How can you transition from treadmill running to outdoor running?

Running outdoors places different demands on your body than running indoors on a treadmill, and you need time to adjust. Here are some tips:

• Increase your treadmill's incline.
Your treadmill is completely flat, while most outdoor running surfaces are not. To help prepare your body for the difference, you can practice by running on an incline on your treadmill.
>> An incline of 1-2% closely simulates running outdoors.

• Invest in outdoor running shoes.
Since a treadmill's surface is smooth and cushioned, you may not have given much thought to your running shoes. However, you need a quality pair of running shoes with soles capable of navigating uneven terrain. Choose a pair specifically for pavement or trail running, depending on what you plan to do 2

• Start with one outdoor run a week.
If you ran outdoors in the past, you could probably make the switch from treadmill running fairly quickly. However, after running on a treadmill for an extended period, you need to give your body time to adjust.
>> If you've never run outside before, start with a short outdoor run every other week instead of every week. Try this for a month, then increase to twice a week.

• Split your runs.
You don't necessarily have to do an entire run either outdoors or indoors. One way to increase the amount of time you run outdoors gradually is to do a small portion of your run outdoors and the rest of it on your treadmill.
>> For example, if you run 5 miles a day, you could do a quarter of that distance outside, and the rest of it inside. Gradually increase the distance that you run outside.
>> Keep track of your time. Your pace will be different outside than it will be on a treadmill.

• Increase outdoor runs gradually.
If you want to switch totally from treadmill running to outdoor running, it may take you a couple of months. Keep this in mind if you want to start running outdoors because of a change in the weather.
>> For example, if you run indoors during cold months and outdoors during warm months, anticipate when it's going to start to get warmer. Find the warmest day on any given week and run outside for a little while. That way you can get the most out of the warm weather.