Treadmill Running V Road Running

Treadmill running is something I’ve recently been thinking of getting into. I enjoy running outside, I love the fresh air and scenery and so treadmill running isn’t something that I’ve considered before now.

After having a few debates with different people on the subject of treadmill running, both at my running club and at work, I can now at last see some of the benefits of treadmill running.

Phil, founder of Sorelimbs is a keen treadmill runner and uses it to compliment road running. And using in conjunction I can see that I can have benefits. He has the advantage of having his own treadmill, unlike myself, although perhaps his view from the treadmill isn’t the most scenic in the world. Phil refers to his treadmill location as – the worst place in the world to run! His garage does look a little on the cramped side but I’m sure there are worse places.

I think it’s ok to say that treadmill running has its advantages – but what if we were to suggest that treadmill running was better than road running??

At work the other day this is the exact thing I was debating with a colleague.  This did make some of the benefits of treadmill running clearer to me; however I don’t think I’ll ever be converted totally! (I won the debate!)

There are so many positives to road running that I don’t think treadmill running could ever live up to  the great outdoors. However, looking at it from both sides, treadmill running has a lot more to offer than first imagined.

One of the main benefits of running outside is the fresh air. We spend so much time inside, cramped in offices and tied to our desks, and so it’s just great to get out into the fresh air. Fresh air is important because it actually aids digestion, improves blood pressure and heart rate as well as being great for your immune system. All of which you don’t get from your treadmill – unless it is parked in the garden that is.

Another benefit of running outside is the infinite number of different routes you can discover. Websites such as Map my Run have made finding different routes to run even easier.

Let’s not forget running as a means to getting from A to B. By running to work, you’re not only keeping fit but it’s Free! You know what they say about people from Yorkshire! Born and bred a Yorkshire girl it’s instilled in me to love free things!

In fact running outside means more calories are burnt! I don’t really run for weight loss but it’s an added benefit. Professionals say that running outside burns more calories because you’re combating wind resistance and different terrains. Treadmill running has a rearward motion, the belt assists whilst running and so it actually makes it ‘easier’ to run.

So all in all – road running or running outside seems very good in terms of it’s benefits. Now let’s take a look at treadmill running.

One of the main benefits of treadmill running is its perfect, come rain or shine. If it’s raining, snowing, hailing, stormy, too hot or too cold (the latter being an excuse for most in winter) – treadmill running is a great alternative.

Another benefit of treadmill running is its different run settings. By selecting different settings such as manual, hill, fat burning or cardiovascular you’re able to mix up you’re training quite easily without having to find a hill or flat stretch outside for example. Having these settings also enables you to keep at a specific pace allowing you to control your training.

The other day, I had a discussion with a lady I train with from my running club. She was telling me how she uses the treadmill to do short blasts of high intensity running. She also uses the treadmill to compliment her road running, particularly for speed work.

Finally, one huge advantage is that treadmill running doesn’t take as much toll on your joints as road running does. Hip, knee and back injuries are all common with runners, but less so for those that use a treadmill.

For me, nothing beats the great outdoors and the fresh air you get whilst running outside. But I can see why many people also use the treadmill as part of their training.

One day – I may invest in my own treadmill, and like Phil, use it to aid my training, but for now, I’ll be sticking to the great outdoors.

This blog post was by Catherine from Run to be Happy.  An amateur Athlete, 9-5er in the week, and a competitive runner at the weekends. I write to share my running experiences and stimulate debate on training and running philosophies