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May 10, 2023

How to Transition to Outdoor Running This Spring

Warmer weather beckons runners who have spent snowy, icy winters on treadmills. When you’re used to the consistent 68 degrees at the gym on level, steady terrain, how can you make your transition to outdoor running a seamless one?

Prepare with high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
The steps on a treadmill are predictable, while the great outdoors can throw curves at every turn. Prepare your heart, legs, and lungs for this change by doing HIIT workouts before you venture outdoors. This will improve your speed, strength, and endurance, making your outdoor run less of a shock to your system. Your HIIT treadmill run could be as simple as the following:

  • 5-minute warm-up walk/jog
  • 1-minute run at 80 percent
  • 1- to 2-minute recovery walk/jog
  • Repeat the run/recovery 10 times
  • 5-minute cool down walk/jog

Run hills indoors
Take your HIIT run on the treadmill up a notch by varying the incline. It’s known that training on hills develops your cardiovascular system and strengthens leg muscles, making you faster and healthier. According to Runner’s World, hill sessions hit muscle groups in the legs, hips, feet, and ankles more powerfully than on a flat surface because you are overcoming gravity. So why not bring the hills to the gym? Get your body ready for those dips, grades, and slopes right on the treadmill.

Tend to allergies
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), about 81 million people in the United States were diagnosed with seasonal allergies in 2021. Who wants to lose precious run time to wiping a drippy nose? An antihistamine helps stop those symptoms from interfering with your morning run. And yes, you want to run in the morning since pollen levels increase throughout the day and peak during the afternoon. Flush allergens out with a nasal rinse or neti pot once or twice daily and promptly remove pollen-covered clothing after a run.

Dress for success
Most treadmill surfaces are designed with a laminated wood meant to absorb the shock of running, which is nearly five times your weight. That sounds heavy, and yet roads are designed to support vehicles, which can weigh more than 6,000 pounds, a tough surface for your fragile feet. Therefore, invest in running shoes suited for shock absorption and that provide decent traction during those April showers. Ensure your shoe’s outsole has plenty of grip and adds a defensive layer against small rocks and debris. Even though it’s spring, chilly morning runs might necessitate fingerless gloves or a long-sleeved jacket with thumb holes.

We need sunscreen too
Along with what to wear, don’t forget to put on sunscreen. Thanks to dark skin, an SPF of 13 is produced naturally. The higher level of melanin may mean that we don’t burn as easily and have a lower risk of skin cancer. However, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. In fact, those with dark skin tend to get a deadlier skin cancer. It often goes undiagnosed for longer due to not taking necessary precautions to prevent it and not looking for warning signs. Also, the clouds aren’t blocking all harmful UVA rays, as the Skin Care Foundation explains. So apply a bit of sunscreen before your run to protect your skin, not only from cancer but also hyperpigmentation and aging lines.

A spring in your step
Before spring fever hits, take a little time to transition to outdoor running. You will perform better and protect your health while enjoying that spring is in the air.

By: Terez Howard

Terez Howard is a virtual assistant who helps entrepreneurs and solopreneurs make their businesses thrive. Her passion is wrapped up in volunteer work. She also enjoys lifting weights, upping her Spanish skills, and, of course, running.