A 17 year old girl, fitness enthusiast and dedicated Olympic style weightlifter and non-competitive Irish dancer. I'm determined to live a healthy lifestyle and take care of my body whilst influencing other young people to do so. I never doubt my ability to achieve something; I just change what I'm doing until I succeed.
Back to Blog
Inhaling the fresh air as the sweet smell of nature surrounds you or smelling the pungent smell of sweat and hard work. Do you ever think about starting to run in order to improve your fitness or lose some weight? But what if you aren’t sure whether it’s best to run indoors or outdoors? Sometimes this can depend on various things and how you feel personally about both settings. Here is my guide to help you make that decision.
The benefits of running on a treadmill is that they are very easy to use which means that lots of people result to using them as there is no need to figure out miles or remember their route. A treadmill is also beneficial for people who may want to gradually increase the speed they’re running at or stay at a constant speed for a period of time. The environment surrounding most treadmills is likely to encourage people who don’t wish to be bothered whilst running and don’t mind training around other people. This can often mean that during certain times of the year, gyms can be packed with people who want to use treadmills as their main cardio activity. Treadmills are useful when the weather is rough outside which prevents you from running; this is useful for a long distance runner if they have to follow a strict and frequent training plan in order to improve their endurance. Running on a treadmill is easier than running outdoors as you aren’t faced with uneven ground or wind resistance.
Although there are positives for running on a treadmill, there are negatives too. If you are someone who feels pressured or judged easily, then perhaps training surrounded by other people may not be your thing. If you are training for a long distance race or a marathon, you will need to pace yourself and become familiar to different ground features like large hills or mud. Treadmills don’t actually teach you how to find your pace properly and because of the constant flat base, they may not be beneficial when preparing for long trail runs. If a runner constantly trains on a treadmill, when it comes to race day they could face a problem with pacing themselves and getting used to running on uneven ground. In my opinion, running on a treadmill is boring. I’ve tried it a couple of times and each time I have become discouraged and missed the outdoors atmosphere. I felt as if because there was no finish line that I could physically see, that I wasn’t performing at my best as I wasn’t pushing myself. The screens on treadmills can often distract me from concentrating and the music in a gym can sometimes alter my thoughts whilst running. I didn’t mind people being around me, but I would’ve much rather of ran alone whilst viewing various different nature sites surrounding me. I felt the movement was very repetitious and I didn’t feel as relaxed. If you choose to use a treadmill at a gym but want to train regularly, unless you make time to goto the gym you might find yourself procrastinating about running. Whereas, if you are running outdoors you don't have to drive anywhere or be as dedicated to make time around school or work.
The benefits of running outdoors are that you can decide how far you want to run by alternating your routes and you get to explore new areas. Personally, I enjoy running in the forest rather than on the pavement as I find the pavement can be uneven which can make you more prone to injuries. I enjoy figuring out how many miles I’ve ran and becoming familiar with routes I’ve been on before. Throughout the year, I continue to run outdoors no matter what the temperature is. I find the air is refreshing and I rarely see many people out, which although is disappointing I enjoy having the area all to myself. These runs I look forward to and enjoy spending time on my own which helps me to relax and de-stress. The terrific and entertaining sights of the outdoors encourages me to continue running and because of this I have found that I have ran a lot longer and further than I’ve wanted to when setting off. Another benefit of running outdoors is wind resistance, this can be good because the force of the wind pushing against you can make you work harder when feeling challenged and can help you to develop a better pace.
Some disadvantages for running outdoors is that the ground is often uneven or tricky to run on if you don’t run regularly. Although, this is what you’d be faced with when running cross country, it’s not always best to start on a surface which isn’t flat. You’re more likely to injure yourself when running outdoors and then there’s also the possibility of slipping in dog poo. Injuries can be prevented by being sensible whilst you're running, taking precautions and if you are trail running, buying the correct footwear which won’t cause shin splints. If you struggle with asthma or breathing issues, trying to stay clear of breathing in fumes from vehicles can be challenging when running on pavements.
So which is better?
If you are looking to improve your endurance but aren’t preparing for a race and you cannot run outdoors, I recommend running on the treadmill but also alternating between indoor and outdoor running. Whereas, if you are training for a race or want to have the freedom of running on your own and choosing where you run, I advise you to try outdoor running. There is no harm of running on the treadmill now and again, as you will gain the same results as if you were to run outdoors. But in order to find or develop your pace and gain a feel of the trail, it is best to run outdoors unless the weather is stopping you.