10 Tips for Running Outdoors
When it comes to running as a workout, many runners prefer the great outdoors compared to a treadmill confined by the walls of a gym. However, there are pros and cons to both options, so we’ve compiled a list of tips to ensure your nature or city run is safe, challenging, and fulfilling.
1. Wear the Right Running Shoes
Different settings for running present different terrain to traverse, and this may mean a different effect on your feet and knees. If you’re running in the city, it’s important to ensure you have a shoe that absorbs shock as concrete surfaces can have a negative impact on your joints over time. Shoes with extra padding will help you go a bit easier on your knees. If you’re on trails with rocks, sticks and leaves, you’ll want a trail running shoe with a durable rubber outsole in case you happen to step on any sharp bits of nature.
2. Dress for the Weather
Summer or winter, it’s important to ensure you’re dressed properly for the temperature and conditions to ensure your own comfort and avoid a painful run. If it’s a beautiful warm day out, you’ll naturally want to wear something light like running shorts and a tank or t-shirt. However, be sure to protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen and perhaps a cap. This goes for the cold weather, too, as the sun can do just as much damage to your skin in the dead of winter. Also, be sure to layer up for the cold with longer pants such as a compression leggings and shirts and sweaters with proper insulation. Don’t forget gloves and something to cover your ears and head!
3. Pack Light
Only carry the essentials. If you’re going on a long run, you may want to consider a hand-held water bottle. Clothing with pockets can be a lifesaver to store your house key and phone. Be sure to keep pockets zipped up if possible so you don’t lose any valuables en route.
4. Create a Killer Playlist
You don’t want to have to change your stride to change the music mid-run, so get a playlist of your favourite proven pump up songs ready prior to leaving so you can hit shuffle without worrying about skipping a track – or a step.
5. Track Your Run with Technology
Use one of the many mobile apps out there to track your run. Since you’re no longer on a treadmill, it will undoubtedly become more difficult to keep pace and keep track of distance to ensure you’re attaining your workout goals. Technology is a beautiful thing – use it to your advantage!
6. Plan Your Route
It’s important to map out your run before you hit the road. There are loads of apps out there to help you track how far you run, but make sure you know where you’re running before you go. If it’s through your neighbourhood, know what streets you’re turning on to make your way around. If you plan on running any scenic nature routes, ensure you’ve checked the trails and know where they will lead you in the end. The more prepared you are, the smaller the chance you’ll get lost and ruin your momentum by stopping to double-check directions.
7. Find a Running Buddy
When you’re at the gym, there are people around in case anything goes wrong at any point during your run. Outside on the sidewalks or trails, you may be on your own if you were to trip and sprain an ankle. A running buddy alleviates a lot of this worry – plus, they’re great motivators and add a bit of fun to your excursion!
8. Let Someone Know You’re Home
If you prefer running solo, you can still add a safety precaution by letting a close friend or family member know you’re going out for a run. Something as simple as a quick text can provide you with the added comfort of knowing that if something dangerous were to take place on your run, there’s someone who knows to check in if they don’t hear from you after an hour or so. Also, ideally your phone is fully charged before you leave home. This is especially important if you’re going to be changing your route on occasion for both variety and safety reasons. A quick text to let someone know you’re back at home can put your mind at ease so you can enjoy your run worry-free.
9. Make Yourself Visible
Some runners prefer going out in the evening hours due to cooler air, or simply the fact that they have more time at night. If this sounds like you, ensure you’re wearing light colours and accessories with reflective detail so late-night drivers notice you.
10. Have Fun
Focus on your breathing, enjoy your music, appreciate the fresh air and pretty scenery. Running can calm you down and hype you up at the same time. It’s time for reflection, or simply clearing your head of all daily thoughts while getting some exercise. Try your best to enjoy the process!