Over the winter months a person gets a little cabin fever building up the miles on the track and treadmill. Needless to say the first warm day seems to scream come out and play. As a coach my job is to be the voice of reason. To put a little damper on the seemingly fun jump into outdoor training.
We spend our winter months building our distance no more than 10 percent per week and making sure every 3rd or 4th week you unload and get recovery and rebuild. This slow method of building is important to injury prevention. When you think of the surfaces we run on indoors, we have a rubberized track, and a shock absorbing treadmill. These surfaces are easy on the body, the track corners are very hard on the knees, but the surface is not that hard and unforgiving.
To begin moving your training outdoors, I recommend starting small maybe 30 minutes in length. If you slowly take your long run outdoors, do the beginning on your regular surface and finish the last 30 minutes outside your first week, then 60 the next and then some of your shorter runs, when you feel the shock and soreness you will understand why a long run outdoors all at once for someone training for a marathon could spell disaster. That hard surface will not only pound your joints and make them sore, the muscles are sore as well, the whole run outside is new to the body so give it time to adapt. By 3 to 4 weeks you should have your long run outside and avoid the possible injuries that come with running training.
If you experience foot pain during running it can become an issue you try to ignore, it is never something to ignore. It can become a chronic injury such as plantar faciitis. The key problem is running form, shoes and tightening of the achilles and calf muscles. Always take the time to stretch, get a regular massage, and when you run try sneaking up on the runner in front even if they aren't there, when you can't hear your feet, you are being nice to them.
Just a few spring tips, now if only spring would show up we could get this show on the road.