As you may have seen I have recently taken up running again. Beginning with the Couch to 5k app which I am loving by the way. You can find out more about why I chose to use this app here: Running: Couch to 5k.

I always used to run outside, finding the treadmill fairly boring, but recently I have started to see the benefits. For convenience I completed one of the runs this week outside. It bought back my love for outdoor running despite the freezing temperatures but it also got me thinking. Which is better? Or actually which do I prefer!

For me treadmill running can be boring, the same pace and> the same view quickly gets monotonous. But it is hughly convenient. I work in a gym and> have access to lots of treadmills and> breaks between clients to fill.  Also I don’t live in a very picturesque area so no beautiful views for me to enjoy. The gym protects me from the cold weather and> the wind, although I do have some great winter running gear I hate the cold.  I don’t tend to run early morning or evenings so the dark isn’t an issue but it could be and> again being in a well lit gym feels safer that being out on a dark street.

So if like me you are more of a fairweather runner are there other benefits to running on a treadmill?

Well yes and> one of the main ones for me recently has been the ease of monitoring pace and> progress.  Doing the Couch to 5k has meant I am not quite so focused on distance at the moment.  I am wanting to increase my stamina and> endurance so I can run for longer. As I know I have the ability to run 5km. I used to run this distance regulalry so I am more focused on my pace. The treadmill allows me to pick a pace for the running sections and> stick to it.  When running outdoors it is easy to subconsciously adjust pace, slowing down due to fatigue or a small incline.  You have to consciously reduce the speed on a treadmill.

There is also evidence that running on a treadmill puts less impact on your joints so that may be something to consider.  If you are recovering from injury or you run outdoors a lot then consider using the treadmill for some of your runs. It may help reduce the risk of injury.

What about running outdoors then? Are there reasons to try and> get outside more?

Definitely.  Running outdoors is actually slightly more challenging. Outside we are subject to the elements.  Wind becomes a factor for example. And as the real world isn’t flat, we have to conquer slight inclines, and> declines in the road. The rearward motion of the treadmill can also help with rhythm so running outside becomes more difficult as you have to drive your weight forward.

Running outdoors is totally free so if you don’t have a gym membership it can be an easy way to increase your activity levels. All you need is a good pair of trainers, and> you can maintain a great exercise programme. You can also use it as a mode of transport, using your runs as a way to get to places.  It can be much more rewarding and> functional. Running is also a great way of adding exercise in to a limited schedule, 20-30 minutes and> you have had a squeezed in a workout. One of the simplest ways to exercise, with a little bit of motivation it is easy to do it regularly.

Whilst I am enjoying my treadmill runs, for me running outdoors will always be my favourite. It is something I can do anytime, anywhere and> it’s a great form of escapism, headphones in, music on and> out I go into the fresh air.

Do you run? Are you an indoors or outdoors fan?