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Treadmill Running vs. Outdoor Running

Updated on November 20, 2013

It has always been a hot-topic issue: treadmill running vs. outdoor running. There are legitimate arguments for either side, which will be explained in the following article.

Reasons for Choosing to Run on a Treadmill

Convenience: you never have to leave the house unless you chose to join a health gym and therefore will drive there. You also can wear the same clothes and not have to worry about the weather.

Battling the elements: Sometimes, if the weather is too poor for outdoor running (in my eyes there is no such thing), the treadmill runner takes the advantage.

Multitasking: Most people who run on the treadmill, either at home or at a gym, watch television or listen to news. This is certainly nice. Just be sure the television is directly in front of you, or you will be forced to turn your head to see and will eventually catch an edge and fall.

There is not stopping at intersections: if you are a road runner, the worst possible occurrence is being forces to stop at a red light and wait to cross the street (I guess being hit by the car might be worse!). There is no stopping for cars on a treadmill.

The most important reason to choose treadmill running vs. outdoor running is pacing and information given. On a treadmill, you can control exactly how fast you go, what your current heart rate is (if the treadmill is new enough), how many miles you have ran, the calories burned, and, of course, time spent running. Although the heart rate is not completely accurate, it is a great tool for working out under specific heart rate conditions. More on that in this article.

Reasons for Choosing to Run Outdoors

Incline and hill work: Although treadmills these days all have an incline option (usually up to ten degrees), it is not the same as running up a real hill. Running down a hill is also important. It is a method of controlling your legs and gaining speed quickly. Also, hill workouts are extremely useful tools for strength training. More on that in this article.

Weather: a downfall to running outdoors can be the weather. If the weather conditions are too poor to run, it may be difficult to put in a substantial workout for that day. However, when preparing for an outdoor race, it is important to run in the current weather conditions as race day. Running indoors on the treadmill does not offer this.

Safety.: If you get extremely tired outdoors, you can always stop and relax a moment. If you get extremely tired on the treadmill, there is the safety plug and the stop button to press. However, when runners become tired, they tend to be inconsistent with strides and sway back and forth. There is no leeway to do this on a treadmill. Just be careful!


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