As a runner you’re going to find yourself at a crossroad. Should you work up a sweat outside or do you pay your local gym a visit and run on their treadmill for 30 minutes? This is a question that many runners face and while some may think that both are exactly the same, there are clear differences and advantages to outdoor and indoor running. So if you’re just about ready to put on your running shoes and can’t decide where to run, here are are a few benefits to both treadmill and road running that you should consider first.
In a gym, you avoid the rain, the heat or tripping over the occasional curb. One of the advantages of running on a treadmill is the fact that you’re in a controlled environment free from bad weather. Running in unpleasant conditions can affect your performance and increases the risk of injury. The treadmill is also a cushioned surface, which is more forgiving on your joints. So if you’re planning to fit in a workout when the weather or the running surface is less than appealing, try using the treadmill and run outdoors some other time.
Whether you have a sprint, 5K or even an uphill race coming up, the treadmill can help simulate the conditions required for your goal race course. A unique benefit of running on a treadmill is that it gives you the option to program the speed, distance and even the incline of your training. As an added bonus, if you can’t get to a park or a hill to do your workout, the treadmill is a wonderful substitute.
If you’ve tried running outdoors, then you’d understand that carrying a water bottle with you is quite cumbersome. It can also be difficult to rehydrate on the go while you’re focusing on not falling over. Running on a treadmill helps keep you on a rhythm that makes taking in fluids much easier for those longer running sessions. It even holds your water bottle for you!
When you run outdoors you can properly develop and maintain a pace on your own, which is better than the treadmill determining your speed. In some cases, runners, who have always stuck to indoor running and then decided to go for an outdoor run, ran much slower. Since they haven’t accounted for the wind resistance and the varying terrain, indoor only runners tend to struggle at first.
The biggest appeal to outdoor running is that you can enjoy the scenery. You’ll have an open space to look forward to rather than a treadmill timer you constantly glance at every 10 seconds. You can also see a clear distance that you have to reach rather than just choosing to stop and get off the machine. If you get bored of seeing the same thing every session, you can simply change your route and enjoy a different view. Running outside can be motivating too. Passing people in the park whenever you run gives you a slight boost of confidence and fuels that competitive spirit, allowing you to run farther and faster.
Ultimately, if you’re just starting out, you should pick a running routine that you are much more likely to enjoy and stick to. If you do decide to run on the treadmill regularly, make sure you try to vary the incline or speed to get the same benefits that you would normally get when you run outdoors. Also choosing to run outdoors doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to run indoors. You can always change up your routine and see what works best for you.