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.



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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