Be Totally Fit for Life!

 For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 NIV


Training for Outdoor Physical Activities

Posted on April 10, 2018 at 7:10 AM


Photo by Lee Hans at Unsplash

Special Note: Always check with your medical provider BEFORE you begin a new workout program to make sure it is safe for you.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to ride my bike outdoors. As I write you, there are snowflakes falling in April with temperatures in the 20-30’s! Yuck! Where is Spring? Hopefully, the weather will be warm soon so we can enjoy outdoor exercise. This year will be a greater challenge for me since my diagnosis of Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. I had been riding 20-25 miles with fibromyalgia before. I now experience low blood pressure and heart rate, low blood sugar, dizziness, overwhelming fatigue, and muscle aches. Before I hit the trails, I have to train indoors. My own goal is to do 10 miles at a time at the beginning. It will be important to take snacks and water with me and have my hubby watch out for me (besides, he gets exercise, too!). I use my Apple Watch activity app that has different exercise modes and Map My Run to track my heart rate, distance, calories burned, etc. These tools will help me chart my progress. I will share my progress with you on the My Journey page. Keep in mind, though, I am the Setback Queen because of my health issues. If you have chronic pain and fatigue conditions, it might help you to see what I do and how I do it (read my Special Note above!). 

For you runners, my hubby is beginning to train to run outdoors again. He suffered a back injury a couple of years ago and his knees are beginning to show signs of overuse damage from years of running. He discovered glucosamine chondriotin is a great supplement for him since he still has cartilage in his knees. He also went to an athletic shoe shop to be properly fitted with shoes that reduce the impact on his joints. He began run/walking at lunch on reasonable weather days. He layers his clothing so he regulate his body temperature. It will take some time and paying attention to his body for a day or two afterwards to gauge his run. He bought a Garmin fitness tracker watch. This one definitely looks very manly! Not all Garmins look like that though. Maybe he will be willing to share his training plan and progress. I will ask him before I post his workout progress.

What about you? Are you thinking about running a 5K, jogging, power walking, fitness walking, rollerblading, or riding your bike outdoors for exercise? Here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Practice indoors while it is too cold. I use a Cycle Ops bike trainer to prep for outdoor riding. It isn’t the same as riding on the trails, but at least I am using the same bike I will ride on the trails. Spinning classes are also a great way to train for outdoor cycling. In a similar ,manner, if you are going to run or power walk outdoors, use an indoor track more than the treadmill. The push-off from the hard surface to propel your body forward takes more energy. It also helps to prepare your body for impact. Remember, treadmills are designed to reduce shock and they move for you, so you don't push off like on the street. If your joints need protection, use the treadmill half of the time. The other should still be on the hard surface with running shoes that reduce shock. Rollerbladers can usually practice in a roller rink if the rollerblades have fresh wheels that have never been outdoors. Check with your local rink.


2. Have the proper gear for your activity and know how to use it effectively. So, if you are riding the bike trails, have your bike go through a proper tune up: Tires, gears, chain, brakes, etc. Also be sure to have proper lighting and a bell or horn. Know the rules of the trails and look over a trail map so you know where you want to ride, the surfaces, and whether or not you have to share the road in a heavy traffic zone. My hubby and I always look through the trail maps online. If you don’t live near the trail you will ride, you will need a good bike rack. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but it does need to fit your vehicle AND be able to carry the number of bikes you plan to transport. Have a bike lock and cable to protect your bike from theft if you stop at a trail rest area to use the bathroom or get something to drink. It is nice to be able to ride BACK to your vehicle after riding several miles or so. Check your helmet to make sure it is still safe. After all, your brain relies on it!

If you are running or walking, want to prepare for a 5k, replace your shoes every 6 months. Wear the right shoes for your exercise mode: running shoes for running, walking shoes for walking, cross trainers for fitness walking. Always wear athletic shoes for cycling. I don't wear cycling shoes with clips, but I wear athletic shoes with good traction so my feet don't slip off the pedals. Your shoes should fit your feet properly, be ventilated, and have the shock absorption you need to protect your joints. You can also use Nordic walking poles to add some more calorie burn to your walk. Ladies, Ryka has great shoes for every activity. If you use this code, you get 20% off your first order, and I get rewards points . What a win-win!

