running outdoors vs. treadmill

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 02, 2008 3:29 AM GMT
    I'm fairly new to this site so I'm sorry if this has been talked about already but I'm curious, what you think about running outdoors versus using a treadmill.

    Which one is better?

    Thanks.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 02, 2008 3:51 AM GMT
    i think outside running is better because you are pushing your own weight. A treadmill just pulls you along. I have ran a while on the treadmill and built my stamina up and then tried to run outside on a track or whatever and didnt do half as well cuz I had to do all the work.

    Outside is a much better workout but sometimes you need something different to break up montony or weather interuptions.
  • swimbikerun

    Posts: 2835

    Jan 02, 2008 4:15 AM GMT
    They are different and serve different purposes. I would recommend using both to achieve your goals.
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    Jan 02, 2008 5:01 AM GMT
    I was an outside runner for 4 years before I lost my treadmill virginity. I was a cross-country runner, so running in one place didn't sound too appealing. When I did start to train on a treadmill, I found that when I ran outside, I went faster than on the treadmill. I don't know why... perhaps it's mental.

    I definitely prefer to run outside though, I hate letting a machine control my pace and missing out on the fresh air/scenery.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 02, 2008 6:01 AM GMT
    "... I found that when I ran outside, I went faster than on the treadmill. I don't know why... perhaps it's mental...."

    That's interesting. I have a guess about that.

    But, first, for a new runner, it is going to be much tougher to run outside than on a treadmill. It's more than the fact that the treadmill is pulling you along. It's because even on a totally flat course outside, you are constantly adjusting to small grades, stepping up sidewalks, off sidewalks. Over a six mile run, for example, those changes in grade add up to a much more strenuous workout.

    Then, if as in your case, you are a cross-country runner, the workout is even more difficult. I run on hills and trails and that is so difficult compared to flat running, which is more difficult than treadmill running. That's why I smirk when my gym friends describe how they are running a six minute pace. Add 20% to that if you are doing exclusively treadmill running and then run outdoors.

    On the other hand, if is very difficult for an outside runner, used to uneven trails, slopes, road cants etc., to adjust their gait to a treadmill. It feels odd because it's not really running in the same sense.

    John
  • helium

    Posts: 378

    Jan 02, 2008 6:12 AM GMT
    I myself prefer to run outdoors a lot more than the treadmill. With the treadmill, you don't get that sense of movement and a constant change in scenery. I also tend to enjoy running on a track since it has some slight change but it can get boring. But that's just me. not sure how the rest of you feel about that.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 02, 2008 6:30 AM GMT
    I think it depends on what you intend to accomplish with your running. If you want to enter road races, out door running is the way to go. If you just want to get in a few miles after lifting weights then the treadmill will serve it's purpose. I personally get very bored very quickly on treadmills and I don't run nearly as long as I should because you keep going nowhere forever. Best thing to do is mix it up and see what you like better. As long as you have a proper warm up routine, you don't increase your mileage too fast (no more than by 10% weekly) and you're fitted with the right pair of shoes neither should hurt you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 02, 2008 6:41 AM GMT
    the whole notion that people have that running on a treadmill is boring as compared to running in the streets because on a treadmill your running no where is kind of silly. I dont know about any of you but when I used to run in the streets I was just running blocks. I would start at my home and end at my home so I was essentially running NO WHERE, even if you are running on paths and through woods your still not going anywhere, if your running for exercise you are running from point a to point b (which for most people is actually point a, be it a home or a car to get home) so you arent running anywhere. at least on the treadmill you can watch tv.

    as for the debate of which is better. I find the treadmill is easier on my knees
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 02, 2008 5:14 PM GMT
    chungo44 said at least on the treadmill you can watch tv.


    For me that is the best reason to not run on a treadmill.

    As for which is better? Probably the one you will consistently do. I prefer to run outside than on a treadmill and because I enjoy running outside I do it. You need to find the one you like and do it.

  • jockdreams

    Posts: 17

    Jan 02, 2008 5:19 PM GMT
    For me, running on a treadmill is better because I can truly track my distance and speed. I do run outside when it's early in Spring and Fall.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 02, 2008 5:27 PM GMT
    Running in place (treadmill) is less of a strain on my lungs, which probably equates to a less effective workout.
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    Jan 02, 2008 5:34 PM GMT
    I've hear also that running on a treadmill uses less muscles in the legs. When you're running on road or pavement or trails outside you encounter lots of small variations in the contours of the road which requires different stabilizer muscles in the leg to contract.

    So, outdoor running provides a little bit more well-rounded workout for your legs. However, tredmills are easier on the knees and joints if that is a worry.

    Happy running.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 02, 2008 5:41 PM GMT
    I prefer running on a treadmill, it is easier on the knees and at this time a year a lot warmer! Today the sidewalks in Toronto are very treacherous due to ice, last thing I would want to do is slip and hurt myself then I wouldn't be able to exercise at all.
  • BlackJock79

    Posts: 437

    Jan 02, 2008 5:44 PM GMT
    I like running on the treadmill. When I run outside I tend to start out too fast, and I'll get tired quicker. On the treadmill I can set the speed and distance I want to run as well as the incline to have a more challenging run.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 02, 2008 5:45 PM GMT
    Outside is by far the best workout, but I would suggest having a running buddy or buddies. You will have a little more peer pressure to get out there. If you are conversing, time and distance will pass quicker. You and your buds will push and encourage each other. Set yourselves some real goals(time and distance) and reach them!!!
    Get yourself the right shoes as well, right, fastprof!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 02, 2008 5:55 PM GMT
    I hate running. But outdoors does seem to be a much more effective workout.
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    Jan 02, 2008 7:10 PM GMT
    I run for exercise, rather than competitively (although I do run in the same two races every year (for 14 consecutive years to keep track of year-to-year trends). I prefer to run outdoors if the weather is decent, but I run on the treadmill at the local Y when it's cold or rainy.

