Running Outside – Getting Started

This article is from the Canadian Chiropractic Association website  //Author: CCA Staff Team

Happy Family out for a runHave you finally moved your running regimen from the treadmill to outside? Summer is a great time of year to enjoy the outdoors through exercise and activity. With just your running shoes you can get out and explore new areas in your city or even better nature trails. Yet, if you are an avid indoor runner, there are likely a few adjustments to make when transitioning to the outdoors. Not surprising, the mechanics of running on a stationary treadmill will vary from running outside on an uneven surface, with various obstacles along the way. So, you will need to prepare and transition before heading out.

Typically, a treadmill has a motorized platform that moves under a runner’s (or walker’s) feet at a determined speed and slope. Unless programmed otherwise, the treadmill will continue to offer the same force without environmental factors like wind or terrain that often challenge runners. Also, many treadmills are padded, offering extra absorption of the forces of impact for runners.

We have gathered a few helpful tips to get started, and transition you to the outdoors.

Shape Magazine1 shared some great tips for runners:

  • Start slow: Running outside is more taxing on your muscles, joints and bones, and are more prone to injuries like shin splints. Start off with shorter distances on flat roads or trails, and as your endurance improves, gradually increase your mileage and hill work.
  • Maintain a constant pace: Don’t feel compelled to push yourself to run at the same pace that you would on a treadmill. Start by running at a moderate and comfortable pace that allows you to run safely, and gradually increase your speed over several weeks as your body allows.
  • Wear the appropriate footwear: Adapt your shoes to your environment. A regular running sneaker may have been ideal for the flat, predictable surface of a treadmill, but once you are outdoors, make sure the sneaker’s tread can handle the gravel, dirt roads, and slick trails. Runners should get a sneaker that supports the feet while having the appropriate sole to help maneuver and support uneven surfaces.

Before heading out, familiarize yourself with the route and check that it is appropriate for your level of fitness or to help you meet your goals2.

  • Pick a road or trail you are familiar with. When starting out, the last thing you want to worry about is getting lost. Before even lacing up your sneakers, do some research: ask friends where they like to run, use online running forums to find popular routes, and check to see if your park has designated trails. The more popular and visible the trail, the better.
  • Like any activity, make sure you do a proper warm-up before starting.

We have some great tips for proper stretching that can help prevent injury. If in doubt, talk to your chiropractor about how to improve your running, and prevent and manage injuries.


1 Shape Magazine, “Don’t make these mistakes when running.

2 Popsugar, 4 things you need to know before running outside.
evolvevitalityRunning Outside – Getting Started

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