The weather is getting nice and you may have been bitten by the “run bug.” To make the transition from indoor runs to the great outdoors seamless and safe, I compiled a list of my top five tricks to get the most out of your outdoor run. Whether you have had some success running on the treadmill, or you are completely new to outdoor running, there are two crucial factors that you must understand.
First, let’s talk about a little guy named Newton. See, Newton has this law that states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Are you with me so far? Good. Well, with runners, the concern is what we run on. The harder the surface the greater the ground reaction force, which is basically the force exerted by the ground back onto the body (in this case, our little legs) that are in contact with it, is. To simplify this, surfaces like concrete and pavement will cause a greater reaction back into our joints and legs than an energy absorbing treadmill. This not only makes us to work harder, but will tire us out faster and cause greater stress on our joints.
Second, the treadmill is a flat belt that provides consistency with each step. There are no stones, traffic, or inclement weather activity that would cause you to be off balance or have to change your gait. Running outdoors forces the body to make constant small adjustments. That said, here is what’s going to make your outdoor run a successful one.
1. Don’t be led by aesthetics: It doesn’t matter how good sneakers may look with your running gear, it’s about what they are meant to do: protect, support, cushion, and stabilize your foot when it makes contact with the ground. Choosing the proper sneaker for your foot is imperative. To take the guesswork out of what shoe works best for you, you have to have a clear understanding of your foot. To do this, simply moisten the bottom of your bare foot and step on a brown paper bag. Trace along the outline of the footprint and bring it to your local running specialty store. Your foot map will provide the in-store specialist the information he or she needs to find the correct sneaker for you.