Running Outside For The First Time – Beginner Tips
If you’re new to running and have been jogging on the treadmill in the gym, then the thought of running outside can be quite a daunting one.
First of all I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to do it. When I’d tried running outside when I was younger, I wouldn’t even be able to cover half a mile without feeling absolutely exhausted.
It turned out that I was running far too fast on those attempts. Running outside became a lot easier once I learned to take my time and enjoy the experience.
Here are a few tips on how to begin outdoors running.
- Run for your own reasons – Not because you’re trying to lose weight because someone has called you fat or ugly. Run because you want to make a positive improvement to your life.
- Don’t react angrily to stray dogs, motorists or absent minded pedestrians – Getting into a fist fight with someone should be your last recourse when you’re out running. You’re out there to have fun and enjoy yourself, not to fight everyone and everything in your area.
- Remember that running outdoors isn’t any harder than treadmill running – It might seem that way at first because of hills, but you’ll soon find that you’ll hit runner’s flow a lot more when you’re in the great outdoors. It’s hard for me to hit any sort of flow on a treadmill as I’m constantly staring at the mile/time/calories display on the treadmill readout.
- You can adjust to running in bad weather – Before I started running I would assume that joggers who went out running in the rain were mentally unhinged. I could never have pictured myself doing that. Over time though you adapt to weather and it becomes less of an issue. You gain much more from a single run than you do from ever getting wet or becoming cold.
- People might make fun of you – But they are usually awful human beings who don’t deserve your attention. Jog on and pretend that the pavement is their face. Stomp hard, smile hard and continue to run hard in spite of them!
- Don’t be scared of the dangers of outdoor running, but be aware of the potential hazards – Wear high visibility clothing, take extra caution when crossing the road and try to avoid running in dangerous neighbourhoods. Follow these rules and you won’t have any problem.
- If you’re wanting to make running outdoors into a habit, then start slow – When I tried running in the past, I made the mistake of starting out far too fast, wrecking my body and losing any interest in running. I marked myself out as a failure for this. I could have avoided it by being a little more patient, maybe starting out at half a mile ran easily and working up over time.
Fear Of People Making Fun Of You On Your First Ever Outdoor Runs
When I first started walking outside I would receive a lot of abuse from cowards in cars who would think it was funny to call me ‘a fat bastard’ when I was still at 250-260lbs and attempting 2-3 mile walks.
I was worried that I’d be up for more ridicule once I started running.
My fears were unwarranted at first. To try to get over my fear initially I ran with music and focused all of my energy on keeping going forward. I didn’t have time to be dissuaded by assholes who were only out to amuse themselves.
You Won’t Face Real Ridicule When Running Outside.
In fact in my experience most people will admire you for having the courage to step outside.
What’s stopping you now from becoming a runner?
Do you think you’re too fat? Have you tried running outside before but found it too difficult? Why not try to run again, only this time focus on running at a slightly lower pace?
Originally I started outside at about a 9 minute mile. I could sustain this pace for about half a mile without giving up out of exhaustion. It was only when I dropped my pace to around a 11 minute mile that I was able to complete my first ever outdoor 4.2 mile run.
Making The Stressful Transition From The Gym Treadmill To Running Outside
If you’re a new runner and you’ve only been training on the treadmill thus far, then running outside can naturally seem a little bit daunting.
My biggest problem was in regards to pacing. When you’re running on a treadmill it dictates your pace for you.
When you’re running outdoors you have to set your own pace. This can be difficult at first as you have no real frame of reference for your pace. You can only go by your perceived rate of exertion.
Whilst I hated outdoor running for quite some time, I quickly came to enjoy it much more than the treadmill.
One of the best aspects of outdoor running for me is the ability to alter my pace whenever I see fit. In the gym I was self conscious of turning the pace of the treadmill down as I was worried that others would think that I was a slob.
Now I can just slow down when I want to without having to press a button!
I’d recommend either using your smartphone and an app like Runkeeper to keep track of your pace if you’re having difficulties regulating your speed. I personally use a Garmin Forerunner watch which I find ideal for tracking my run route, pace and mileage.
My First Ever Runs Outside.
Attempt – 1 mile – Running home from the gym.
Around the time of this run, I’d been doing about 3km in the gym maximum. I bought the Garmin Forerunner 405CX watch to help me with my marathon training and this was the first ever run that I recorded with it.
The run was so difficult and stressful as it was my first formal attempt at outdoors running. I remember thinking that if I stopped at any minute, then I’d have failed myself.
I ended up stopping after 1 mile and about 0.5 miles short of home. I was pleased that I got past the mile mark for the first time ever, but disappointed I didn’t make it all the way home.
Attempt 2 – 0.8 miles – Awful snowy run
This was another aborted run only 5 days after my run home from the gym.
This really fucking sucked. I went out at lunch time at work and there was still snow everywhere from the recent blizzard. It took me 20 minutes to put on all of my running gear and another 10 minutes to stretch.
It was after this run that I decided I would try to prepare for a run as quickly as possible without preparing excessively for it.
Anyway, the run itself was shit. I was far too self conscious, the ground was very slippy and I gave up after 0.85 miles and then just walked the rest of the way back to work.
It was humiliating and I was close to giving up running directly after this.
Attempt 3 – 5.5 miles – Breakthrough Run
This was the first run where I felt really comfortable for the first time running.
It came only a week after my disastrous 0.8 miler too.
What I’ve found is that bad runs are usually followed by great runs. You just have to give running another chance before you quit. The run that changes your life could just be around the corner!