Gym to outdoors ?

Week 7 day 1 now completed and enjoying it immensely but have done all runs bar one early (week 2) one on a treadmill. Got a Santa 5K in a couple of weeks time and wondered if anyone had any tips for switching to running outdoors in a group. Is it generally harder or easier on a running machine ? I realise that it's important not to be tempted to go too fast but all other tips and advice greatly received.


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8 Replies

  • You're right. Keep it nice and slow when running an event as it's easy to go too fast. Start near the back so you don't get run over by the speed demons.

    I try to consciously pass nobody for the first few minutes, it helps me settle into a good place.

    Also if there are any inclines slow right down. If you're not used to them they can feel tough. Why don't you go outside for a practice run or two? That way you can decide what to wear to keep you warm enough, but not overheat.

    But most importantly have fun. It should be a blast. It doesn't matter how fast or slow you are, or how much of it you run or walk. The important thing is to have a good time.

  • Most people will say it's harder; and that's because the ground is moving underneath you - you aren't being propelled along like you are on a treadmill.

    BUT, it's not *that* much harder. Just take it easy at first and you'll find a natural pace and rhythm that suits you. You'll get used to it very quickly.

    Good luck!


  • i got to week 7 on the treadmill before venturing outside. Having never done any exercise outside, my lungs burned and so i went back to week 4 to build my stamina up to completing the programme.

  • From what people have said here I assumed it would be harder outside, however I have been running for nearly 3 years now and recently tried the treadmill as I need to think about Winter training and i just couldnt do it!!! I was a complete mess and felt really silly. Running outside is the best thing ever and not harder, it is more undulating though and the hills may be steeper , stick to grass/ leaves etc if you can as it supports your joints better and dont worry about your time... enjoy it :)

  • Harder initially but soooo much better. Slow down and find your pace. After a couple of outdoor runs you will wonder why you didn't do it earlier! Good luck.

  • I understand that it is worth putting your elevation up to about 1.5-2 to counter the fact that your mucsles will have to propel you along the ground rather than the treadmill moving the ground from under you. It can be difficult to find the right pace because you have to set it yourself rather than travelling at the speed that keeps you on the treadmill, so as everyone else says take it easy. I think the idea of trying a few outside runs to get a feel for it is an excellent one.

    Someone else mentioned a while back that treadmills don't teach you to run downhill, so that might take you by surprise. Don't be afraid to do walk-run-walk-run to help you get to the end, as presumably at Week 7 you havent' run for a full 5k yet; some of the guys doing long distance races have found this works very well for them. Lots of people on this forum have also said that you get swept along with the euphoria of the group/event and manage to do a lot more than you thought you could.

    Good luck with the Santa run and enjoy yourself.

  • the tread mill and outside are different. You get inclines and uneven surfaces, wind and puddles, people and dogs. I found that pacing, especially at the start was the most difficult. Running outside is far less boring than the treadmill.

  • Many thanks for the tips and positive encouragement. I'm looking forward to the event and to running outside. The gym has been convenient so far and of course you're not weather or icy pavement dependant (no proper lighting at the local park) but I've developed a habit of watching the time almost minute by minute on the running machine which probably makes it go slower if anything. Thanks again and good luck to everybody with your continued progress.

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