Couch to 5K
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Running Outside

I technically graduated at the beginning of March. I say technically because I run on a treadmill so I don't actually feel I'm a proper runner yet. As the days are getting sunnier and more inviting I am starting to feel the pull of the wild! And I think I may be brave and venture outside.

Has anyone got any advice on how to make the transition from treadmill to outdoor running? I'm very conscious that I run slow. I'll also need a way to carry my phone and my keys so they don't joggle around and annoy me! Is a backpack better or a running belt?

Thank you.

5 Replies

Hi, I did the same last summer although i hadn't graduated when i switched to outside.  It is harder to run outside as we have to regulate our own pace.  I know use map my run and she tells me how fast I am going every kilometre.  But... when i first went outside it made my lungs burn so i went back a few weeks. So maybe if you didn't think it was too much of a backwards step, you could go back to the last week of Laura's podcasts that has walking intervals - week six and work up from there?

I use a running belt for my keys and phone as it is tight round my middle and hidden away.  I even wear it in the gym to save me holding my phone between machines!


You run, therefore you are a runner.  

Give outside a try.  Like varying anything else with our running (speed, hills, distance) it'll require some practice and tinkering, so don't beat yourself up if you have a few runs learning the ropes.  But it'll open up a world of new possibilities for you.

My vote is for a belt.  I can stuff a lot in mine and it doesn't chafe.


Well done for graduating, treadmill running still counts, in fact I think it takes real determination to run indoors as I find it pretty tedious.  I only did one week on my treadmill before going outside is I'm not sure how hard it will be for you.  The most difficult thing is coming out in public as a runner.  However, I found no one was very interested or surprised I was out and about - definitely no hecklers, I just plodded on.  Try wearing headphones and listening to music if that helps as a distraction maybe.  The treadmill moves under your feet and sets the pace whereas outside, you set the pace and have to move over the ground yourself so I would make sure you run very slowly to find a pace at which you can run comfortably.  Plan your route carefully - nice flat ground is best.  I like to run on grass myself as it is softer and there is less impact on the knees and shins but it is a bit harder.  Perhaps reduce your run time - how about a 5 minute warm up, 5 minute run followed by a 1 minute recovery walk.  As always, I recommend strength and flex exercises every day, found this has been a big help to me.  Let us know how it goes, once you start moving round your area and exploring, you will be hooked!  I love it in the woods, fields and tracks and even being nosey in the town LOL

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Thank you guys. That's all really helpful. I had read that I should ease gently into it at first, so maybe running twice a week on the treadmill and once outside but I'd not thought of going back to the plan to running/walking. As long as I keep up progressing on the treadmill I think I'll be ok with a 'backwards' step outside.

I'm off to buy myself a running belt!


Nah, get outside, it's lovely.  I did most of C25K on a treadmill and the transition is a bit of a shock (as others have said ... go  s-l-o-w-l-y then slow down some more).  Don't be too proud to walk the hilly bits to start with (or any other bit if you have overcooked it).  Don't be surprised if your breathing is a bit of an effort - too easy to gain speed without realising - and don't be demoralised if you don't achieve the same speed outside as you do inside - it will come as you strengthen.  Allow yourself time to build your stamina outdoors - not a bad idea to follow the latter stages of C25K again, but (H&S alert ...) please take care if you have to run across roads wearing earpods.

I will be joining you in spirit ... I have had several months not running so started skipping through the programme again just to get me going.


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