If we look at this world today, we can place your average runner into two basic categories. One you can consider a gym rat who spends their time running many miles on a treadmill. People who fall under this category say that its easier for them to run longer distances, maybe because they have something to distract them like a TV. On the other hand, there are people that are dedicated outdoor runners, who feel they face a bigger challenge when running on different surfaces. They enjoy the feeling that they have an end destination and that ultimately motivates them more to complete the task at hand. But then this poses a bigger, is there a benefit of running outside versus on a treadmill. This is the ultimate question that should be answered because it could possibly change how people exercise in the future.


When it comes to running on a treadmill, there are a lot of ways that it can be inaccurate when it comes to keeping track of your performance. Saying you get tired running, you can take a quick break, step off the treadmill, but the belt is going to continue to move as it thinks you’re still on. So when the end comes, it may say that you ran for two miles, but realistically you only ran for 1.90 miles because the amount of time you spent not running. In your head you feel better about your body, but in reality you haven’t performed up to the same expectations.  When your running outside on the road, if you stop running then your distance is not going to increase in anyway, so you are going to get an accurate depiction of your workout. For me personally when it comes to running, I prefer to run on a treadmill because I don’t like the conditions of outside. I know when you run outside your dealing with the elements of wind or the surface of the road, but I feethe-most-important-4l like I can get more done when running indoor. But it’s also been discovered that if you increase incline of the treadmill, it’s going to replicate outdoor conditions in regards to wind resistance.

A lot of people live in areas where they might not have access to hilly areas, which can be used to increase stamina and leg strength, so by working out on a treadmill, you are able to change the inclination of the workout as well as the speed. It allows for a lot of variety in the workout that couldn’t be possible if you were running outside. But then you can flip to the other side and say that you do have hilly areas to run, a treadmill doesn’t provide the leg work out that an outside run would. The belt of the treadmill does a lot of the work when it comes to picking your leg up after a stride, so it lightens the load on the hamstring. Running on an outside surface takes this away and puts all the emphasis on the hamstrings.

In addition, running on a treadmill can really be boring and make it harder to stay on for a longer period, compared running outside can be really enjoyable if you make use of the scenery around you. All of this is psychological more than anything, mostly because you know that there is an end goal and that gives you even more motivation to finish. You can be enjoying your run and taking in everything around you, and then time would pass much quicker than on a treadmill.


When it comes to personal opinion, although I enjoy running on a treadmill more than outside, but there seems to be more benefits of running outdoors. You get to deal with the outdoor elements that make it a little harder, but allows for a better workout. In addition, mentally it’s better for you because you aren’t always dreading when the end is going to come like on a treadmill, you know where your finish line is, making it that much better for yourself. In the big picture, switching over to outdoor running when the option is available seems to be very beneficial in many ways, and personally I might have to make a change to see if it helps.

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Treadmill vs. Running Outside: Which is Best for Runners?


1 thought on “Running on Treadmill vs. Outdoors

  1. Celine Degachi

    I don’t really like running but the beginning of your post actually got me interested. I never considered that there are two different types of runners or why there might be so that was an interesting perspective. Regardless of running being outdoors or indoors, it’s definitely good for your health. I found an interesting experiment, although done on rats, that shows that regular exercise (like running) can actually decrease anxiety and depression in rats. This made me wonder whether 1. if it makes a difference if it’s on a treadmill or outdoors and 2. whether this applies to humans, but if there’s a possibility it does, it’s definitely worth the research.


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