How to transition from an indoor workout to an outdoor workout

It’s finally SPRING. Okay, it’s not spring everywhere (sorry East Coasters!) but it is starting to warm up across the country. Which means a few things. It’s time to load up on sunscreen and take your workout to the great outdoors.


But read this first.

It’s easy to get injured when you go from zero to hero so we asked Toronto-based fitness expert Brent Bishop for his top tips on taking your workout from indoors to outdoors.

Here are his fitness rules:

Start slow. “Going from exercising indoors during the winter to outdoors come summer, can be a big transition. Your cardiovascular conditioning may be there but plan to start slow or you could end up with joint issues due to the increase in impact when returning to pavement too quickly.”

Try a transition stage. If you have been running 5K indoors all winter on a treadmill, try transitioning to the pavement by planning a slower 4K run split in half with a 2 minute brisk walk.  Don’t run as hard as you have been, see how you feel the next couple days and start to gradually build your distance.

Ensure you have proper footwear. There’s loads of new kicks on the market–hit your local sports store and talk to an expert about which shoe you need to best support your activity of choice.

Add in functional training. A lot of runners don’t work in any functional conditioning or training to stabilize the joints so they end up with muscular imbalances, says Bishop.  And when they go into an impact situation such as running outdoors that just exacerbates any other issues. A lot of sports like running are unilateral, meaning you are only going in one direction so your range of motion for your knees and hip are very minimal.  To help potential muscle imbalances, you want to train through a full range of motion, doing moves like one-legged lunges, lateral lunges, reverse lunges and step ups.

I’m doing the Sporting Life 10K raising money for Camp Oochigeas in May. What races are you doing?

Check out our running guide for more tips on getting race ready!