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Do you Run on a Treadmill or Outdoors?

I run about 3 miles, 3 times a week.  I enjoy it, but there is definitely a mental ramp up and inner pep-rally that goes on prior to my initiating my run.  Part of this ritual includes the question: “Do I run inside or out?” Most of my impending decision is predicated purely on mood…bits of it might be dependent on weather.  Regardless, there are definite pros and cons to both.  I have to believe that a lot of others go through this same internal interrogation, so I thought I’d lay out my personal ‘analysis’.

  1. Indoors on a Treadmill:
    • Pros:
      • Physically Easier. The treadmill belt pulls your feet back underneath your body, requiring less Energy to propel yourself forward.  This also means you may not be exercising to your full capacity, keeping your Heart Rate lower than it could be.
      • Climate and Safety Control. Don’t have to brave the elements, or for that matter kids, dogs, bicyclists or rollerbladers.
      • Lower Impact. It is easier on my joints compared to outside.
      • Progress Tracking. I enjoy tracking my progress and pushing myself harder while on the treadmill. I can easily do circuit training, by understanding just how fast or how slow I’m going.
      • Two Birds w/ One Stone. I get to catch up on the news while exercising.
    • Cons:
      • Wimpy Workout. Because the treadmill is easier, I may not get as much out of my workout.
      • Boring. No change in scenery to distract you from what you are doing.
  2. Running Outside:
    • Pros:
      • It is Green. Yep…no energy other than your own is required to get you moving…making it an eco-friendly workout.
      • ‘No-excuses’ Workout. You can’t stop early (you have to get back to where you started from) and you have to work hard.
      • Distractions Galore. There are lots of things to distract you: people watching, scenery, etc.
      • Fresh Air. You get some out and about, fresh O2.
    • Cons:
      • It wares at your joints. Yes, I’m starting to get old…
      • Obstacles. It is more likely that I will have a collision with another animate or moving object, as compared to running indoors.
      • Braving the Elements. Unpredictable hail, tornadoes, and even UV Indexes can take a toll.

Now all of this said, I actually think alternating between BOTH are good.  You use different sets of muscles when you run inside as compared to when you run outside.  As a result, you are diversifying your workouts, maximizing your results!

Do you prefer in or out?

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Posted in Brett's Blog, Fitness Tagged with: , ,
  • I definetly prefer to run outdoors, but living in Fresno, Ca we have very hot summers (today is 106F) which somedays force me to run on a treadmill. In order to keep my treadmill workouts efficient and fun, I like to ramp up and down the elevation, or do sprint intervals.

  • BigBan

    Oh, Thanks! Really interesting. Big ups!

  • I prefer running and on treadmills as while I training for footy I went from having absolutly no fitness to being able to run 3km in twelve minutes in a matter of months just from running on a treadmill for 5 or 6 km. I was able to progress every run wheather it was increased time, distance or intensity its easy to track your progress on a treadmill.

  • Jordan

    I love to be outside whenever I can it just feels different. I live in Florida on the water so my route is very scenic and it makes my workout so much more fun. I love strapping on my Ipod and going to town just blocking everything out. I have a treadmill as well but I really feel as though I push myself so much harder outside.

  • Marc

    outdoors. NO question about it. Just ran 10 miles. I would be bored to tears doing that indoors watching CNN. I do this all year round. The fresh air and changing scenery keeps me going.

  • Nice blog you have here. I pretty much lurk the internet when I’m bored and read all I can about the organic lifestyle, but I really liked you view on things. I’ll bookmark the site and subscribe to the feed!

  • tomicsku

    Not a choice in Florida. It is hot outside. Treadmill is the only way.

  • 52andfeelingyoung

    I prefer the fresh air, so I mostly exercise outdoors. When I go to the gym I do run on the treadmill.

  • Running on Trademill is preferable as Pollution is more outdore.

  • Ali

    Well, i would like to run outdoor too but im living in Dubai (freakin hot in summers) just 2-3 months in a year weather is suitable for outdoor.
    recently started practicing on treadmills and my goal is to achieve 3km in less than 13 minutes, im 23y, 190cm & 87kg in general not that unfit but i will struggle to breath after 2km’s …
    have to stop smoking and practice more,,
    last night i done 2.5 km in 15 minutes

  • Definitely outdoors is the best you get fresh air Man from origin is outdoors most of the time. Running on a treadmill is nice too but you have to be really motivated to keep a routine going. Inhaling the same air is not good it’s important to have some type of circulation going .

  • Ben

    I run outside almost exclusively. If the idea of tracking progress by using a treadmill keeps you inside, I recommend getting a GPS watch. I must admit, I’m somewhat addicted to the GPS and haven’t run without it in years.
    The beauty of it is, that no matter what route I take, I know how far and how fast I’ve been running. I used to be restricted to 4 or 5 routes near roads where I knew the distance having measured it with the odometer in my car.
    Now, when I’m out and I want to check out a side street or an unknown “short cut” I just go for it, and my GPS dutifully reports how far I’ve been. Plus, when traveling, I can just go exploring and I’ll know how much exercise I’ve gotten. Plus, the watch itself keeps a record of all my runs, so I can download maps and data (including heart rate, but I rarely use the monitor).

  • erin

    i lOVE running outdoors! theres nothing like running up hills when the sun is setting 🙂 i recently injured my knee and need theraphy,i went from running everyday to not being able to walk for more then 15 min..
    my first year trying out cross country is season is shot… 🙁 run while you can!

  • erin

    i meant i need sugury not theraphy.