Read this before you lace up your Nikes because every man needs to know how to run the right way for increased performance and faster times. A strict regimen of treadmill running won’t sustain the endurance you built up in summer. You can’t help but lose a step—literally. When you’re running on a treadmill, the belt pulls your legs along. Because you don’t need to drive your legs back or raise your knees high to propel yourself forward, as you do running on ground. This means the muscles in your lower body can lose range of motion. This muscle tightness sets you up for injury and reduces performance. Don’t be surprised if you could do a six-minute mile on the treadmill and then you run an eight outdoors. So, here’s how to level the odds so you’re always running strong.

Be flexible

The road to optimal running health begins with mobility. This means you should be using a foam roller or tennis ball to work out the knots in your glutes, hips, hamstrings, and lower legs. Before and after any run, roll your muscles on the foam and hold any tender spots until you feel them begin to release. Static stretching for the hips, hamstrings, and calves can also be done pre- and post-workout. Perform three stretches for 30 seconds on each side. Enhancing mobility will help with any pain and prevent injury in the future.

Get heeled

Proper footwear is your next priority. While the minimalistic running shoe craze is still going strong, beware about joining.  You need something that offers stability. If you plan to run on the road you should opt for a road shoe, which offers cushioning to protect your joints from impact but is still lightweight with minimal treads to promote speed. On the other hand, if your runs will take you onto rougher terrain, get a trail shoe, which is heavier but offers more tread and cushioning to protect against uneven surfaces. The newest trend in trail shoes is maximalist models, but this is like  running on pillows. If you have pre-existing knee or foot pain, or just want the peace of mind that comes with increased support, maximalist shoes are a smart option.

Load distance the right way

Failing to allow your body to adapt and recover from to the stress of outdoor running can result in joint and muscle injuries, so you must ease back into it. Go for time. Find a loop in your neighborhood and run for 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re halfway from home when your 20 minutes are up, walk the rest. Then assess how your body feels. The following week, go for 20 to 25 minutes, then 25 to 30, and so on. Try taking your first workout of the week outdoors. Then alternating between the ground and the treadmill. Go with a 1-to-3 trail-to-treadmill ratio the first week, then go 1-to-1. Repeat 1-to-1 the third week, and the fourth week can be three times outside and one time inside. You want to give your muscles and joints time to adapt to the pounding so you can keep breaking down your barriers.