After spending the long, cold winter months working out on treadmills and otherwise doing things other than your favorite activity—running outside—it's finally warm enough to take your workout outdoors.

But before you jump into an all-out pavement or trail binge, take a step back to avoid becoming injured, says Andrew Gerken, M.D., a foot and ankle specialist and orthopedic surgeon with Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, CA. "The best approach is a gradual strategy. Map out where you want to be over the next few months so you enjoy a nice summer. If your goal is to run a half marathon, you need to do six months of regular training before you can even think about doing a 5K." Even if you’ve kept up on your indoor workouts, running outdoors presents uneven and unforgiving terrain, wind resistance, and other challenges you don’t experience on a treadmill. So too much too soon will likely land you in the doctor's office instead of on the running trail.

To keep you on your feet instead of on the couch, Gerken (a runner himself) identified the top three injuries runners risk when the weather changes—and how to prevent them from happening.

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