Transition from treadmill to the real world - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Transition from treadmill to the real world

โ€ข10 Replies

Hi all,

Long time lurker in this group ๐Ÿ˜‚ Iโ€™ve recently completed week 5 but have thus far been doing all of my runs on the treadmill (with a slight incline). Anyone got any tips on how best to transition to running outside? Iโ€™m sick of staring at the wall!

Iโ€™m a bit worried about being able to pace myself, best to just give it a try?!


10 Replies
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Hello! Youโ€™re doing well getting this far on a treadmill and without getting support on here ๐Ÿ˜Š Iโ€™ve got no special advice on pacing yourself without your treadmill, Iโ€™d just say go as slow as you can, then you can always speed up for the next time if you want! Iโ€™m sure youโ€™ll enjoy being outside - have fun and let us know how you get on!

jopicks in reply to Jazzyrunner

Thanks Jazzyrunner! Just need to take the plunge and try it I think ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿƒโ€โ™€๏ธ



I did the whole program on a treadmill before venturing outdoors. I hadn't run outdoors for 20 years before that, so I was tad nervous. In the end, there's very little advice other than to get out there and get used to the feeling of a hard, static surface. It's a bit like asking how to transition from being out of a swimming pool to being in the water - only 1 way to find out! Provided you go slower enough, you'll get used to it very quickly.

One thing is for sure, for the same speed, you'll be working harder outdoors (burning more calories and feeling more tired) than on a treadmill. Why? (1) You're pushing through air, i.e. you experience resistance and (2) the ground is static and you've to work harder to lift/push your body off the ground with every step - unlike on the treadmill, where by the moving belt acts as a form of propulsion.

As for pacing yourself, yes, it's trickier outdoors, no doubt - which is why I like the control of treadmills. To help outside, check your breathing rate (keep your pace conversational!) or try counting your steps - in a manageable way of course.

I'm now very used to running outdoors and in and the change has become inconsequential to me.

Good luck!


jopicks in reply to John_W

Thanks John, youโ€™re right I just need to get out there and try it! Maybe Iโ€™ll do some consolidation runs rather than pushing straight on with the programme. Great tip about working harder outdoors, Iโ€™ll have to remind myself not to get too annoyed with myself if Iโ€™m going slower/not covering as much ground ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜จ


As you have been running on the treadmill your pace is set . When you're running outside you are in charge . Just keep your run slow and slower again if needed. It just takes some practice and outside running is the best and not boring. Good luck ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

jopicks in reply to Buddy34

Yes looking forward to it - I love next to a beautiful stretch of coastline so seems such a waste to be missing out on the views ๐Ÿ˜€


Iโ€™m on week 5 and did the first three weeks outside. I then treated myself to a treadmill so have done the last two weeks that way and have to say I find it much harder. Being outside cools you down and gives you something else to look at so Iโ€™d say go for it, youโ€™ll be fine!


Choose a nice route and just go for it. Your legs know the speed they like to run at. You probably donโ€™t think to much about walking speed, it varies to match environment. I keep saying Iโ€™ll run next run slower, think I am, then at end look at stats and realise my legs did what they felt like doing and altered pace for terrain without me thinking. Have fun.

Thanks for the encouragement yesterday - I went for my first outdoors run today along the seafront and really enjoyed it! ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™€๏ธ I did end up running a bit faster than usual but the breeze and things to look at meant I was distracted so still managed the full run ๐Ÿ’ช

Put running mill on a 1 percent incline...

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