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Pros and Cons of Running On a Treadmill vs. Running Outside

Running is a great way to stay fit and healthy, but with so many options available, it can be difficult to decide whether to run on a treadmill or outside. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately depends on your personal preferences and goals.

Published: March 4, 2023.

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Running On a Treadmill and Outside: What Is The Difference?

The most obvious difference between running on a treadmill and running outside is the environment. Running outside allows you to enjoy the scenery, fresh air, and the freedom of being outdoors.

On the other hand, running on a treadmill is more controlled, providing a flat surface and no obstacles. Treadmills also offer the ability to more easily control speed, incline, and distance, which can help you track your progress and monitor your workout.

Treadmill vs. Running Outside - Which is better for Runners?

Running on a treadmill has several advantages over running outside. One of the main benefits is that it provides a relatively low-impact workout, which is easier on your joints and reduces the risk of injury.

Running on a treadmill also allows you to control the incline, which can help you simulate running uphill or downhill, improving your stamina and strength. Additionally, treadmills provide a consistent surface, which helps build endurance, as you are not slowed down by the need to navigate uneven terrain.

Running outside has its advantages too. For starters, you get to breathe fresh air and enjoy the scenery, which can be a great way to relieve stress and clear your mind.

Running outside also provides a more challenging workout as you have to deal with slopes, gradients, and changes in terrain. This helps build your muscles, legs, and overall body strength. Running outside can also be a more social experience if you run with a partner or a group.

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When Is It Better To Run On A Treadmill Than Outside?

Running on a treadmill is ideal in certain situations. For example, if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions or have a busy schedule, a treadmill can be a great way to maintain your fitness routine.

Running on a treadmill is also useful for those recovering from an injury or having joint pain, as it provides a lower-impact workout than running on a solid surface, like concrete or asphalt.

When Is It Better To Run Outside Than On A Treadmill?

Running outside is ideal when you want to challenge yourself and improve your overall fitness levels. The variety of terrains, slopes, and gradients provides a more challenging workout that helps build endurance and strength.

Running outside is also an excellent way to soak up some vitamin D and fresh air, which can benefit your heart, lungs, and overall health.

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Simulating Race Courses Indoors

One of the unique advantages of running on a treadmill is the ability to simulate race courses indoors. You can set the incline to match the terrain of the race course, making it an excellent way to prepare for an upcoming race or marathon. This can help you build your stamina and strength and improve your overall fitness levels.

However, having a high-end treadmill that can load Google Maps and automatically adjust the incline to match the terrain of the desired course can significantly help a runner to prepare for the upcoming race.

Preparation For The Running Workout

Regardless if you are preparing yourself for running on a treadmill, street, trail, or somewhere else, be sure to warm up yourself properly and gently stretch muscles and joints.


Running on a treadmill has the benefit of providing the trainee with entry running programs for proper warmup, which gradually increases speed and, if possible, incline.

If you are running outside, warm up by slowly jogging, gradually increasing the pace.

Water and Food While Running

Staying hydrated during running is very important, especially when running outside during hot weather. Running on a treadmill allows the athlete to have water and other accessories on the treadmill, where it can be reached when required.


Consuming food during longer runs doesn't include having "steaks and potatoes," but consuming some BCAAs, EAS, simple carbs, electrolytes, whey proteins, and similar can help runners recover some energy and postpone fatigue.

Proper Clothes

Running on a treadmill and outside means having good, comfortable running shoes that protect the feet from all angles and allow the skin to breathe normally. That is why one must have good running shoes AND good socks.

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The choice of clothes for running outside is, IMHO, more important than the choice of clothes for running indoors on a treadmill.

In any case, clothes have to be comfortable and allow the skin to breathe. All the sweat created during running should be easily taken away from the skin, at the same time improving the cooling effect.

Such clothes also must protect the runner from wind, sun, hot weather, cold weather, and similar - obviously, it is up to each runner to adjust the clothes according to the local outdoor conditions.

On the other hand, when running indoors, one may always expect room temperature or slightly colder, simplifying choosing the proper clothes.

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Few Final Words

Both running on a treadmill and outside have their advantages and disadvantages. It ultimately depends on your personal preference, fitness goals, weather, and other circumstances.

It's always essential to mix up your running routine and experiment with different environments to challenge yourself and avoid boredom. Whether you run on a treadmill or outside, the key is to stay consistent, listen to your body, and have fun!

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