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Monday, October 11, 2010

From Treadmill to Track: A few Pointers

Do you find yourself having an enjoyable time running on a treadmill but when you hit the pavement, trails or track your breathing becomes labored, legs tired and you just can't seem to get very far without stopping?

Sadly, this isn't an option...

Well a friend of mine recently commented on this very issue and I thought I could offer a few pointers to help out with this transition.  Short of finding a treadmill we can use outside, these tips are a great option if you want to ditch the spinning track and start pounding the trails in the peak of Canada's fall colors.

  1. Take it easy: You are likely to start off rather quickly once you start to pound the pavement. When I started running again last year I did so on the treadmill and once I moved outdoors my pace picked up by 30 seconds per kilometer. That worked out to an increase of about 10% and can be very hard for someone to maintain. Focus on taking it just a little slower as you begin running outside. 
  2. Run at dusk/dawn: This is key if you begin running during a hot summer season. When you ran indoors on a treadmill odds are the room was air conditioned and the humidity was controlled.  Outside, you don't have this luxury. Try and work your schedule around the cooler times of the day so that this plays as little a factor as possible.
  3. Water: If you learned to run on a treadmill with water at hand, don't expect to start running outside without water. Your body needs it if you've trained it to, so get a water belt and a water bottle. This is especially important if you can't control point #2 above.
  4. This ain't a track meet: If you find other runners on the track or on the trails, don't feel the need to pass them or stay ahead of them. When you ran on the treadmill, you weren't passing anyone because you couldn't. It made it easy to keep your ego in check. You'll have to force yourself to this time around.
  5. Find a distraction: In the gym, on the treadmill, you likely had TV to occupy your thoughts. You won't be privy to such luxuries outdoors so bring along an mp3 player or clear your mind so that you can freely flow from thought to thought. Even better yet, bring a friend along so you can chat.
I hope you can find some benefit from my pointers above when you decide to transition from the treadmill to the trails, roads or track. Happy running!

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