Running on Treadmill vs Outside Running is one of the famous debate when it comes to workouts. The truth is there is no right or wrong answer on which one is the best. Outside running forces you to navigate through changing terrains, thus improving your stability.

But when it comes to improving endurance treadmill is the king. This is because treadmill helps you sustain specific speed and performance level, which lag in outdoor running.

So, since there is no right or wrong answer between outside running vs running on a treadmill, then we should look at their pros and cons. This is where you can define what suits you best or what you like.

Running on a Treadmill Vs Running Outside

The primary difference between these two is that treadmill running lacks wind resistance your body counters while on an outside running. This either makes it an advantage or disadvantage specifically to you as a runner, but either way, both still work well.

You can get the same workout, whether you are running outside or on a treadmill. This is a factor that depends on the perceived effort based on your heart rate working. They call it perceived exertion, meaning how “though” you consider the workouts to be.

Treadmill running:

Since indoor running lacks wind resistance and a few other factors, then what makes it so popular and admirable? –Thanks to its benefits the main thing that makes it the most prevalent cardiovascular equipment. Here are its some pros and cons of running on treadmill.

« Pros »

√ Ability to control your pace. One of the top advantages of using a treadmill is that you can manage your speed, thus improving your endurance. Outside running lacks this ability since you cannot track precisely the speed you are moving at, making it unreliable. With a treadmill, you can track your speed, distance and even push yourself further.

It is not affected by the weather. Running in hot weather means are exposed to heat exhaustion as well as dehydration risks. Similarly, outside running in any other weather brings about its inconveniences, but with a treadmill, you are safe from these risks. With a treadmill, you don’t have to worry much about what to wear, over or underdressing, sunscreens etc.

It can simulate some outdoor conditions. Treadmill comes with some features such as incline feature that can help you simulate hilly terrains. It also comes with study courses and plans to help you simulate and achieve better results.

It is more convenient. Outside running comes with some hazards that can limit your time and ability to work alone. But treadmill offers you that, meaning you’re safer with a treadmill. You can work out in the evening, at night or early in the morning without any worries.

You can multi-task. With a treadmill you can run while reading a magazine, watching TV or listening to music.

Gentle on your joints. Unlike outside workout, treadmill features a cushioned surface that is gentle to your joints. Meaning if you have knee problems, or nursing an injury, then the treadmill is an ideal choice for you.

« Cons »

You can’t simulate some things. One of the main disadvantages of a treadmill is that you can’t simulate downhill run or wind direction. This means you won’t work on your anterior tibialis muscles in front of your legs or increase resistance respectively.

It still hurts. According to the CPSC report in the US, it shows that people still get head injuries, falls, and hurt problem to people who push too hard.

It doesn’t work on your lateral agility. This is simply because you can’t make turns in a treadmill.

Gets boring. Despite allowing you to multi-task, you can still get bored after using a treadmill for a more extended period.

When should I choose treadmill running over outside running?

  • Bad weather. Weather conditions like snow or heavy rainfall can stop you from going for an outdoor run but not for a treadmill run.
  • If you are nursing an injury. As you already know, an outdoor run is a high-impact exercise when compared with a treadmill run. This means if you are in a recovery process, you should use treadmill instead of an outdoor workout.
  • When you are busy and the only time available is odd hours like evening and night hours.
  • It is recommended to take in some fluids and carbohydrates while practicing for marathon training.

Therefore, it will be impractical running with a bottle of water and gels on your hand, hence making treadmill an ideal choice.

Outdoor Running:

Despite treadmill gaining more popularity, outdoor run is still the most popular workout and liked option. And more importantly, it doesn’t matter whether you are running on a pavement, trail, or track. So, let’s have a look at its pros and cons for you to understands its benefits and disadvantages.

« Pros »

You can enjoy fresh air and nature. One popular merit of outside running is the ability to enjoy nature and breath in that fresh air while training.

No need for a gym membership and a trainer. Anyone can go for outdoor running without spending even a single dollar in gym membership and trainer. But a treadmill comes with Fit programs and trainers which cost you money; thus making it somehow unaffordable to some.

Motivates you. When you choose a particular route, you will have to complete it no matter if you are tired. This is because getting to your home depends on it hence pushing you further.

Powerful calorie burner. One great thing about outdoor running is that it burns more calories than indoor running. This is because more factors come to play, for instance, wind resistance, uphill, downhill running and many more.

Strengthens your bones. Yes, the treadmill run does it too, but the outdoor run is a more effective one. This is because it works to deliver high-impact exercise, thus improving your muscle and bone density.

« Cons »

High injury risk. Comparing treadmill running vs outside running disadvantages, then the high risk to injury is most prevalent demerit of outdoor. Knee injuries are the common injuries, then followed by lower leg, foot, and ankle injuries, respectively. This is according to a study done by University of Applied Sciences in Netherlands(Here).

More dangers. Apart from those injuries, there are other risks associated with outside running. For example, attacks, dogs, falls, cyclist and cars.

So, when should you choose outside running over treadmill running?

  • If you are preparing for a race, then you will need to go for an outdoor run more than treadmill run. This is because outside running represents the actual outdoor challenge that you will face in a race.
  • When you are bored with indoor running, and you want to spice up your workout. Remember, some of the things can’t be replicated in a treadmill; therefore, the only way to spice up your workout will be taking an outdoor run.
  • To enjoy nature more while trying a new challenge.
  • To strengthen your bones more than you’ve already done on a treadmill.

Final thought

Overall, it doesn’t matter what you choose since both offer almost similar benefits. Treadmill can be all that you need if your aim is to achieve your cardiovascular fitness goals. This is because treadmill comes with a tone of features such as pulse monitor, courses, etc. to help you. With these features, you can easily maintain your heart rate within the Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) limits while you push yourself.

Outside training, on the other hand, is a suitable choice if you are planning or training for a race. The is because of its benefits not found in treadmills. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use a treadmill for this or outdoor run for that. The point here is, you can easily incorporate a treadmill to your race training program to boost your cardio while within MHR. The other thing is, you can also choose to take an outdoor run to get rid of boredom or more.