    My impression is that in my situation running outdoors provides the more complete and more enjoyable exercise. More enjoyable as the trail I normally run parallels the Pacific coast and one can watch the waves and the surfers.

    More complete as running outdoors is generally in a more varied environment due to variations in running surface, changes in elevation that occur along the route, and the presence of winds. However, with a little bit more effort, some of these effects may be simulated to some degree by varying the slope of the treadmill during the course of one's run. I use a slope of 1 degree to approximately simulate the form drag of one's body through the air when running on level ground and find that I run about the same pace on a treadmill and outdoors (at the same apparent level of effort).

    Another thing lacking with running on a treadmill is the occasional encounter with someone else who is running close to your speed and who (unknowingly) can serve as a motivational rabbit. Conversely, on a treadmill you don't have to worry about when closing in on a group of walkers spread almost across the width of the trail and from some distance back you give the warning shout "coming by on your left" (or wherever there is an opening)--and then having them instinctively turn to the left (or whatever) and into the gap as they look back to see who is coming. So running outdoors can also test/challenge your reflexes.

    On the other hand, I feel that running on a treadmill is less likely to cause injury to the knees and/or ankles since the running surface is generally "softer" and--most importantly (at least in comparison with the outdoor trail I principally use)--you are not doing a lot of the running on an off-camber surface.

    But running on a treadmill can have its own unique dangers. Once I was running on a treadmill at race pace when I got a sudden cramp in one leg. I tried to jump up and simultaneously spread my legs such that each of my feet would land on the stationary narrow platform lying just outboard of the moving belt. But I missed with one foot, and as that foot touched down on the moving belt it spun me around ~180 degrees (and down) and then ejected me out the backend of the treadmill. That trip ended when my head hit the elliptical trainer that was located a couple of feet behind the treadmill (and briefly knocked me out). A little bit of blood lost (looked worse than it was as I had a white T-shirt on), but no serious damage. Anyhow--I never encountered anything comparable while running outdoors.


  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Jan 02, 2008 7:18 PM GMT
    FACT: Running on a treadmill with a 1% incline is the same as running outdoors as far as a cardio workout goes.
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    Jan 02, 2008 7:22 PM GMT
    I'd much rather be outside. After about 15 minutes on the treadmill, I feel like shooting someone. It just drives me crazy. I'd rather be outside in 10 degree F weather than on a treadmill.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 03, 2008 1:43 AM GMT
    I much prefer running outdoors for reasons of pace, terrain, scenery, and pure exhileration. Living in the midwest with its frequent turns of nasty weather has prompted me to use treadmills from time to time, but when I do I set the treadmill at a one percent grade to simulate wind resistance outside. Because treadmills vary in accuracy regarding distance, I run several minutes past my completed mileage just to be sure that I have run the distance I want. Treadmills are good if you are coming back from an injury and you can control the pace and time, but apart from very bad weather days, I run outside on various routes that I have developed and on the high school track for speedwork. Another downside from my point of view on treadmill running is that I tend to disassociate myself from monitoring my form, breathing, pace, etc and "zone out" by watching TV or just daydreaming. Outside I'm always monitoring my run. Hope this helps!
  • ep83

    Posts: 144

    Jan 03, 2008 2:11 AM GMT
    I hate running. If fact there is no exercise I enjoy less. So imagine my surprise when I found myself running regularly here in Colorado. It's still not my favorite, but between the weather and scenery I just feel guilty doing cardio inside (at least when there isn't snow everywhere).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 03, 2008 3:01 AM GMT
    Guess I'm lucky to be able to run on the levees surrounded by the Mississippi River. Never boring, as I enjoy checking out the different vessels on the water. And it's also a great place in the spring to watch shirtless guys running as well.icon_biggrin.gif There's always a nice breeze going on all the time too.

    You can keep your treadmills, guys.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 03, 2008 3:44 AM GMT
    I've never been much of a runner anyway but I prefer running outside unless the weather is just nasty. I always get the hampster in a cage feeling when on a treadmill. It really boils down to personal preference and what you're wanting to get out of it. Outdoors is a better workout especially if the terrain varies. I have a greenway close to my house which runs along a river so it's quite nice. City blocks might get almost as boring though. In any case, get yourself a very good pair of shoes and pay attention to your feet. You'll beat a pair to death in 3 months if you run on a regular basis.
  • HotCoach

    Posts: 247

    Jan 03, 2008 5:05 AM GMT
    running for 42 yrs now. Outside always better. Tread mill doesn't work the hamstrings. Go outside whenever.

    Coach
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 03, 2008 6:47 PM GMT
    tread mill is really fucking boring. and of course there's the cost.

    road -- all it cost is a pair of shoes, and hopefully a pair of shorts.

    but the road can destroy your knees and shins and feet and what not. sadly i can no longer have running as part of my exercise icon_sad.gif ACL problems icon_sad.gif