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Beginner Running

Going from treadmill to "outside" running...

asked over 2 years ago | Report

So far, I've been exclusively a "treadmill" runner. I have bad knees, and I was trying to lose pregnancy weight before switching to running outdoors, so the "springiness" of the treadmill seemed like the way to go.

My plan was originally to start running outside over spring break (nice weather--yay!) and by then I think I'd have money to get a Garmin (or I'd somehow get one for my birthday).

But, there's a local 5K that is March 3rd (a few weeks before spring break and my birthday).

I've made it up to 5 miles on the treadmill at 0% incline, but everyone says to use a 1% incline on the treadmill for it to be like running outside. I've just started running with an incline and haven't made it the full 5K distance yet.

I'm trying to figure out how long I should start running outside before attempting a 5K. Any thoughts? Suggestions?

Sorry if this is a silly question.

18 answers

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  • Not a silly question. If you want to run the 5K, map out a 5k route using Map My Run (free on line). and try it out. I started back running on the TM and it was a really big shock to me when I went to pavement, so I suggest getting out there and trying it. You might not find it as hard as I did. Maybe do one run a week on the actual ground. You have plenty of time to get ready for that 5K...How fun that it is on your Bday!!!

    answered over 2 years ago |Report

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  • I don't know if there's a set time you should be running off the TM before your first race, just listen to your body, you'll know when you're ready.
    One thing you can try to help transition is to do most of your run inside and then head outside for the last little bit around the block and gradually increase the percentage of your runs that you do outside.

    It's definitely a different sensation and the type and amount of work various muscles have to do changes as well, but I'm betting once you get out there you'll love it!

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  • Running on the TM is so differant than running outside, I've done both and I find going outside the better choice. I would suggest mixing it up, which is what I'm doing. Good luck!

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  • The other suggestions will serve you well. But whenever I hear about a "treadmill only" runner, it reminds me of marathoner Christine Clark, who qualified for the Olympics back in 1980 doing just that. Sure, outside running employs a few more muscles, and wind resistance can become a factor, but a 5K offers something in return: adrenaline, and a great sense of community and fun. Even if you do nothing different, your body will adapt quickly on race day. Good luck Shaindel!

    answered over 2 years ago |Report

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  • Treadmills are great if your schedule doesn't allow time to run outside, or you have safety issues to deal with. My wife runs mostly on treadmills because it's easier to keep track of miles and manage pace, and she doesn't have to wait for a time when another adult can watch young children. I use to run on treadmills more, but now I prefer to run outside as much as I can. My recommendation, if conditions permit, is to run outside at least one run per week. However, don't be surprised if you have to run at a slower pace.

    answered over 2 years ago |Report

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  • Substitute one TM run by an outdoor run or mix it up, maybe run to your gym or run back home.

    You should adjust just fine. But built up the outdoor km's in moderation.

    Good luck

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  • Add outdoor running a little at a time ... and you'll be fine.

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  • And the good news about running outside is if you veer off the sidewalk you don't fall on your face like you would if you stepped off the belt on a treadmill. Not that I have ever done that... or would admit that it's ever happened to me... you know...

    Good luck on your 5K.

    answered over 2 years ago |Report

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  • Jan
    Jan Sendmail

    In addition to feeling different, running outside can feel harder because many treadmills overestimate mileage & underestimate speed. In other words, when we run on treadmills we often think we've run further and faster than we really have.

    Even with that, you will do great in your 5k! You have a month to prepare! Like others said, take some runs outside, enjoy them and plan on enjoying your 5k! First races are exciting! Good luck!!

    answered over 2 years ago |edited over 2 years ago |Report

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  • When I decided to transition from a walker to a runner, I used the book Run Your Butt Off and an incline of 1.0 to slowly increase my running on the treadmill to 3.1 miles. Play around with the speed and incline.....you'll find what's most comfortable. The first 5K I did as a runner went just fine! I allowed myself to walk 3 minutes. Now I can run an entire 5K and am now focusing on improving my speed and will be training for a half marathon soon! If I can do it at age 61, I am confident you can do it, too!!!!

    answered over 2 years ago |Report

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  • This was incredibly hard for me. I was doing a few miles on the TM and then I tried going outside and couldn't even log a quarter mile. I would give it a try outside and see how you do and plan on a bit longer recovery time. FR sent.

    answered over 2 years ago |Report

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  • register and "Git R Done", run what you can and walk if you have to, you will find the sheer joy of being outside enjoying the sun and fresh air

    I can tell you that once you go outside you will have a hard time going back in. There is no shame in wallking if you need to. I think there is a stigma about walking that some runners cannot get past, but several well known coaches have touted the benefits of walk breaks (short ones)

    Do not let never having run outside keep you away from a race, go, enjoy the people and the race enviroment. It really is a great time!!!! and let us know how much fun you had!!

    Cool Runnings

    answered over 2 years ago |Report

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  • I think I remember reading somewhere that running on a treadmill with no incline is actually easier than running outside because of the entire lack of resistance. So if you were to translate speed on a treadmill into speed on the road you'd find that you'd be slower.

    Personally, I think you should just go ahead and register for the 5k. If all else fails you can always walk a part of it, but given your running now I doubt it would take you too long to get to the point where you were able to complete a 5k distance which, is less than the 5 you're already running.

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  • I would suggest finding a nice level trail without to many obstacles and transition slowly to pavement. A trail is actually much easier on the knees when it comes to impact than a treadmill. I have had two major knee surgeries and run trails more often than anything and am on pace to go low 17's for 5k at 40 yrs old!!

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  • I am actually a huge fan of the treadmill. In training for my first half marathon I probably did 60% of my miles on the treadmill. I have found that I actually run faster outside. Just stick with it and trust that your training will come through.

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  • I think I am opposite most people here. I find that I run faster outside than on the treadmill. The treadmill always seems more difficult to me...maybe because I find it quite boring. Before my first 5K, however, I did about 1/3 or so of my running on the treadmill just because of the weather. I did fine and you will too!

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  • I'm doing the same thing and was wondering about the same question! My 5k is in June. I started the C25K plan a few weeks ago on the tredmill. I don't want to run outside and look like I'm about to die! So I thought I would deal with steep learning curve in the safety of the gym and once I can do 5k inside, try it outside I'm up to 4.5k so my time is nearly here!! I'd be interested to see how you get on. FR sent.

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  • I would follow a beginner 5k program. There are many out there.I used Hal Higdons programs. FR sent

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