Thursday, January 6, 2011

Running on a treadmill vs. outside

                Whether you run on a treadmill or run outside to train for 5k, you can achieve the overall health benefits of running.  Some people prefer to run inside on a treadmill, so they are protected from nasty weather conditions.  Others other enjoy running outside, for a healthy dose of vitamin D and fresh air.  I can see the benefits of both methods, and there is an ongoing debate about which is the "best" way to train for 5k.  There are advantages to both.
The advantages of using a treadmill, include:
1.            You can control the incline and your pace, easier than you could outside.
2.            Weather conditions are irrelevant.   You can run rain or shine. 
3.            The treadmill provides more shock absorption and cushion than the hard pavement.
4.            You can track how many calories you have burned, your distance, and your heart rate.
5.            Treadmill allow for no excuses such as, "It's raining" or "I don't have a babysitter."

The advantages of running outside include:
1.            Terrain is like the terrain you will experience in an actual race.
2.            Fresh air.
3.            Fighting the terrain and the wind resistance will cause you to burn a few more calories.  
4.            The scenery is more interesting than your wall.
5.            It is free.
6.            You use more of your own energy. 

                I prefer running on a treadmill, while I train for 5k.  I live in a part of the country, where we actually get a real winter.  In fact, it is snowing outside, right now.  If I did not have a treadmill, the snow would be a perfect excuse for me to skip my daily run.  However, since I use a treadmill, that excuse will not work.  I also like a treadmill, because I can run in my house, while my kids play.  I do not have to wait, until their father gets home from work or until I can find a babysitter.  Although I fully understand the benefits of running outside, at this stage in my life, a treadmill is definitely more convenient.    

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