How to Transition from Treadmill to Outdoor Running

This post about How to Transition from Treadmill to Outdoor Running (including fueling options) has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #OwnWhatYouEat #CollectiveBias

As many of you know, I started running last year (March 2017) with a goal to complete a 5K by October for Domestic Violence awareness. By May, I had completed my first 5K with my sister…and then I was addicted! Since that time, I’ve run several 5K’s (including the Purple Run in San Antonio for DV awareness) and I’ve set a new goal. I’ve decided to OWN IT this year and I want to complete a half marathon! I have signed up for the Cowtown Half Marathon at the end of February (and the Tyler, TX Half in December 2018) to make sure I meet that goal. With this new goal, I’ve had to change up how I approach my workouts and my training. I have a 20 week training plan and I’m deep into it by now with training runs upwards of five to eight miles. My gym (YMCA) has a 60 minute limit on the treadmill and while I could just restart after the first 60 minutes, I need the experience of outdoor running for the hills and weather changes. I’m going to talk to you about how to transition from treadmill to outdoor running, including some great fueling options for your long run days.

As I mentioned, I’m following a 20 week training plan to increase my mileage in order to prepare for my first half marathon. This week my “short” runs are four miles and my long run is six miles. By the time you get to this length of mileage, you should be already transitioning to outdoor running and you should be fueling for anything over one hour of running. Up until recently, I was having a protein shake before my run and nothing during my run, but I’ve found some great fueling options that I’ll share with you that you can try out and see what works best for you. You want to test out different options before race day so you know what works and what doesn’t. We don’t want any surprises on race day!

Let’s talk about fuel first and then I’ll help you with your transition from treadmill to outdoor running with my tips.

Click on the photo below to start shopping for your own fueling options!

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During a recent Target run, I discovered some new fueling options with Special K® cereals, bars, and bites. I picked up a variety of products to try, including Special K® Chocolate Delight Cereal, Special K® Nourish Coconut Cranberry Almond Cereal, Special K® Protein Cereal, and Special K® Fruit and Yogurt. I use the Special K® Protein Cereal for my breakfast before a long run and the other cereals for mornings when I’m cross training or taking a rest day. Special K® has snacks and cereal with the protein you need to fuel your day. I think my favorite is the Special K® Nourish Coconut Cranberry Almond Cereal because of the different textures and almost sweet flavors. The Special K® Nourish line has wholesome ingredients so you can feel confident giving your body what it needs.

For snacks with protein during your long runs, you can choose from several bars, crisps, or bites that can easily go in your running pouch. I picked up the Special K® Blueberry Pastry Crisps, Special K® Protein Peanut Butter Chocolate Bites, and Special K® Protein Chocolate Cherry Nut Bar. I pack the bites and bars in my pouch for fueling during a long run that will last over an hour and then I eat half a bar or two of the bites every 30 minutes. You may need to test out different amounts or timeframes for what works best for you. And, remember, I had weight loss surgery so I eat smaller amounts more frequently than someone who hasn’t had surgery.

Check out Target for some special pricing on these products! From 1/7/18 – 1/13/18, pay only $2.50 each for select Special K® Cereals and all Special K® Bars and Bites, with the exception of Special K® meal bars. Also, from 1/1/18 – 6/1/18, get a free Swell water bottle with an empowerment message on it via Kellogg® Family Rewards when you purchase any combination of three (3) participating Kellogg® Special K® products. Receipts must be submitted by 7/1/18. Click here to learn more about the Kellogg® Family Rewards offer for a free Swell water bottle with purchase of three (3) Special K® products! Check out the Kellogg® Family Rewards page to find great Kellogg® deals!

No matter how busy we women get – juggling parenthood, jobs, personal time, and our goals, Special K® food and snacks can fuel those busy lives and help us OWN IT this year!

How to Transition from Treadmill to Outdoor Running

Running indoors on the treadmill is a great way to start working out and get in some uninterrupted cardio that your body needs, but there comes a time when your treadmill running needs to transition to outdoor running, whether that be on the road or a trail or even a track. That point for me was when I decided I wanted to complete a half marathon. I need the experience of the weather changes, wind resistance, unforgiving road surface in order to fully prepare me for race day. Here are a few tips to transition from treadmill to outdoor running:

Increase your incline on the treadmill

When running on a treadmill, you are running on a straight, flat surface with a little “give” in it that absorbs some of the shock. Once you’re on the road, things change. You will encounter hills and winding roads, as well as wind resistance, that you will need to prepare for. By increasing your incline on the treadmill, you can begin to experience some of the ups (and possibly downs, if you have a treadmill with a decline) of actual outdoor running. Start with a 1% incline and work your way up. One of my favorite programmed workouts on the treadmill is called the Fat Burn where the treadmill will alternate between different inclines depending on what level I choose. Check out some of the programs your treadmill has and find one that works for you. There is also no need to increase your speed during this time when you’re getting use to the incline. There’s plenty of time for speed work once you’re fully accustomed to outdoor running.

Don’t overtrain outdoors – begin short and slow

Once you decide to head outdoors and run, take it easy on your body and start with slow and steady, short runs. You may be accustomed to running 4-5 miles on the treadmill, but your body is not used to that outdoors. My 20 week training plan started with one mile, three times per week, slowly increasing every other week by a half to a full mile. This helps you build a strong base and helps your body know that you’re going to be challenging it in the coming weeks. During this time, it is also okay to alternate treadmill and outdoor running to give your body a break.

Increase frequency or distance – not both at the same time

As you start feeling more confident with your outdoor running, begin decreasing your treadmill running to no more than once per week. Slowly wean yourself off of indoor running and become an exclusive outdoor runner. Feel free to use a track to kickstart your outdoor running as well. You can increase your runs to 3-4 per week outdoors or you can increase your distance, but it’s not generally a good idea to run long distances every time you run. My half marathon training plan has three shorter runs and one long run per week, followed by a rest day.

Plan your running route and road conditions

Take a walk or drive around your area to learn more about where you want to run and places you might want to avoid. If you’re worried about being too far from home, choose a circular route so you can pass by familiar places over and over. If you’re worried about motivation lacking, choose an out and back route where you run X number of miles out and you know you have to run X number of miles back. Check for road conditions and safe areas that are runner friendly. Remember to bring your fueling options with you on the long runs or if you didn’t get enough fuel prior to your run.

Helpful Tips for Outdoor Running

  • Safety First – Always have some type of identification on you during your outdoor running. Bring a small first aid kit and some type of protective device (mace, etc.). Know your route and, if possible, let someone else know where you’re going and approximately how long you’ll be gone.
  • Dress for Weather – Be sure to check the forecast before you head out and prepare for the weather conditions. Research how to layer your clothing for cold and/or wet weather.
  • Bring your Fuel – Even if you’re not sure whether you’ll need it, always pack some fuel for a run just in case. Consider checking out the Special K® food and snacks that I mentioned above for some great, delicious fueling options.

What is your goal for 2018 and how are you going to OWN IT?


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