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8806 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Oct 29, 2010 1:34 PM by BlackhawksFan
rah2074 Pro 69 posts since
Jan 25, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Mar 22, 2010 7:17 AM

Transitioning from Treadmill to Outside Running - Help?

Hey all,


Avid reader of posts – really have not responded to any.


I am a new runner.  I started Jan 1st and have been going strong since.  I am in Ohio so all of my Running has been done on a treadmill and I can run ( if you call it that ) for 4 miles straight.  I usually run between 5-6MPH and the treadmill helps me gauge that.  With the weather breaking lately I ventured outside.  I thought I was going to die 1 mile in – Obviously I was at a pace I was not accustom too.


My question – how do you transition from Treadmill to Outside?  I have a 5K in May, so I have time for the transition – however I just am not sure how to gauge my pace and keep in a comfort zone.  I am familiar with BPM in my music and what have you – but when I am outside I think my brain says – dude.. you are slow as a turtle, so I pick it up not to look like a running sloth.


Any tips would be welcomed.





"Run because you like it.. or because a big dog is chasing you"

2nd full year of Running.  I have successfuly finished 6 5K's and 2 10K's in my first year.

PR:5K 27:20 10K 56:04

2011 Events - 1 want to do at least 10

2/5/2011 - Tackle the Tower - 40 Floor Stair run in Cleveland - 7:13

3/6/2011 - Shamrock 15K (9.5miles) - Cuy Falls 1:31

4/9/2011 - Poratge Run to the Beach 5k PR: 25:50

5/15/2011 Cleveland 1/2 Marathon 2:12

6/18/2011 Autism Society 5K Akron Ohio

6/26/2011 Achievement Centers 10K - Cleveland Hieghts

9/11/2011 Chicago 1/2 Marathon

10/16/2011 Columbus 1/2 marathon

  • growlerius Pro 74 posts since
    Aug 15, 2009

    First off you have to ask yourself:  Would you rather go slowly and carefully (like a 'running sloth') or too quickly and injure yourself into a layoff for months?  It's said a lot on these forums, but only you know your pace; try and shut out the outside world and what they think of you.  There's a lot of benefit in slow running.


    My understanding of treadmills has been that they give you lots of help.  The treadmill basically kicks your legs back for you, and you're able to do more and do it faster because of lack of wind resistance, conditions, etc.  Most people who transition to outdoors seem to take a few steps back in their training to accommodate the change.  Obviously listen to your body's signals, and a good rule of thumb in training is that you should run slower and less distance than you feel you CAN.  Maybe try a 2 or 3 mile run with intervals of'll take patience to move back from your 4 mile distance, but I think it will pay off in the long run.  I would say as for pace...just think slow.  As a musician, I try to put moderately fast/slow music on my running mixes...I always tend to get super excited during very up-tempo tunes. 


    PS I'm in Upstate NY and I run outside all's more fun and exhilarating than it looks!

  • gawd Pro 174 posts since
    Mar 9, 2010

    Think gradual, you are contending with a lot more 'on the road'  I also think you should pay attention to your breathing too.  Iv only just started again (its been years since I used to run) and I cant believe how easy the treadmill feels sometimes since I had always run outdoors before (and I cant believe how hard that feels now ) .  Its a handy tool to start with but I dont think it prepares you well for outdoor running. So, the run down -slow the pace, pay attention to your breathing and stick to a fairly level route until you become more accustomed to running outdoors.

  • gatorman10 Legend 242 posts since
    Apr 23, 2003

    Congrats!  You will like it ouside.  I agree with the PPers on the speed thing.  SLOW DOWN.  No one really cares.  It seems like we all have those feelings, but I don't think I have ever thought negatively about anyone outside running slowly.  The key here is to figure out how to pace yourself.  It takes time and practice.  Just like on the TM think "small, fast and efficient" for you stride rate and run tall.  I would also just pick a distance and throw out the stop watch.  Conquer distance first and the days of being a slave to the watch will come!    You might think about riding the route in a car or on a bike and writing down the mileage at certain obvious "mileposts"....  Large brick house at mile 1.1, etc.  OR use that spray paint that is neon but washes away after a month or so.  That is a bit "advanced" at this point, though.  I would simply pick a 3 and a 5 mile route, note the mileage at critical landmarks (or not) and really just try to run an even pace for the entire distance.

  • runningman400 Legend 191 posts since
    Aug 26, 2009

    I'm from Michigan, so I totally understand the whole treadmill training in the winter thing.  Some people (even people in cold weather states) will say that treadmill training isn't good for you...I on the other hand swear by it during the winter. 


    It does take some getting used to when going from the treadmill to the road, running outside makes you have to take alot more into consideration (weather, traffic, terrain, etc.)  I've found that the best thing to focus on while transitioning is pace.  Try to work on maintaining a good pace both on the treadmill and outdoors.  While on the treadmill, pay attention to how your body feels while running at certain speeds, then once you hit the road, you should have a better idea of what it feels like to you.  Don't worry about people thinking that you are a "sloth runner", just focus on how you feel.   


