Treadmill Vs Outdoor Running: Full Comparison

Have you ever asked a runner whether he likes a treadmill or running outside? We can guarantee he has feelings about it. Some purists can’t stand the monotonous treadmills. Others may enjoy the manual control and accuracy of indoor exercise.

Both methods have their pros and cons. And each helps you get stronger and faster, whether you’re preparing for a race or starting a cardio workout. Frankly, you’d do best running miles inside and outside. Here’s a comparison of treadmill running vs. running outside.


Treadmills are one of the most popular indoor cardiovascular equipment, thanks to the many benefits they offer.

Treadmill pros

  • No weather worry

Running on snow is dangerous. There is a risk of dehydration in hot weather. With an indoor treadmill, you avoid such risks. Also, you don’t need to worry about sunscreen, or over- or under-dressing.

  • Simulate race conditions

Are you getting ready for a hilly marathon? Treadmill can help you run hills without even accessing a hilly route.

  • Control your pace 

It can be hard to keep the pace consistent outside. Treadmill training can solve this if you return from an injury. Treadmill tracks your mileage and pace with ease. You can also stop at your will and use the treadmill pace to push yourself.

  • It’s convenient

You can use your home treadmill as per your time, in poor weather, or when you need to monitor your children.

  • Allows multi-task

Listening to music or podcasts on a treadmill is safe. You can watch TV or even read magazines.

  • Cushioned surface easier for joints

 Treadmills provide greater shock absorption than concrete. It means less pressure on your ankles and knees.

Cons of Treadmills

  • Risk of injury

Most users consider treadmills as a safer option. But the CPSC has reported about 24,000+ treadmill-related injuries. These were falls, head injuries, and cardiovascular events in trying to run too fast.

Outside Running

Running outdoors is a popular choice. Even better for runners preparing for a road race using best running shoes.

Pros of Outside Running

  • No gym membership 

Outdoor running is free. Also, you aren’t limited by the gym schedule or equipment availability.

  • Get trained for road races

Outdoor running will help your muscles and joints adapt to the obstacles you’ll face in a race.

  • Enjoy nature

Researchers have revealed that outdoor exercise is more enjoyable.

  • Builds your bones

Running builds your bone mineral density. It’s a measure for your bone’s strength. Study shows it is more valuable than cycling.

  • Burns calories

Working harder against the outside wind resistance means more calorie burn.

Cons of Outside Running

  • Injury risks

Research says knee injuries are the most common, followed by injuries to lower leg, foot, and ankle.

  • Can be dangerous

Apart from injuries, the other dangers outside: dogs, falls, cars, two-wheelers.

The Verdict

Both running outdoor and running on a treadmill have their pros and cons. If you like to have cardiovascular benefits, a treadmill is a great option. But if you’re preparing for a race, you will get more value from running outside. So, figure out the best option for you and add that to your daily routine.

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