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Road Running Vs. Treadmill running

Road Running Vs. Treadmill running

Which is Better Road Running or Treadmill Running?


In this long standing debate of Treadmill vs. Running outside, there are no clear cut answers. Some people prefer treadmills and others prefer outside running. Here we will analyze the pros and cons of both and factor in a variety of perspectives.


Treadmill Running

There are lots of people who love treadmill running. They love it for the fact that treadmills are safe and comfortable. When running outside, you have to be careful about the area you are covering. With treadmills, you can run in the safe surroundings of your home or gym. Another important factor is the weather. Conditions (rain, scorching sun, snow) don’t have to be considered for a good run outside.
Another benefit of using treadmills is that, they offer more joint protection. Nowadays, many treadmills are designed to offer reduced shock for people with joints problem.

Treadmills are generally preferred by beginners. On a treadmill, it is easier to control speed and you can also monitor your performance. Whereas outside running is not precise and new runners have a relatively harder time when running outside in the beginning. So for new runners, the winner between Treadmill vs outside is the treadmill most of the time.


Running Outside

Hardcore runners swear by outside running. They find treadmill running to be too confining and not real running. While running on a treadmill, you don’t move your body forward and so it’s relatively easier compared to outside running. When you are running outside, you have to deal with other factors like uneven surface, wind resistance etc. that make the run more challenging.

Running outside can be an enjoyable activity and a great stress buster. While running on a treadmill feels like a chore even for runners, running outside is a great outdoor activity. Some outside runners are so motivated; they even brave harsh weather conditions to get a run in. For them, there is no dilemma of Treadmill vs. Running Outside, outside always wins!


Treadmill vs Running Outside – Impact on body

When we compare treadmill and running outside, apart from personal preferences we need to factor in one important point –impact on body. As discussed earlier, treadmills are softer on the joints compared to running outside on hard surfaces. But on a negative side, running on a treadmill causes our calf muscles to push harder to commence forward. This is because we don’t have to push off a solid surface (like in outside running) but the moving belt.

Compared to outside running, treadmills provide less ankle stabilization, thereby increasing ankle injury risk.

There is not much scientific data to prove which method burns most calories – outside running or treadmill running. But some studies suggest that you need to increase your treadmill incline by 1 % to burn similar amount of calories as outside running. But we have contradictory studies too.

We can see that both Treadmill Running and Outside Running have their pros and cons. We don’t have to choose between Treadmill vs. outside. My suggestion would be to mix it up and enjoy both. In harsh weather conditions, treadmills should be preferred. If the weather is pleasant and you have access to a good and safe running track, by all means enjoy an outdoor run. That way, it will never be monotonous and you can get the best of both worlds