Treadmills in a gym

The Pros and Cons of Running On A Treadmill

To be or not to be. To run outside or to run on the treadmill. This comes down to personal preference, but there are pros and cons to both. If your torn between taking to the gym or hitting the streets, this may help you decide.  

Running on a treadmill is easier on your joints, which can be preferable if you’re recovering from an injury. Treadmills are designed to absorb reaction forces, so will lessen the impact. However, you’ll build up more muscle when running outside as the treadmill belt is not assisting with leg turnover.

The treadmill gives you the potential to multitask while you run, you can listen to a podcast or catch up on your favourite show. Though, it can get pretty monotonous. Running outdoors gives you the option to switch up your route, explore your surroundings and appreciate nature. Plus, it can be a chance to get your daily dose of Vitamin D.

Weather has a large role to play in the treadmill vs road running debate. Weather conditions can be restrictive and disruptive to your training plan, so it may be necessary to combine the two. However, if you don’t have a treadmill at home, travelling to the gym can take up a lot of precious time. To run outdoors all you have to do is step outside your home, and it’s free!

The treadmill can be a great way to practice speed work as you have greater control over the speed and incline. However, trail running provides greater opportunities for improvement, as not only is the terrain changing but you’ll be aware of coordinating your way around trees and other obstacles that may appear in your way. If you need to track your pace it’s worth investing in an activity tracker as that way you have more freedom over the location of your run whilst monitoring your progress.

When training for a race, it’s worth mixing up your sessions, as running outside is very different to running on a treadmill. Plus, it prepares you for elements out of your control, like changing weather conditions, terrain, or even other runners! Running outdoors also offers a social element to training, whether it be a friendly nod to another pavement pounder or becoming a part of a running club.


Up next, why your running shoes matter.

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