The snow has melted, the air is warming and runners couldn’t be happier.
But for those who took to treadmill running during the cold winter months, there are a few things to remember about outdoor running before making the transition from indoor to outdoor.
Brad Corcoran, program coordinator of Health and Fitness Promotion at Humber College, said road running takes an increased toll on the body because of the shock absorption necessary and the style of running.
“When you’re running on the treadmill you’re keeping up with the belt, you’re not actually powering yourself to go forward,” he said. “When you’re running out on the road you’re creating the force to create the movement.”
“It is more physically demanding, it’s more taxing, and takes more energy to do the same amount of work,” he said.
Running coach and personal trainer, Bruce Raymer, said treadmills are a lot more forgiving than the concrete so he recommends people to transition slowly.
Raymer said the body gets a little lazy after a long winter of treadmill running. The stabilizer muscles that would normally be used in outdoor running aren’t being used and the body becomes very accustomed to doing the same strides over and over.
He said while transitioning from indoor to outdoor, runners shouldn’t take on as much as they would on the treadmill.
“Do less, so if you’re doing 45 minutes on the treadmill try 30 minutes outside for a while.”
He said to do this until the body becomes accustomed and starts building up those muscles that have been hibernating all winter.
“Usually you can ramp up within two to three weeks of finding your outdoor muscles,” said Raymer.
Corcoran said an important thing to keep in mind when outdoor running is wearing the right shoe because once a runner moves outdoors, it’s all based on the surface.
There’s enough shock absorption in the grass or through sand or trail running. The natural earth has a lot of its own absorbing properties, he said.
“Whereas once you get onto asphalt and concrete, it’s nonexistent. So it really depends on the footwear at that point,” said Corcoran.
“Getting the shoe fit for you individually not just what looks good is the most important factor for reducing injury but also improving the efficiency of your stride as well.”
He said the right fit shoe allows runners to propel themself with optimal force.
Another thing to consider when transitioning from indoor running to outdoor is hydration.
Aleksandra Patrzalek, a fourth semester student in Humber’s Health and Fitness Promotion program, said weather conditions highly affect runners when it comes to hydration.
“If running outside in humid and warm temperatures, the rate of sweating will be much higher than if running on a treadmill at a gym with an air-conditioning system. Therefore, more water should be consumed,” said Patrzalek.
Raymer said his general rule is to drink 250 to 500 ml of water every hour
Ashwin Patel, Sport Management, Recreation and Leisure professor at Humber said to transition from indoor to outdoor there are also mental aspects to take into consideration.
“I think the first thing is to set what your goals are from going inside to outside,” said Patel.
He said once that has been figured out a runner can use those goals in a day by day process in order to get where they want to be.
He said a runner must also remember to be more mentally aware of their surroundings when running outside.
It’s easy to zone out on the treadmill because there is no oncoming traffic or different undulations in the ground to worry about, said Patel.
“For some individuals the ability to run outside actually makes them look forward to it some more.
“I myself prefer running outside especially when the weather is nice. It gives me a chance to enjoy the fresh air and possibly even get some vitamin D when it’s sunny,” said Patrzalek.
She said there are nice trails around Humber College and great parks in Toronto for an outdoor run.