Q I have started running but so far have only trained at the gym on a treadmill. Can you offer some advice on starting to run outside?
Running in the great outdoors is what running is all about: open spaces, fresh air and changing scenery. The miles will fly by but it's worth taking a little time to plan before you head out.
Plan your route and aim to run no further than you would on the treadmill. The constantly changing terrain can be a challenge so if you have never run on gradients on the treadmill, stick to flatter routes initially. You could use a loop close to home or the gym to build confidence.
Make sure other people know where you are running and find company for some of your runs. Your gym may have a running group and local running clubs usually have a beginners' group. We were all beginners once and runners are usually keen to help others. Perhaps record your average pace, time and distance on the treadmill and let your new running partner or club know exactly what your current capabilities are so that you feel reassured you'll be able to keep up before you run.
Then go for it. The local parks, trails and off-road routes will provide the greatest adventure. Make sure your shoes are appropriate, and wear bright and light running kit. Stick to pavements where you can and, when on the road, pick quiet roads and run towards the oncoming traffic as per the highway code. Never assume vehicles have seen you. Carry your mobile phone for safety reasons and if you are going to be out for a while, take water or a sports drink.
Let your training progress gradually and keep repeating to yourself the words patience, planning and progression. They work well together, but drop one and you could come unstuck. Set yourself a race goal and as your fitness and confidence build, add some hills or pick up the pace.
Nick Anderson, British Cross-country team coach