Outdoor versus Treadmill

It can often be a topic of debate and uncertainty – Treadmill or Outdoors. Which of the two is better for you? As both have advantages, the answer generally depends on what you are running for. We’ll try to sum up the pros and cons of each below.

Treadmill

You won’t find a gym without one, and they take up a relatively small space for private use in the home. Why use a treadmill?

Run in bad weather

If you’re inclined to avoid that run and stay in bed when the weather turns, the treadmill relieves you of that excuse. Some people will find comfort knowing that whenever they wish to run Mother Nature won’t get in the way.

Monitor your pace

It is very convenient to be able to set your own pace AND maintain it. If you’re outdoors and not used to timing your runs you can inadvertently find yourself slowing down as fatigue sets in. A treadmill never tires. Another pacing benefit is being able to easily engage interval training – although beginner runners should focus on distance first.

Less impact on joints

Treadmills generally have a cushioned base. This absorbs the impact of running and is much easier on joints than tarmac and cement. If you are recovering from an injury or suffer from sore joints then a treadmill can help alleviate this discomfort.

Mix it up

Treadmills can be set a variety of different profiles, offering versatile workouts. This can help keep things interesting if your runs are starting to become stagnant.

Outdoor Running

Outdoor running has some key advantages that when added up will hopefully encourage at least a few outdoor runs.

Inconsistent Surfaces

The world simply isn’t as flat and squishy as ‘Treadmill Land’. If you’re training for an outdoor event it’s important to experience outdoor running as much as possible to aid coordination and balance. That way you’ll be ready for it on race day.

A touch more challenging

Unlike running on a treadmill, running outdoors requires you to propel yourself forward. This requires a greater amount of energy and you may not be totally prepared for it if race day is your first outdoor run. The same rule applies to factors such as wind resistance, although some studies do suggest increasing the treadmill incline does cancel this difference.

It’s FREE

Not much need for an explanation here. Running outdoors is less expensive than buying a treadmill or a gym membership. You LITERALLY only need to step out your front door.

Avoid the boredom

No matter how much you mix things up on a treadmill it will never compare to the scenic runs you will experience outdoors. The curse of the treadmill is falling into the habit of glancing at the clock every 30 seconds, and can be deflating when the clock hasn’t moved as far along as you might have hoped.

Train the way you want to run

If you’re training for a specific event, it’s important to adjust your training to reflect what you may experience when the real thing comes along. Sure you can program modern treadmills to reflect a race course – hills and all – but when race day comes your legs will thank you for taking them outside and giving them a taste of what’s in store.

Check out these Top Running tracks in the Moreton Bay Region for some outdoor run inspiration. 

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