    It's also a good idea to cross-train your body, so once you start running outside, it's a good idea to hop on the treadmill once in a while just to change things up a bit (elyptical and bike too).


    Good luck!



  • gatorman10 Legend 242 posts since
    Apr 23, 2003

    That is a good plan!


    And this has NOTHING to do with running, but ALWAYS listen to your wife...   Happy wife, happy life.....  If momma ain't happy NOBODY's happy!

  • browerdoug Rookie 1 posts since
    May 14, 2009

    I'll tell you how NOT to do it.  I've been running for a year now.  Ran a 10K this time of year last year, after running all treadmill miles.  I was up to 15 treadmill miles per week and just turned them into 15 road miles one week when the weather turned nice.  I learned that treadmill running is easier on the legs than the road.  Ween yourself away from the treadmill and follow the rule to only add 10% to your weekly mileage.




  • Baitbag Amateur 9 posts since
    May 30, 2007

    I agree with GAWD's reply.  Although good for conditioning and better than nothing at all, I don't think it prepares you well for outdoor running.

    I've been limitied to doing the gym here in NH as well, but I've tried to hit the pavement/dirt as early as possible.  I'm into the C25K W8D2 run now

    and definitely saw a slow down in pace when I got off the treadmill.... very humbling.  Thought I would fly through a 5K at first.  It messes with your mind since we all have some sort of goal - stated or not.


    Just as everyone has mentioned, back off a bit, take what the road will give you, and push on.  Once I made the transistion, I started to pick up the pace again and can see the difference.  It is more interesting as well.

    Beyond The Rainbow 5K (Newmarket, NH) - 4/11/2010   32:01.1

    Margarita's 5K (Exeter, NH) - 5/2/2010  29.36.4

    Smuttynose Will Run For Beer 5K (Newmarket, NH) - 6/6/2010

  • BPS1976 Amateur 34 posts since
    Apr 7, 2008

    I try to run outside as much as possible even in the winter (my new problem is that I've gotten to like running in the cold much better than the heat as spring and summer FINALLY are around the corner), but all the snow we got here in PA pushed me to the treadmill.  I just can't bring myself to do more than 30 minutes at a time on my home treadmill, which isn't a very good one, no matter what.


    In general, and based just on my experience, I offer the following words of caution:


    Treadmill speed & distance settings don't seem to translate well to real life -- I was running on our treadmill and was going 20 minutes.  When I got out and started running outside, I could only run about 10-15 minutes. Likewise, on my home treadmill, I can only run at 5.5 mph, and I barely keep up.  I know I'm over 6mph "in real life".


    So, i would suggest you make sure you do some outside running before your 5K


    That said, I thought the treadmill was an ok way of staying in general conditioning and though it's a little bit of  transition back to outside after a few weeks of mostly-treadmill running, it's usually not too bad.


    Also:  Good luck on your race -- there's not many better feelings, in my opinion, than getting to the end of your first race!

  • IndianSon Rookie 3 posts since
    Mar 22, 2010

    I find that an easy way to stick to a comfortable pace is to use a heart rate monitor.  It helps you stick to a manageable pace, so there's less chance of being left breathless and having to start walking.

  • flamomof3 Legend 1,928 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    I started on the tread when I started the c25k. I new I'd be running in a race in November so that's when I started going outside and yes I thought I was going to die but I went outside every day, If I wasn't running I was walking. It me two weeks before I really felt comfortable. Good Luck 

  • BlackhawksFan Amateur 18 posts since
    Jun 10, 2010

    I've been doing (and restarting) the C25K, and I"ve mostly been running on a treadmill.  Running outside is harder!!  I run very slowly (more like a trot).  On the treadmill, I walk at 2.3 mph, and run at 3.2 (any faster than about 3.2, and I just can't do it).  When I walk/run outside, I'm a bit faster (maybe its my imagination, or that inside I'm using the Garmin footpod with my 305, and outside I'm using the GPS--or my treadmill is cheap and inaccurate).  Don't worry about running slowly--your outside pace will increase with time.  I think we tend to obsess about pace because we all talk about it.  Don't worry about how you look; for me, when I see a runner outside (even before I got into it), all I think about is how I should be out there doing that (and then frankly, a few seconds later, I forget I saw the person).    I'm trying not to worry about it, until I can run for 30 minutes with the C25K program; then I'll make a decision about pace or time.  I found a great quote in the most recent Runner's World (Nov. 2010, p. 36):


    "Fact or fiction?  Whatever your pace, there's no such thing as running too slow.  FACT.  Running is a free-form activity; we alone determine how fast, how far, and how long we run.  The empowerment of running is open to anyone, at any speed.  Your definition of 'slow' may change as you grow more fit, and will change again as you grow older."  --Jeff Galloway


    I know this was rambling, but I hope there's a few bits of wisdom here.



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