If you’re a runner, then you’re aware of the massive difference between running on a treadmill versus running outside. And chances are you prefer one way more than the other. There are pros and cons to both of them, but there are times when one is better than the other:

Running outside

Running outside means your muscles are getting more activated. You exert more energy because your feet propel off the ground, while the treadmill gives you a little bit of extra help. When you run outside, you also have to run around things, up hills, and over different surfaces, meaning you’re moving your muscles in more ways. Running on the treadmill also gives you more room to work with, such as running with longer strides than you can do on the treadmill. There are some negatives to running outside, though.

The impact of running outside can injure your joints more than running on a treadmill. If you frequently run outside, it’s important to strength train your legs to lower the risk of injury. Running outside can be more enjoyable overall just because of the fact of the changing scenery rather than looking at the same view on a treadmill. You can run outside basically any time. Some people enjoy running in the cold. Some people enjoy running in the heat. Some people even enjoy running in the rain!

Running on a Treadmill

Running on a treadmill has been a popular workout for as long as gyms have been around. Running on a treadmill means you don’t have to worry about weather conditions and can go for a run in the comfort of the inside. It’s also easier to track your speed, elevation, heart rate, and others. So, it’s easier to motivate yourself to go harder when you can keep track of how you’re doing. Running on a treadmill can closely replicate running outside, but it’s not the same.

Running on a treadmill is easier on your joints than running out as the cushioned belt provides some comfort. Although you can control speed and incline on a treadmill, you can’t control a decline, so you can’t get that motion of running downhill. So if you’re training for a marathon, only running on a treadmill definitely isn’t ideal. You can run on the treadmill at any time. It’s a great cardio workout and a way to get a quick sweat in before strength training.

Personally, I find running on the treadmill to be a bit boring, but there’s always the option of treadmill HIIT workouts. Here is a great one that will be sure to work up a sweat.