- For your first outdoor foray, pick a day (or at least a time) with weather you like. I happen to like running in the rain (though not hard rain), but you might not. If the temperature is in the upper 90s with 70% humidity, consider waiting until evening. Not everyone has the time flexibility that I do, but there's no reason to let a case of heat exhaustion sour you permanently on running.
- Also, pick a place conducive to running. It can be around your neighborhood, but if you live on a street with a 55 mph speed limit and no sidewalks (as I used to), find a park. If there's a local school with a track that's open to the public, that's ideal.
- If you're running from your house, plan a shorter route than you've been running indoors. On a treadmill, if you get tired, or start cramping, or your ankle hurts, you can just stop. If you run two miles away from your house, that's two miles you have to go back, so play it safe. There's nothing wrong with having to stop and walk, but it feels better to know you've run the whole way.
- On a treadmill or (especially) elliptical machine, your stride length is limited. Not so outdoors; try to lengthen your strides. Longer strides = done sooner!
- Watch out for traffic. They probably see you, but you are moving faster than a normal pedestrian, and that sometimes throws people off.
- Watch out for bicycles; they're looking for cars, too, and are much more likely than cars to assume traffic laws (like stop signs) don't apply to them.
- At some point, tell yourself you will run outside at least twice a week, and hold yourself to it. You can run outside more often, but don't skip it - remember, the first time you let yourself quit makes the second time that much easier. Eventually, increase the number of times you run outside, until you're only running inside when the weather is bad.
Next time, I'll be giving advice on how to play the ponies, just as soon as I find my copy of Metro.