Do you know the differences between running on a treadmill and on the road? Which is better and why
One thing for sure is that, whether on a treadmill or on the road, running is one of the best activities we can do for our health and weight control.
- 1 Starting to Run
- 2 Benefits of Running
- 3 Running for the Advanced
- 4 Is Running on a Treadmill the Same as Running Outside?
- 5 Benefits of Running on a Treadmill
- 6 Benefits of Running on the Road
- 7 When Would I Prefer to Run on a Treadmill than on the Road?
- 8 Which is Better, Running on a Treadmill or Running on the Road?
- 9 Music for Running on the Treadmill
- 10 Hydration for Runners
- 11 Related Entries
Starting to Run
If you’ve finally decided to get in shape you’ll know that it’s going to have a big impact on your life, and, of course, for the better. It’s a relatively ‘easy’ activity to take up, with only two things that need to be considered: sportswear (including appropriate shoes) and timing (on waking up, before eating, after work…).
Benefits of Running
Aerobic activity is a must for guaranteeing cardiovascular health
Even if your training is focussed on strength exercises, I don’t think you should ever skip over sports. And we explain why here.
- It improves heart health, reducing blood pressure as arteries and capillary vessels can expand and contract more effectively (increases their elasticity)
- It increases the anaerobic threshold, as long as we direct the training to this function, so that our VO2 MAX increases (how effective we are using oxygen, and the higher the threshold, the better the performance)
- Helps with weight loss, being an aerobic activity, which is mainly supported by energy coming from stored fatty acids
- Releases endorphins and improves mood
- It can contribute to improved the recovery (active recovery), accelerating the excretion of waste products generated by more intense activities in previous sessions (for this we can run about 30-35min at a low cardiac intensity, less than 70%)
Running for the Advanced
As you progress with running, the level you demand of yourself will increase too, and you’ll start looking for new training strategies, or, if you’re able to, above all mentally, with correct planning and preparation, you’ll start thinking about running a race, like your first half marathon (and later on, when you gain experience, you’ll be able to set yourself even greater challenges still…).
Running outside gives you the option of sharing the “experience”
Is Running on a Treadmill the Same as Running Outside?
There are quite a few differences, despite them being the same activity, with a number of different factors at play.
The surface we’re running on isn’t the same
While the tarmac or any outdoor terrain slows us down, due to the friction, on the treadmill we “move”. However, as some research indicates, the energy cost between one activity and another is similar if we add a 1% slope to the treadmill.
Running on the treadmill, given the environment it takes place it, can sometimes result in inertia, meaning our attention moves from the activity itself to other things and puts us into ‘Auto-Pilot’.
If it’s raining, if it’s cold, if it’s windy… these are enough motive for a lot of people «to give it up for the day».
But if we run indoors, we don’t have to worry about this
Running on the treadmill is often easier
The mere fact of avoiding air resistance already conditions us to be able to increase the time or intensity of the run, as it’s an extra expense that our leg muscles must overcome.
Benefits of Running on a Treadmill
Running on a treadmill offers a number of possible benefits with respect to outdoor activity, such as controlling exercise conditions:
Heart rate control
We can constantly monitor our pulses by means of a simple visual display to keep them within the intensity “zone” we’ve planned. Before starting a physical activity, to evaluate our health conditions, or to directly check the result of an intensity test, it’s an excellent tool.
The rain, temperature and wind are all external factors that we can’t control and that affect us in our runs
If your goal is to maintain your physical condition, I’d maybe go for a run on a treadmill. Although some people really don’t mind getting «drenched». I don’t know if any of you have ever run against the wind, but for me it’s one of the most uncomfortable sensations… And in relation to the temperature, there are different types: very cold or very hot…
But we can still maintain our metabolic training if we can’t go outdoors
If we live in an area where there are too many slopes, and we don’t want to take the car to go to another area with a stable level, then running on the treadmill might be be the best solution
On the other hand, training in the open air is associated with high intensity activity, as unless we climb several hills, both heart rate and fatigue would skyrocket and the duration of the activity might be much shorter.
Training on slopes to increase power
Although we’re always aware of all our angles, it wouldn’t be the first time we get a scare from an oversight
And running around with headphones on, listening to music, can further increase this risk. Running down a street and twisting your ankle or more seriously being run over by any vehicle are the most frequent cases.
Benefits of Running on the Road
However, running in the street or outdoors has its attractions:
Sense of Freedom
I think this is one of the main factors for choosing to run outside
There are many people who suffer a certain amount of stress if they run on a treadmill and can only watch a TV screen or simply walls or lights, although in the best case scenario you’ll be able to see the street through the window. On the other hand, if we run on the street, we feel the air on our face, we breathe more pure air, not as “concentrated” as in the gym, and we have the option of switching up our route as we wish (avoiding the “hamster wheel”).
Each training day can be different
If we look for a path to follow, we can turn it into a competition against ourselves, trying to improve our time. Although this is easily practicable on the treadmill, outdoors it takes on a special dimension, as we have to face the “obstacles” that arise, which results in a much more fun and enjoyable sporting session.
Although the treadmill let’s you vary the speed, it will never be the same as making a change of pace or sprinting while running on the road
If we plan a “Fartlek” training, although it is possible to do it in both scenarios, it will always be much easier, more comfortable and dynamic outdoors version than by pressing some button, and of course changing from recovery mode to fast mode…
Running by observing nature can effectively “oxygenate” you
When Would I Prefer to Run on a Treadmill than on the Road?
When trying to save time
If we live in an urban environment, we’ll have little opportunity to run on the street
Dodging cars, pedestrians and any other objects that are part of this environment is not, I think, the most sensible thing to do. If the solution is to take our vehicle, or “jog” out of this environment, and be able to run freely, it can mean extra time, which, given the busy pace of life, becomes complicated.
To avoid not training
On the other hand, if we get up and do our morning cardio exercise session on a treadmill just before breakfast, and then calmly eat breakfast and go to work, it will be a great way to start the day with vitality and energy, and with the “duty” done.
Having your own treadmill at home has its benefits
If you’re a fan of intervallic training, where high intensity rhythms are interspersed with other lower or recovery rhythms, the treadmill can be a great tool, above all at the end of your weight training sessions.
Which is Better, Running on a Treadmill or Running on the Road?
From my point of view, it depends
Generally I would prefer, whenever possible, to run in the open air, but in certain cases and at certain times it may be more feasible to take advantage of the resources offered by the Treadmill. Obviously, if our goal is to compete or prepare a race, the use of the Treadmill would be for specific cases only, leaving the bulk of the work to training both outdoors and on the track…
How to know the best Speed for Running with a Treadmill Incline?
Music for Running on the Treadmill
One of the somewhat unfavourable points of running on the treadmill, in my opinion, is the noise
The mixture between the sound of the music in the gym (which is sometimes not to the taste of many clients…) together with the shouts of the most “motivated” in the weights, or the “chatting” of many others, can result in lowering tremendously the motivation…
So my advice is that you put on your headphones (bluetooth if possible, to avoid the hassle of wires), and use one of the “PlayLists” that exist, or even create your own with your favourite style and songs.
Here’s an example:
Hydration for Runners
Whether you choose to run on a treadmill or outdoors, or if you alternate them both, you should know that running is a strenuous activity, and we lose liquids and mineral salts as a result
And depending on the weather or the intensity of the exercise, we need to assess our hydration levels in order to avoid major problems, whether that be in the form of injuries or, more seriously, heat stroke.
Do you know the differences between isotonic, hypotonic and hypertonic drinks?
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- Sports Supplements for Runners
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