Saturday, July 16, 2011

Street vs Treadmill

I decided to do a similar post as the one I talked about running with and without music.  Another big division between runners seems to be running outside on a road or trail, or running on a treadmill.  While I prefer running outside more, there are benefits to both, as well as downsides.

Running on a Treadmill
I will start with the treadmill, otherwise know as the dreadmill for those who don't like it!  While I find it incredibly boring to run indoors on a treadmill, I have become more confined to it because of this grueling Texas heat.  That is what got me thinking about this post in the first place.  That brings me to my first point

Running on a treadmill helps beat the heat/avoid the cold.

In certain parts of the world it just becomes unnecessary to run outside because of weather factors.  It will only discourage us as runners and hinder our goals, unless your goal is to run in insane climates.  If that is the case, more power to you!  My second point comes more from a training stand point.

Running on a treadmill helps keep you on pace.

If you are like me at all, I tend to prefer running at whatever pace feels good, not what pace will benefit me the most.  When I run my pace runs, I am able to make sure I am maintaining a constant speed because I would have to consciously slow the treadmill down.  The third point is

Running on a treadmill allows hill training.

Where I live there are no hills.  It is completely flat.  But throwing in some hill training, although simulated, will help with my overall training balance!  So I have come to realize even though my heart lies with running on the road, the treadmill inst all that bad.

Running Outside    
I love to run outside.  I just feel so free!  Its me, my shoes and the open road.  Simplest entertainment there is in my opinion.  But as there are good things in running on the treadmill, there are good reasons to run on the road!
Running outside mentally prepares you to race.

While that is not proven scientifically as far as I know, I think it helps prepare the runner.  Running outside prior to racing outside helps take out some factors that you might not be use to when running on a treadmill (such as wind resistance).  Another good reason to run outside is 

Running outside is an adventure.

The treadmill is so predictable.  The run will almost always be the same, but running outside you have no control over what you will see/encounter.  That can be good and bad, but hey, whats life without a little adventure?  And because I did three points for the treadmill I figure I would keep it even and do just one more for outside.

Running outside will define you.

That one sounded deep, I know.  But I can't think of another sane way to push yourself and find out what your limits/breaking point are.  Its a lot harder to quit when you are miles away from your house/car and it become a difficult time.  Its interesting to see how much we as humans can put up with physically and mentally!

- Do you prefer running outside or on a treadmill? Why?



  1. While I prefer running outside, I do enjoy mixing it up every now and again on the treadmill. Mainly, I do tempo runs. Except the gym frowns upon spitting while using the machines, so I have to be careful I don't forget my manners. And falling has far worse consequences on the 'mill than outside ;)

    Come winter time, my Florida butt will most assuredly be on the treadmill more than the pavement!!

  2. It pretty much takes a blizzard to get me on the treadmill. We have a relatively cheap one, and I shouldn't speak ill of it because it was an essential help in training during my first two years of running, but it's really hard on the ankles and I can barely force myself to spend more than half an hour on it.

    It probably wouldn't hurt me to use it for tempo runs once in awhile since I'm not very cognizant of my pace. I've got "5K race pace" and "long, slow, distance" and nothing else in between. The treadmill could probably help me with that, if I would only let it.

  3. Excellent observations in this post for both. I can push my speed limits more on a treadmill- I always cover the console (leaving access to the speed button) so that I can't see how fast I'm going and I just go as fast as I can. I usually surprise myself.

    While treadmill allows for inclines, there is no way for it to simulate a decline. Running downhill in a marathon was harder on my joints than running uphill. I am still a bit shell shocked from the downhill portions of both marathons I ran last month. When I approach a hill now, I brace myself for that odd feeling pain in my knees- (that I have long recovered from)I think I almost have PTSD from down hill running! Haha.