I have finally bitten the bullet today and rejoined a gym! I really thought I could get through winter and not have to do it but I had a bit of an experience a week or two ago that made me rethink. I was running around the lake near where I live at 6am and a guy appeared in front of me. It kind of threw me a bit. He laughed and said some words in a language I didn’t understand, and I just kept on running.
It made me think. What if he hadn’t been as passive? and what if he had been with other guys? I got home a little bit shaken and took stock of it all, and decided that I wouldn’t run outside in the dark alone again. Need some tips on safety – read one of my previous posts all about it.
My issue is that during the week I have no-one to run with as my friends are dotted all over the place – weekends are not a drama, but weekdays are an issue. So I joined a gym! I’m quite excited to be going back for a while – it will be nice to be in the warm 🙂
Before I committed to join my gym I sat and really thought about the benefits of both the treadmill and running outside to weigh up whether I would use the gym. I decided in the end that I would likely use both – gym during the week and outside on the weekend. My notes that I wrote for myself are below for anyone wondering what the benefits of both are.
Benefits of running on the treadmill and running outside
Running on the treadmill
Great for speed sessions
Treadmills are really good for when you have specific training requirements – i..e if you are running a speed session and need to do x km per hour. You can literally program the treadmill for whatever speed you need to run at, and away you go which is very handy when working to a specific program with specific speed training requirements.
All weather training
The treadmill is a great alternative when the weather isn’t going in your favour. Whether it is torrential rain outside or a heatwave – it really doesn’t matter if you are running on a treadmill inside.
Great for the solo runner
If the only time that you can train is early in the morning or last thing at night, and it is dark – running on a treadmill is a great way to ensure that you don’t put yourself at risk by running alone in the dark. You can run at any time of the day on the treadmill without having to be conscious of where you run and keeping safe.
Better when you have an injury
The treadmill can be better if you have an injury than running outside, as you will have a consistent flat surface to run on, whereas outside the surface on which you are running may not be as even, the pavement may be harder which could worsen your injury. Although on the flip side it is good to ensure that your sessions on the treadmill are mixed up to ensure you don’t fall prey to injury from just pounding away on the treadmill session after session.
Change of scenery and route
Running on the treadmill can be very boring, seeing the same view time after time and not physically getting anywhere. Running outside is great therefore for alleviating boredom and mixing things up with your running routes, enabling you to change your routes, add hills and variation to your terrain i.e. roads, trails.
The biggest advantage of running outside compared to inside on a treadmill is that unless you own your own treadmill it means that you save money on hefty gym membership fees. You can literally put on your running gear, step outside the door and go!
More realistic training conditions for a race
The treadmill can often seem easier than running outside, and if you are training for something in particular it can often be better to run outside to get used to the conditions that you will be running in rather than running on a treadmill where it isn’t always an accurate reflection of true racing conditions.