Treadmill or outside?

Running outdoors is great, but treadmills offer some surprising benefits

By Erin Phelan

Treadmill or outside?

The type of surface you run on doesn’t matter too much, says Dr. Chris Woollam, a sports physician with Athlete Care and medical director for the Toronto and Mississauga marathons. “It is often impossible to pick and choose for many of us. Dirt tracks are great (due to the softer surface) but they are hard to find. Cushioned surfaces are ideal but often not available. Generally speaking, your shoes will absorb a great deal of the shock of the surface.”

Treadmills are softer than running on the hard road, but most runners want to be outside enjoying the scenery. If you’re indoors and trying to replicate a flat road, you need to set the treadmill at 1 percent. A slight incline of the treadmill can be used to compensate for the lack of air resistance indoors.

If you can get used to training on a treadmill, it can help you out, says Jay Blahnik, a California-based fitness professional and consultant for Nike. “A lot of outdoor runners give up on treadmills because they find it boring. But I use them to train my clients for their speed work and their hill work because we can control the environment. It is a great tool for mixing up workouts. The treadmill versus the open road is a purely psychological battle.”

Found this article informative? Subscribe to our magazine today and receive more Best Health exclusives delivered to your door!

Best Health Magazine, Summer 2008

No votes yet