping your run can also help you steer clear of the hills and ensure you don’t overdo it. Taking it easy for the first few outside runs will allow your body to adjust, thus helping to prevent injury.
Finding comfortable shoes is very important in preventing blistering. Blisters are easy to get if you do not have the appropriate gear. Prevent blisters by finding a shoe/sock combination that fits you the best. You want your shoes to fit perfect; not too tight and not too loose. There should be about .5 inch between your longest toe and the tip of your shoe. Ensure you can wiggle your toes and your heel doesn’t slip. Keep your feet as dry as possible by using wicking socks. These will wick the moisture away from your feet. Or, you can sprinkle foot powder or spray antiperspirant on your bare feet to prevent blisters. If you are prone to blisters, tape that part of your foot with sport tape.
Safety is another consideration to be aware of, especially when running alone. Make sure you have some type of ID on you in the event of an accident. You never know what could happen while you are miles away from your starting point. Also, let someone know what time you are leaving and where you are going. If you mapped out your run, share it with someone. That way if you don’t return around the anticipated time, someone will know where to look. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings. If you enjoy listening to music while running, ensure the volume is at a level that you can still hear what is going on around you. Don’t forget about those harmful rays! Always wear sunblock because the rays can come right through the clouds and you could be left with a painful burn.
The sun is a powerful thing, especially when you are running in it. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated but if you are working out for long periods of time, drink a sports drink to replenish your carbohydrates and electrolytes. It is recommended to drink 16-32 ounces of water before you run outside and take plenty with you. The humidity can affect you as well. Sweat cools your body but if the air is full of moisture then his method of cooling off is less efficient. Warm, humid air is worse than hot, dry air. If it is sunny, you can wear fabrics that are sunscreen treated that prevent the sun from getting through to your skin. You can also wear sunglasses to help prevent the UV rays from causing eye problems. Running in the heat can take a toll on your body, so try running during the coolest part of the day. You can also get acclimated to the heat in a few weeks of running outside in hot temperatures if running at different times is not an option. Just ensure you give your body enough time to adapt; you don’t want to overheat!
It is very important to take it slow when transitioning from indoor treadmill running to outdoor pavement running. Following these recommendations will help in preventing injury. It is time to get out and enjoy the fresh air! Happy running!
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read herein.