Throughout the colder months, the treadmill takes on the role of the outdoors, allowing people to continue to train regardless of the weather. As the weather warms and the climate becomes more inviting, many people begin to transition from the treadmill to the outdoors.
While this is a time of year most look forward to, going from training inside all winter long to hitting the pavement again can be tougher than we remember. In fact for many people, running outside is much more challenging than running inside. Here’s why:
Treadmills are easier. Although running on a treadmill is in no way easy, it is easier than running outside. In fact, treadmills tend to do a lot of the work for you. With the ever-moving belt under your feet, your legs are constantly being pulled back, making your strides easier to perform. This bit of assistance places less emphasis on your glutes and hamstrings. After training all winter on a treadmill, your legs aren’t prepared to pull their own weight outdoors, which makes each stride that much harder.
Mother Nature. Running inside comes along with a nicely controlled climate, an even running surface and no wind. The outdoors present an entirely different atmosphere–the temperature may be cold, there may be wind working against you, and the ground may be uneven. With all these elements of nature, it can be a bit of an overload for your body.
How to Transition. One way you can best prepare your body for the pending transition is to train your posterior chain—think deadlifts, kettlebell swings, hip bridges, hamstring ball curls, glute ham raises and so on. Strengthening your posterior chain will specifically allow your glutes and hamstrings to become stronger so that when you resume running outside, you’ll have an easier time pulling your strides along. Additionally, make sure that any time you are using the treadmill, your incline is set to minimum of 1 percent. This small incline will best simulate the outdoors so that when you are ready to move your runs back outside, your body will be better conditioned for the change in ground.
When you are ready to make your transition from the treadmill to the great outdoors, don’t be discouraged if your first few runs don’t go as well as planned. Instead, start with a shorter distance and increase your mileage little by little until you reach your goal.
Jason DeHenzel has trained some of New York’s most prestigious clients, including high-profile lawyers, advertising executives, movie producers and musicians. Sophie DeHenzel is a Pn1-certified nutritionist and former downhill ski racer. The pair founded DeHenzel Training Systems, a 2015 Home-Based Business of the Year from the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce. DeHenzel Training Systems develops customized fitness plans for clients of different abilities, experience and commitment. Find out more at dtsnova.com.