Is Running On A Treadmill Easier Than Outdoors?
Treadmills are used for a variety of reasons. Some people use them to warm up before a weight training session, while others do all their running on them.
Generally, most people use treadmills because of convenience. And because they can surround themselves with like-minded fitness enthusiasts. Either way, a treadmill can help improve your running. But is it really as good as running outside?
In this article, we discuss if running on a treadmill is easier than running outdoors and whether you should focus on more or less treadmill running.
Why Do People Run On Treadmills?
There are many reasons why people choose a treadmill over outside running. This can be for convenience when they are already at the gym, or they could want less stress on the joints than running outside.
Generally, treadmills offer better shock absorption than concrete. This means there is less stress on the lower legs and hips than running outside. It also offers the gym enthusiast freedom to adjust the gradient of the hills and the speed they run. This is extremely popular with beginner runners or first-time fitness enthusiasts, as it helps them slowly build up their aerobic conditioning.
Other factors can include weather, especially in the winter months. Countries like Sweden have cold and snowy winters, which makes running outside every day sometimes extremely hard.
However, when it comes to professional runners, treadmills can be utilized to increase leg speed, easier recovery days (if you live in a hilly area), and control heart rate better.
Is Running On A Treadmill Easier Than Outdoors?
Running is easier than running outside for several reasons. One of the key reasons why running on a treadmill is because it helps to assist leg turnover. That means it makes it easier to run faster. Because of this, many people find that they are almost always faster on a treadmill than when running outside.
Another reason why running inside on a treadmill is easier than running outside is because of the bounce they provide. This often helps the runner to have a long time off the ground, which can help reduce fatigue in the muscles.
Because of the lack of fatigue, most runners find that they can hold a certain pace longer indoors than outside.
Weather conditions also play a big role inside vs outside. On a treadmill, you don’t have to deal with windy days or even rain which can affect the runner’s speed.
Also, some of the soft tissue conditioning or “hardening” that occurs with road running does not occur with treadmill running because the plate or base on the treadmill “gives” more than road surfaces. And there are no weather conditions to deal with when running indoors.
While some people say that running on a treadmill won’t give you the same benefit as running outside, it can still offer many benefits.
By including 1-2 treadmill runs per week you can help increase your stride rate and customize the session more easily when following a heart rate training plan. It can also help you to replicate the gradient of hills you may encounter in your next event.
It is important to note that too much treadmill running can be detrimental to your running. By running inside too much, your bones and muscles won’t adapt to the harsh landing of concrete. It will also prevent you from varying your foot strike, which can lead to injuries in the long term.
How Effective Is Treadmill Running Compared To Running Outside?
Even though you can’t replicate outdoor running on a treadmill, you can do some adjustments to counter this. Research shows that increasing the gradient to 1 percent can help more accurately simulate outdoor running. By increasing the gradient you end up offsetting the lack of air resistance and the moving belt.
While the muscles, bones, and tendons may not get the same load, inside your body will.
Because of this, it is wise to only use treadmills for quality sessions like intervals or tempo runs.
That way your cardiovascular system will be trained in the same way as running outside, and you will naturally be able to control the intensity much easier.
The rest of your runs should be outside to help the bones and tendons adjust to the hard pavement.
It is always wise to run outside more often than inside, so your feet and lower legs don’t get used to the same landing each time.
Knowing this, outside running will give your feet the variation needed to become stronger and more resilient.
Is Treadmill Running Good For You?
No matter what people say, treadmill running is not bad for you. Though, just like outdoor running, too much training can end up causing injuries. That’s why variation (running inside and outside) is important and following the correct training plan will prevent burnout, fatigue, injury, and lack of motivation.
Treadmills often have some limitations, especially if you are an experienced runner. Some treadmills have speed limits and can only increase the gradient to a certain degree. They also can be boring monotonous compared to outside running.
If used correctly a treadmill can offer many benefits to a beginner and experienced runner. You just need to make sure you vary your training with some outside running too.