How to Transition from Treadmill to Running on the Road

Man running outside on dirt trail.
Running has so many benefits for your health, like reducing your risk of many heart-related diseases, increasing muscle strength, decreasing stress, and increasing your overall energy. However, running on a treadmill in the same place can get pretty boring after a while. Although you might be afraid to make the transition to running outside on the roads, there are some ways to make this transition as easy and painless as possible.

Take it slow.

You don’t need to run a marathon the first time you hit the roads. Try to ease into the new feeling of running outside, and run a shorter distance at first (even if it’s less than you were doing on a treadmill) to reduce your risk for shin splints and other running-related injuries.

Stretch it out.

Your legs might be used to the feeling of a treadmill, so the new feeling of pavement could affect your legs. Make sure you are properly stretching before and after your run to try to avoid any injuries and keep yourself from getting too sore.

Safety comes first.

When running outside, you’ll be encountering people, cars, and dogs. Make sure to let someone know you’re going for a run, be cautious and run in areas that you know well, stay on sidewalks when possible, and run against traffic so you can see the oncoming traffic. In addition, try your best to avoid running at night.

Plan ahead.

Planning out a running route ahead of time can ease some anxiety when it comes to transitioning to the road. You can use a website/app like MapMyRun to see how long a certain route will be, and even if there will be elevations as you run. This will keep any surprises from happening during your run, and prepare you mentally for the amount of distance you’ll be working on.

Go on softer terrain.

If running on sidewalks is too painful on your shins, try out softer terrain like a dirt trail, a track, or asphalt. This could ease you into working towards the harder terrain, which may take some time for your body to get used to.

Ease into the hills.

Although hills could be great for building more muscle strength and endurance, they may be difficult at first as you may not be used to this type of strain when running. Easing into hills by slowing your speed down or even walking them at first could help make the treadmill to road an easier transition.