A beginner’s guide to outdoor running

A beginner’s guide to outdoor running

Chiropractor-approved tips

You’ve made the decision to take your cardio routine from the treadmill to the sidewalk – congratulations! You’re on your way to reaping some amazing benefits. If you’re feeling wary about transitioning your routine to a new location, we’ve got you covered. With a good pair of running shoes and some healthy preparation, you can get the most out of your running session outdoors.

Note: Running is a high-impact activity. If you’ve never run before, please consult a chiropractor/medical practitioner to ensure you won’t worsen any pre-existing conditions or cause injury to your joints.

Here are some tips to help get you started:

Warm up and cool down: Make sure you stretch before and after your run. Stretches are an essential part of your running routine to avoid injuries. Some important points to keep in mind:

  • Never stretch a cold muscle
  • Hold each stretch for a slow count of 30
  • Repeat twice on each side
  • Don’t overstretch—be comfortable
  • Don’t bounce when stretching

Pick a road or trail you are familiar with: When starting out, the last thing you want to worry about is getting lost. Before you lace up your sneakers, do some research: ask friends where they like to run, use online running forums to find popular routes, and check to see if your park has designated trails. The more popular and visible the trail, the better.

Wear the appropriate footwear: Adapt your shoes to your environment. A regular running sneaker works for the flat, predictable surface of a treadmill. But once you are outdoors, make sure the sneaker’s tread can handle the gravel, dirt roads, and slick trails. Runners should get a sneaker that supports the feet while having the appropriate sole to help maneuver and provide support over uneven surfaces.

Start slow: Running outside is more taxing on your muscles, joints and bones, making you more prone to injuries like shin splints. Start off with shorter distances on flat roads or trails. As your endurance improves, gradually increase your mileage and hill work.

Maintain a constant pace: Don’t feel compelled to push yourself to run at the same pace that you would on a treadmill. Start with moderate and comfortable pace that allows you to run safely, and gradually increase your speed over several weeks as your body allows.

If you’ve been running on a treadmill for a while, transitioning to the outdoors may take time. The mechanics of running on a stationary treadmill are different than running outside on an uneven surface.

Originally published June 2016 by the Canadian Chiropractic Association

1Shape Magazine, “Don’t make these mistakes when running. https://www.shape.com/fitness/cardio/dont-make-these-mistakes-when-running-outdoors

2Popsugar, 4 things you need to know before running outside. https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Tips-Running-Outside-28328027
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