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2737 Views 7 Replies Latest reply: Feb 16, 2010 5:40 AM by Marykb
rockstark8 Rookie 3 posts since
Feb 15, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Feb 15, 2010 5:46 PM

treadmill to outdoors- advice

I'm doing the C25K and I'm really loving it.  I'm impressed that 6 weeks ago I wasn't running at all and last week I completed Day 3 Week 5, meaning I ran 2 whole miles!  I've never run a mile before in my life   It's awesome and I'm feeling really confident about finishing the program.


I've done all this on the treadmill.  I've never been a runner.  In fact, I've been quite fat most of my life. But last year I lost 70 pounds!  Hooray! Only 30 more to go until I reach my goal weight.


I really want to run outside, but I didn't feel very confident about it.  Once when I was younger, I did try running outside and I had a horrible experience when some guys in a car harrassed me about being fat.  Now I don't really care, but I can't say I enjoy that memory and it has made me hesitant.


Anyway, my point: I feel like I have the confidence to try it again.  So my plan is to finish the program on the treadmill then what?  Should I start over outside?  Is running outside a lot different than the treadmill?  Some people say it is harder and some say easier.  I live in a nice flat place with reasonable sidewalks to run on.  Would you start from the beginning again?  I wouldn't really mind, but is it unnecessary?  Any advice is greatly appreciated!

  • dfitz* Legend 612 posts since
    Aug 20, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Feb 15, 2010 6:13 PM (in response to rockstark8)
    Re: treadmill to outdoors- advice

    Congratulations on your weight loss and progress in the C25K program! That's exciting.


    I doubt you'd need to start over in the program. I'm the first to say that running on a treadmill isn't the same experience as running outside (and personally I much, MUCH prefer outdoors) but it doesn't mean you haven't gained anything on a treadmill. You've gained a lot. So think of running outdoors as being "the same, only different." There's so much more to look at, to notice, to hear, to experience. It might feel more difficult at first, but not everybody thinks so.  I find it easier. It will take a little while to get used to it, but it's really no big deal.


    As for people driving by saying rude things, just smile and remember: You're running, and they're sitting on their butts. Such comments are absolutely meaningless, spoken by people who know nothing about you or about running. Go ahead and feel superior if it helps to keep you motivated.


    I guess if I had any advice it would be to avoid wearing headphones, at least for a while, for safety reasons. Or leave one earpiece out. Concrete is also significantly harder than asphalt, even though it might not seem like it would be. Run on the street instead of the sidewalk if you can do it safely, and run facing traffic, not with traffic. I try to be extra-courteous about sharing the road, given how badly a human body will lose a battle with a car. I will jump onto the sidewalk, boulevard, or shoulder to give cars as much room as I can if the road is narrow. Don't assume they'll see you... lots of drivers are even more distracted these days than usual with cell phones and so on.


    The biggest difference, at least in my opinion, is that on a treadmill you don't have to worry about uneven surfaces, puddles, rocks, dog doo... etc. I don't say that to worry you-- it's just something that you'll need to get used to, but once you do, it just adds to the interest of running outdoors. Keep your wits about you and really soak in the sights and sounds! You can measure distances in a car of course, but I find websites like to be easier. That is, if you don't have  GPS or other gadget (I don't). Have fun and keep going!

  • PGSniffin Rookie 3 posts since
    Aug 27, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Feb 15, 2010 6:58 PM (in response to rockstark8)
    Re: treadmill to outdoors- advice



    Congratulations on your progress to date. Fantastic.


    I had the same questions as you about running on the road.


    But fate stepped in. I went on a short vacation with the family and didn't really do my homework. You see the motel I booked had a golf course but no fitness facility. Since I had been hitting the 'dreadmill' consistantly I didn't want to get out of my routine on I drove around a bit and found a flatish route in a residential area near the hotel. I marked 1/2 and 1 mile spots on my drive and the next day early in the morning, I pulled on my sneakers, grabbed my cell phone (for safety) and began to jog down the road. Well I made it to the mile mark with no trouble and went a little farther and turned around. Total milage that 1st day was 2 1/2 miles. I had not run that distance on the road since I was in the Army 30 years ago. (BTW I am 51).


    In September I ran my 1st 5k, followed by another in October, 2 in November and one on New Years Eve in the snow! I am hooked.


    Friday I ran my longest so far, 7.5 miles and I have registered for a 1/2 marathon and cannot wait. Speed will not be a gaol ...finishing is...and I WILL DO IT!


    So my advice - just do it!  No one is watching you with anything but envy....because your out doing it!  Take your time, run a comfortable pace.