Rollerbladers should ALWAYS wear protective gear!!! Elbow, knee, and wrist guards and helmet are an absolute must. Check them for wear and tear. Look over the wheels and the shoe-base connection to see if anything needs repaired or replaced. Know the pathway you will be using and check it to be sure it is in good repair BEFORE you go.


3. Make a workout plan. How often do you plan to run, walk, skate, or ride? I recommend 3-5 days a week if you only have 4-6 weeks. On your cardio only days, it is easy to do more mileage (not time). On your strength days, only do half an hour to 45 minutes. Gauge your intensity and time by how your body responds. You might have to do less for the first week or two, then increase your distance each week. Looking to run 5ks? Check out and Couch to 5K.

My Cycle Ops trainer has different settings to give me more of a challenge. They also have online rides you can follow to help you mentally challenge your body. I will be riding 3 days a week for now. Using an elliptical on the other days is a good way to do closed chained cardio and prep your body for hills. You can also train in spinning classes at gyms.

4. Use tools to chart your progress. You live in a wonderful age of technology! There are so many fitness trackers on the market to help you measure, distance, heart rate, calories burned, and distance. Some of them will connect with a workout app. My hubby bought the Apple Watch for me because we can get more detailed feedback on my heart function due to my health conditions. I also can see a chart of my progress by the week and month. They are expensive, but my Fitbit died in one year. If this watch lasts me two years, it is the same cost. Garmin, Fitbit, and many other companies have great fitness trackers on the market. To compare them, check here. Track your activity, earn points to redeem for $10 at Achievemint. By following this link to sign up, we both get 100  points! What a way to get started.

5. Allow for setbacks. Not every day will be an ideal day. You might feel under the weather, suffer shin splints (here is how to prevent them), It could be too cold or rainy outdoors so you have to train indoors again, and on and on. It’s normal. Have a backup plan for setbacks.

6. Watch your weather and conditions for your activity. If you can imagine Benjamin Franklin flying his kite to discover electricity during an electrical storm, it is an obvious indoor training day! Lightning strikes are more common than you think. If you could be soaked and seriously chilled, stay indoors. Rain gear tends to make you sweat, so know that before trying to workout in the rain. The roads and trails could be very slick causing you to slip and fall. Know your wildlife! I accidently ran over the middle of a snake last year. When my hubby and I were checking bike trails in Florida, we discovered that a couple of them are heavily populated with ALLIGATORS! I think we will avoid those trails. Stock up on your sunscreen and get UVA/UVB eye protection. Skin cancer is often found on the tops of ears, back of neck, scalp at the part, and under finger nails. Eyes can sustain damage like macular degeneration and cancer. The risk of skipping this kind of protection is ridiculously high.

7. Balance your carbs and proteins to fuel your workout. Due to training by mileage and training by self-propulsion, you will burn your carbs faster. If you are on a Keto or Paleo diet, check with your doctor about how this will affect your outdoor workouts. I am a non-diet person, i.e. just eat healthy and use appropriate serving sizes and macro percentages. Our bodies are meant to burn carbs as our first source of fuel, then fats, then secondary carbs. It would be very easy to cause low blood sugar and damage your muscles without proper fueling. I always keep a snack with ½ serving simple carbs, ½ serving complex carbs, and ½ serving of protein to keep from having a sugar crash due to hypoglycemia. Keep water for proper hydration. There are some great ones with electrolytes if you are going for long distance. Know the signs of hypoglycemia and dehydration. Here are some websites with proper fueling for running and cycling:

Cool Running


Cycling Weekly

Map My Run

Proper training and planning will help your success outdoors. I will post my workout plan and progress on the My Journey page, if you want to follow me. If my hubby gives me consent to share his, I will post his on that page, too. Stay tuned. 

Do you need help figuring out your plan or have questions? Feel free comment below or ask me at [email protected] May God bless you!

Resources are all linked within this blog post.

Categories: exercise, fitness, special health conditions

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.