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Is Running Outside Better than Running on the Treadmill?

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Your first thought might be yes because it mimics what an actual race would be like; however, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. It is best to enjoy both worlds.

The advantages of the treadmill:

  •   You can run on it in most weather (i.e., no excuses)
  •   The environment is controlled by you – speed and incline making it great for speed interval work
  •   It helps you get used to certain paces so you can reach your next race goal
  •   If you have no access to hills – it has built in hill repeats controlled by you
  •   It is a bit easier on your joints due to the cushioned belt and support

The advantages of running outside:

  •   Mimics an actual race experience in all types of weather conditions which is beneficial to develop the right mindset, practice with different types of gear and prepare you for whatever happens on race day
  •   Builds stronger legs as you are not just running in a straight line and there is no belt support
  •   Your natural gait cycle is easier to maintain outside as the treadmill can cause you to shorten your stride to much to keep up with the belt
  •   Running on a stiffer surface actually reinforces your bones as these surfaces provide more ground reaction forces
  •   Hill running and long runs are more authentic outdoors compared to the manual settings of incline and decline on a treadmill or the controlled run for hours where you tell your legs what speed they will run versus your legs telling you

The bottom line is it is best to build into your schedule a few treadmill runs and few outdoor runs each week. Mix it up and gain the advantages of both indoor and outdoor running.

Check out www.itsyourjourneytraining.com and join my facebook group: Focused on Fitness. I help amateur endurance athletes gain fitness naturally so they can be faster, enjoy their sport and be confident on race day! Coach Lisa

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