    The one side effect for me ....I now find the treadmill B-O-R-I-N-G!


    Best of Luck....Keep Up the GREAT Work!

  • crl8686 Legend 1,313 posts since
    Nov 11, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Feb 15, 2010 8:26 PM (in response to rockstark8)
    Re: treadmill to outdoors- advice

    I'll second dfitz*'s points and add two more: (1) On the treadmill, it is easy to calibrate your pace because you have the electronic display in front of you. However, on the roads you don't have that convenience, so you have to calibrate your pace via your breathing rate/depth, leg turnover rate, and perhaps "talk test". Many people who switch from treadmill to roads find themselves going out too fast initially on the roads (faster than they were running on the treadmill), and then wonder why they're tiring more quickly. (2) On the treadmill, you're using a somewhat different distribution of muscle effort and balance than on the roads. So you may find yourself a little stiff and sore after your first couple of times on the roads. Don't worry however, your body will make the adjustment. You may have to cut back a bit on distance and/or speed while your body adjusts, although definitely not back to ground zero.

    2015 highlights...

    @ 5K: New Balance Palm Springs 5K, Palm Springs, CA, 24:32

    Angels Baseball Foundation 5K, Anaheim, CA, 24:24

    Pride of the Valley, Baldwin Park, CA, 24:28

    @ 10K: LA Chinatown Firecracker 10K, Los Angeles, CA, 52:15

    Great Race of Agoura - Old Agoura 10K, Agoura Hills, CA, 51:40

    Fiesta Days Run, La Canada, CA, 49:57

  • Haselsmasher Legend 538 posts since
    May 25, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Feb 15, 2010 8:46 PM (in response to rockstark8)
    Re: treadmill to outdoors- advice

    I'll pass along something my former doctor said once.  Before I do, however, I have a couple of caveats:

    • Although he was an avid runner, he gave me a very incorrect diagnosis that almost (incorrectly) put me in surgery.  As a result I fired him.
    • I'm not trying to spark a treadmill vs outdoor running debate.  I like the treadmill for the right reasons - mostly when it's too icy.



    He said if we want to avoid the classic fall-and-break-a-hip scenario when we get older we have to exercise our balance - like anything else.  So he encouraged against doing all treadmill running.  He said "Get out and really work that balance."


    Maybe some physics discussions will ensue.  That often is the case when any form of treadmill vs outdoor topics come up. 



    "Kick off your high heel sneakers, it's party time."

    -- From the song FM by Steely Dan

  • TEAM GRIFFEN Pro 26 posts since
    Jul 17, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Feb 15, 2010 9:37 PM (in response to rockstark8)
    Re: treadmill to outdoors- advice

    Well conditioning is good on the street, track and even the treadmill.

    Many athletes prepare on the treadmill because of its versatility. 

    Enclosed is some more info on treadmill tempo runs 


    Griffen Ellington Doctoral Candidate
    Mentoring learners around the World


  • Marykb Legend 1,347 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Feb 16, 2010 5:40 AM (in response to rockstark8)
    Re: treadmill to outdoors- advice

    First off a word of caution: if you start running on concrete (sidewalks) if all you've ever done is run on a cushioned treadmill, you are going to be putting new stresses on your body which may cause injury.  Concrete is not a desirable running surface because it is much harder than most other surfaces (treadmill, asphalt, cinder paths, tracks, etc.)  If possible, try to find a more runner friendly surface for your outdoors runs.  If you are going to run on concrete it makes sense to start out a little slower and easier to give your body time to adapt.


    Mentally, running outside is easier because the stimuli of different sights and sounds as the scenery passes by makes the time seem to go by faster.  In a physical sense, however, running outside is probably harder because you have varying temperature, friction, wind resistance, uneven terrain, etc. which challenges your body in different ways.  These differences are small, but they add up.  (veering around obstacles or running slightly into the wind may not seem like much, but if you do that constantly throughout your run you are using extra effort.)


    I wouldn't worry one bit about what people think when they see you running.  If you only have 30 lbs more to lose, then you aren't going to stand out anyway.  (Heck, I have 30 lbs to lose and I run all the time - I won first place for my age group in my last race!)  If you can possibly find a local running path, as opposed to running on the sidewalk, you will feel much more comfortable - in addition to having a better surface for your legs.  Try asking at a local running store to see if they can tell you some good places to run.  No matter what you look like, you can expect the occasional harassment from jerks driving by if you run along a public road.  But DON'T let that stop you!  Keep your chin up and keep on keeping on!

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