Surviving My First Outdoor Run of the Season

I apprehensively spent the past week pondering what to blog about. On Monday it hit me, and you could say I am still feeling it. I decided to attempt and blog about my first outdoor run of the season.

Here in Toronto, Canada, we are transitioning from spring to summer. Since I have most Mondays off from work, I can usually rely on having time to train. I began my “to do” list while sipping my post-breakfast coffee. Since my list was fairly short, I decided to bump my run to the top, scheduled an hour after breakfast. After looking outside, I was at a loss to find a reason to hit the treadmill and avoid the potentially cold outdoors. I am not a fan of cold running, and usually wait until the weather has become consistently warm. The exception is when I have an upcoming race to motivate me. I spend the majority of my winter running on the treadmill, but with such a nice day I decided to break out my gear.

You probably have seen some runners that dress to the nines in the most high-tech, fashionable, and expensive gear on the market. While this may improve their confidence, I like to keep it simple. I dug through my closet and grabbed my older, outdoor runners, regular cotton socks, and running shorts. I did, however, put anti-chafe on my feet to avoid blisters. Next, I put in headphones and began playing tunes from my phone. Lastly, I stuffed my short pocket with some cash, my health card, and keys. I was now equipped with the bare essentials.

Once outside I felt a bit underdressed. There were periods of overcast and wind. I figured that since I had spent all winter running on a treadmill that I would be fine right? Wrong. My body had become accustomed to a flat treadmill surface, rather than uneven roads and sidewalks. Within my first km, I felt cold, tight, and more tired than usual. I live downtown, so thankfully some red lights provided me with occasional walking breaks, and time to stretch.

At 2.5 km, I reached the halfway point of my run. I was feeling warmer, my muscles were warmed up, and my confidence growing. Suddenly, my left knee started hurting, similar to when I injured it 3 years ago. I didn’t screech to a halt; I had experienced this pain before with some of my longer runs since recovering. I straightened up, and corrected my form. I reduced my stride and quickened my cadence. I reduced my pace and focused on my knee. The pain persisted so I decided to walk for 500 meters.

After the walking break, I gradually began running again. I finished the remainder of the 5 km without any recurrent knee pain. After I got home, I stretched, iced and rested. While enjoying a snack and a protein shake I felt satisfied. My knee was sore from the uneven terrain of running outdoors, but if I ease into running outdoors, my knee will adapt. My plan is to watch my form, gradually increase my distance, and walk when the pain persists.

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Chris

Chris

Aspiring runner, triathlete, and exercise junkie for more than a decade. Chris mostly provides technical writing for Aspiring Runner by examining evidence-informed running practices.

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