Transitioning From An Elliptical To Outdoor Running: What You Need To Know

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By Natalie Martin

It really doesn’t sound that difficult, transitioning from an elliptical to running outdoors. You would think that it would be safe and easy, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Here are three things you need to know before you leave the elliptical and start running outdoors.


It’s easy to trip

When you’re working out on an elliptical the chances of you tripping and falling are pretty slim. The pedals are designed to provide a secure platform for your feet, and there are definitely not any obstacles in your way. Unfortunately this is not true when you are jogging outdoors, and tripping over bumps, sticks and other objects is one of the most common causes of injuries in runners. You also have to worry about slipping on wet surfaces, and this is also something that is never a problem on an elliptical.


Pace is noticeably slower

A common surprise for runners switching from an elliptical to jogging outdoors is the noticeable difference in their time, and it is usually not an improvement. It is not usual for your pace to be slower, especially when you are just starting to run outside. The terrain will rarely be smooth, even on a track, unless you decide to use one that is located indoors. The weather will also affect your time. Increasing the incline on your elliptical can help to minimize this problem. When you adjust the incline it can help strengthen leg muscles and hamstrings, and this can leave you better equipped to handle some of the challenges of running outdoors without sacrificing your finishing time.


Leg muscles are sore

If you don’t take advantage of the adjustable incline and resistance that comes standard with most elliptical machines, your legs might not be able to handle long runs outdoors without building up to it. Hilly and uneven terrain will require more muscle power and strength, and if you’re not ready for it your legs will probably be sore. One way to safely make it through an outdoor run without pain is to strengthen your hamstrings, which is easy to do on an elliptical. We’re not saying that your leg muscles won’t be sore, but steadily increasing the incline and resistance will help increase strength. When your hamstrings are strong, you’ll find that your leg muscles aren’t as sore as you thought they would be.


Before you transition from an elliptical to outdoor running it is important to speak with your primary health care provider to ensure that it is safe for you.

Transitioning From An Elliptical To Outdoor Running


Runners Can Benefit From Elliptical Training


Once you have transitioned to outdoor running, there is no reason to not continue to use an elliptical. There are several advantages to incorporating both workouts in your exercise routine.

Switching back and forth from an elliptical trainer to outdoor running can help you stay motivated, and prevent daily workouts from becoming boring and repetitive. An elliptical will also allow you to get in a good cardio workout no matter the weather.

Some of the other benefits runners can get from elliptical training include,

  • Improved strength and stamina
  • Improved running form
  • Aid in recovery from some running related injuries

With the benefits runners can get from elliptical training it only makes sense to keep using one even after transitioning to jogging outside.


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