Treadmill vs Outdoor – What should you choose when running?
When it comes to running there are often debates around whether it is better to run inside on a treadmill or outside on the road or trails. Here are some great reasons for doing both:
Running on the treadmill
Great for speed sessions
Treadmills are really good for when you have specific training requirements – i..e if you are running a speed session and need to do x km per hour. You can literally program the treadmill for whatever speed you need to run at, and away you go which is very handy when working to a specific program with specific speed training requirements.
All weather training
The treadmill is a great alternative when the weather isn’t working in your favour. Whether it is torrential rain outside or a scalding heatwave – it really doesn’t matter if you are running on a treadmill indoors.
Great for the solo runner
If the only time that you can train is early in the morning or last thing at night, while it is dark – running on a treadmill is a great way to ensure that you don’t put yourself at risk by running alone in the dark. You can run at any time of the day on the treadmill without having to be conscious of where you run and keeping yourself safe.
Better when you have an injury
The treadmill can often be a much safer option if you have an injury rather than running outside risking more damage during the healing process. With a treadmill you will have a consistently flat surface to run on, whereas outside the surface on which you are running may not be as even, and the pavement may be much harder which could worsen your injury. Although on the flip side, it is good to ensure that your sessions on the treadmill are mixed up to ensure you don’t fall prey to further injuries from just pounding away on the treadmill, session after session.
An easier run
A lot of people say that running on the treadmill can be easier, as you can choose to keep the treadmill completely flat, making it a whole lot easier to regulate your speed as well as the overall difficulty of the run. In doing this, you are much more likely to use up a lot less energy on a treadmill, especially if you set the machine for running completely flat with no inclines in the program. In addition, the great thing about the treadmill is that you don’t physically go anywhere. So, if you are running late at night or just run out of steam, you don’t have to travel all the way back from anywhere to get home!
Change of scenery and route
Running on the treadmill can be very boring, seeing the same view time after time and not physically getting anywhere. Running outside is great, therefore for alleviating boredom and mixing things up with your running routes, it is often good change your routes, add hills and more variation to your terrain i.e. roads, trails.
The biggest advantage of running outside compared to inside on a treadmill is that unless you own your own treadmill, it means that you save money on costly gym membership fees. You can literally put on your running gear, step outside the door and go!
More realistic training conditions for a race
The treadmill can often seem easier than running outside, and if you are training for something in particular it can often be better to run outside to get used to the conditions that you will be running in rather than running on a treadmill where it isn’t always an accurate reflection of true racing conditions.
So to summarize, there are advantages to both running inside and outside depending on your physical circumstances, distance running and overall motivation. Why not try both!
Great way to exercise your dog!
If you have a dog that needs regular walking then running is a great way to multi task and to run as well as exercise your dog at the same time. Running with your dog can be fun and challenging especially if your dog is strong and likes to take you for a run instead of vice versa! Do remember to check whether your dog is suited to running medium to long distances if you plan to run for a while as not all dogs are.