A season of cabin fever is all anyone needs to want to dive outside at the first signs of warmth and light. If you’ve been spending time in the gym or on your home treadmill, the urge to translate your workouts from the mechanical plain to a much more natural one is strong. Outdoor running is definitely encouraged, but there are some key differences between it and the treadmill you should prepare for.
The first thing to consider is your terrain. Treadmills are made to be more comfortable for your feet than roads are. The force of impact to your feet will rise when going on pavement as opposed to indoor running, and not giving your body time to get used to it can result in sports injuries such as stress fractures and neuromas.
There is also a slight mechanical difference in how you run on a treadmill versus outdoor running. When running on a treadmill, you are keeping up with the belt. On the roads, more forward momentum is required by your muscles.
Overall, there should be little problem transitioning from indoor running to outdoor running as long as the change is gradual. Start by taking short runs outside and sticking to longer runs on the treadmill. If you’re not in pain, start moving the longer runs outdoors, too. You might also want to consider starting on a softer trail or path instead of pavement, but be careful that the terrain isn’t the type that could easily trip you up.
For help keeping your feet and ankles in top shape for running, or for problems that develop during activity, you can count on Dr. Sanjay Patel and the staff at Family Foot Care & Surgery. Contact either of our area offices at (203) 876-7736 for Milford or (203) 288-4055 for Hamden.