Running On Treadmill vs Outside: Which Is Right For You?
Many people have personal preferences about where they like to run. What are the benefits of running on the treadmill versus outside? Is one way better than the other? Both sides have some pros and cons but I like to think we should at least be practicing with the intention to be able to run outside, even if it's just in an emergency!
Here is a quick guide to the differences between running outdoors vs. on the treadmill and with some tips on how to make your treadmill workout more effective and interesting.
Modern-day treadmills are highly customizable. You can adjust them to provide very similar conditions to running outside. Furthermore, unlike running outside - you don't have to stop for traffic or change your route when a trail is closed!
You can increase the incline of the treadmill to compensate for external factors such as wind or terrain changes that outside runners encounter. Some treadmills even over a slight decline function!
While outdoor running has a lot to offer, there are also reasons to opt for a treadmill workout. Treadmill running is beneficial because:
The weather can’t stop you. You can choose from different programs and track your progress. Being able to closely monitor your output enables you to more accurately control your training effect.
How to get a great treadmill workout
When using the treadmill, here’s how to ensure you get a quality workout:
Set the incline to at least 1%. This helps to mimic the conditions outdoors. Make treadmills your speed-training tool. Think of treadmills as a convenient way to focus on speed training intervals. Experiment with the preset options or try out different speeds and inclines. Above all, challenge yourself.
You can go anywhere
Some people find it enjoyable to be somewhere—to see new things and meet people. This can be an advantage for you if you run outside. You can even get somewhere and perform chores while running. Running outside gives you the chance to get a healthy dose of the sunshine and fresh air, as well. You get to enjoy nature, the weather, the season and even the scenery.
You finish the routine
Compared to running on a treadmill, you can’t easily decide to stop running when you run outside. For one, running takes you somewhere. You can’t just choose to stop. You need to go back and in doing so, you’re forced to continue running.
It keeps you motivated
A sense of accomplishment naturally motivates humans. Running on a treadmill does not give you the same satisfaction from running 5 km than running the same distance outside. Running outside allows you to experience how it is to run such a distance. This is motivating for some.
You can also take a different route or go somewhere else every day with your running. This keeps the excitement going. You get to see new things and experience something new every day.
The bottom line
What people usually want from a run is to train towards a goal, to burn off some of last-nights Pizza, or just to get a sweat on. As a Trainer who always thinks about the real-life applications, I would always argue we need to keep our ability to run. And we all know, if we don't use it - we lose it.
Hardcore runners aside - Running outside is more likely to be done in the summertime especially in this part of the world. If you are just looking for a quick jog, then the treadmill may often be a better choice. However, if you know me you'll know I say "there's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong gear".
As for which is the better choice, that is up to you. The most important aspect is that you get the correct amount of exercise for the day. Each person has different needs and restrictions while running to feel comfortable.
Remember, what is good for one person may not be great for another! If you want more information on running programs or a safe return to a running program, hit us up. We're always happy to help!