5 Tips for Transitioning Your Runs from Outside to the Treadmill

By December 20, 2016Jenny Hadfield Blog

Although you can run outside year round, there are days when it makes more sense to hit the treadmill because it is safer, more convenient, and a better way to get in a quality run. It’s wise to ask this question.
Transition your runs inside to the treadmill with the following tips:
  • Keep the intensity easy at first. As you transition to the treadmill, be mindful that the treadmill may feel more challenging at first due to the warmer climate. The average home or gym environment is typically 68-70 degrees which is much warmer than the cool fall weather. It helps to keep the intensity a little easier for the first week and let your body acclimate.
  • Gradually transition inside by alternating one or two shorter runs on the treadmill with a few outdoor runs for the first two weeks. This could mean that you run for 20-30 minutes and then include strength or another cross-training mode to complete the workout. This is a great way to get in a shorter run and a longer workout.
  • Treadmill running is a fantastic way to get or stay in shape, but it is different than running on the roads. Outside, you propel yourself forward. Inside, you keep up with the tread. For this reason, it’s important to make the transition gradually to allow your body time to adapt to the differences in landing patterns and muscle involved. This is also true in the spring when you start to run more outdoors.
  • Mix in some outdoor runs. If you’re looking to maintain your outdoor running fitness, simply sprinkle in a few runs outside each week. It makes it easier to transition during the fall and spring transitional seasons and keeps your workouts a little more spontaneous. You can schedule your outside runs on the weekends when you have more time and can run later in the day with the sun and warmer temps.
  • Allow yourself several weeks to adapt and slowly bring your workouts inside. Uplifting music can make the difference on those low motivation days. Make a playlist of your favorite tunes and keep the treadmill workouts shorter until you make the transition.
  • Mix in a variety of running workouts. Once you’ve adapted, mix up your workouts with hills, speed intervals and circuit workouts to keep it interesting. Some of my best workouts have happened to a the tune of a great playlist and on the treadmill in my basement.

One Comment

  • Anita says:


    So I normally run outside but I have a gym membership for the days of the week when the weather can be bad or if I need to get my workout in really early or late and it’s dark outside. Anyways, whenever I run on the treadmill my knees lock up and I lose control over my legs it’s really really weird and kills my vibe completely. I do 3 miles 6 days a week followed by strength training for 4-6 of those days and in those exercises I add knee strengthening ones and still … nothing that only fixed my runners knee but not the locking. When it locks I can’t control the landing of my legs or the turn of my ankles this is the weirdest thing I have ever experienced in running. Please help!!!

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