If you’re a serious runner and you actually want to enter races, then you’re going to need to do at least some of your training outside. Races are held outside, so you need to get outside yourself to see how you perform in actual race conditions. However, if you simply want to stay on top of your health and fitness, there’s a lot to be said for hitting a treadmill.
It’s more forgiving of imperfect running action
We learn the basics of running when we are really young, but people who go on to take running seriously as a sport need to learn about the mechanics of a good running stride. In particular, they need to get into the habit of striking the ground with their forefoot first, rather than their heel. Serious runners can use treadmills to practice the correct action. Fitness enthusiasts, however, can get away with just running in a way that feels comfortable to them, because the running deck of a treadmill is safely cushioned to protect their joints.
It’s safer all round
Outdoor running can be great fun, but even if you’re running action is perfect, you’re still at a higher risk of injury than you are on a treadmill. A treadmill is in a controlled environment, whereas outdoors, you’re at the mercy not only of the elements but of anything else life can throw at you, and you’re at extra risk because you’re going at a higher speed.
Let’s take a practical example of this. You’re running outdoors on a day with drizzling rain. You can still see fairly well, but it takes a bit of effort. All of a sudden, a small child, riding their bike on the street, comes straight out in front of you. If you’d been walking, you’d have had a much shorter stopping distance, as a runner, however, the situation is much more challenging. Obviously you want to avoid a collision for both your sakes, but negotiating your way around the child may also carry the risk of injuring yourself.
In urban environments, runners have to share streets, roads, and parks with a lot of other people. Rural environments have more space, but running alone there brings a different set of risks.
It can be tailored to suit your exact needs
Even the most basic treadmills offer a range of speeds and some degree of control over the level of incline and will usually have at least a few pre-programmed workouts. Once you get beyond the bargain basement models, you’ll move on to treadmills that have a wide selection of pre-set workouts and often have the option to enter your own workouts.
There are all kinds of reasons to love treadmill workouts and most of them revolve around the ability to push yourself, safely, out of your comfort zone and also to make your time on the treadmill a bit more varied.
Treadmills take away your excuses for not running outdoors
Sometimes it can take real effort to go for a run outdoors. It can be too hot, too cold, or too wet for comfort. In summer, dust can be a real issue; in fall there are leaves everywhere; and in winter there is often ice. It can be too early or too late or maybe we’re just not in the mood. So what do you do? You can force yourself out and hope you enjoy it or stay in and maybe feel a bit guilty. Alternatively you can split the difference and hit the treadmill.
Having a treadmill at home can be a particular advantage to people with really busy lives, especially parents, since it means you don’t even need to get yourself to a gym. You can even workout while watching your children!
This article was written by Katie Mills from dailyhealthclick.com. Katie is a well-respected health writer and features on many top end and well-known publications due to her knowledge in many health-related fields.