3 Reasons to Hit the Treadmill and 3 Reasons to Take Your Run Outside

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When it comes to running, there are two key questions: "How many miles are you going to run?" "Should you stay in or out?" Once you've decided on your target distance, your cumulative mileage model becomes the main focus. While the most important thing is to hit the rhythm, when is it better to be on the pavement and when is it more beneficial to start the treadmill? Dennis Barker, a Minnesota coach who has coached runners from beginners to Olympians, details three situations where you want to run on the road and three situations where the gym is a better option.

You should run indoors three times.

1.When you want to control all variables

If you want to train in controlled conditions, a treadmill can be your best friend. Besides helping you keep up with the rhythm from the start and letting you control the slope automatically without having to scout the area, it's a great way to control your environment with the climate. If you have more advanced "mills" and specific competitions, consider programming courses. Some fancy slope trainers can even match the downhill of a map route. "It could be a really good simulation," Barker said.

Just as important, the smooth and safe underfoot surface ensures that you can focus all your energy on specific training goals and effects, which is especially useful when the weather gets erratic. "You need to have some kind of expectation of success with your workout," says Barker. "If you don't have an environment like this outside, a more controlled environment can make sure your workouts are on a solid footing. For example, on a hot day, you won't be able to run as fast. "As your core temperature soars, your exercise will deteriorate so quickly that you're going to get nothing," he said.

2. It was too dark to go out for a run.

Weather isn't the only danger. A late-night work schedule may mean you won't be home until dark. Use a treadmill if you are on a street with no street lights, sparsely populated, or a lack of sidewalks that are not suitable for late-night running. "Safety is always an issue, and there are better options out there," Barker said.

3. When you want to improve aerobic strength and reduce leg stress

Choose a treadmill when you feel muscular but want to work on your cardio, or want to increase your training volume and reduce your risk of injury. "On a treadmill, you get high-quality cardio, but you recover better," says Barker. "It's a tough workout when you're there — but the next day, your legs feel better than when you're on the road." This reduction in stress stems from several factors: The treadmill's running belt provides For a softer landing than most outdoor running surfaces, you can run uphill without downhill shock, and you take a more efficient form on the treadmill, with shorter strides than you would if you were outdoors, The landing is flatter with less time to touch the ground.

You should run three times outdoors.

1.When you train for a road race

While treadmills can reduce stress on your knees, reduce vibration while running, and help you build up your aerobic power, they're not ideal training grounds for road racing. If you want to compete outdoors, you need to train your legs against specific outdoor stressors. "You have to get your legs used to the effort," Barker said.

Learning the specific mechanics of running on pavement is especially important on slopes. "The hills on the treadmill are completely different than the road," Buck said. "The posture is different. Even with an incline, a treadmill will make you stand up and run higher. Outdoors, runners typically lean forward slightly at the ankles, leaning toward the hill as they run up. "For example, if you want to run an undulating mountain marathon, you have to hit the road - training on an indoor mountain doesn't translate well.

2. When you want to perfect your rhythm

Likewise, the steady roll of your seatbelt doesn't do the pacing work for you once you're out. "Treadmills are good for learning speed," says Barker. "But if you can't turn it into a road, it's worthless because that's where you need it." Buck likes to use the treadmill to teach runners how to run a mile in seven or eight minutes. But eventually you have to relax and follow the speed monitor inside you. "Get a feel for that and then we can hit the road," Buck said.

3. When you need a natural reset

It's awesome to be able to control all the elements and variables on the treadmill. There's nothing better than getting out in nature and exercising. Research shows that being outdoors is about more than reducing boredom. Compared to those who exercised indoors, people who exercised outside felt more refreshed and energized, with less tension, confusion, anger and depression. They also enjoyed working out more and were more likely to want to do it again. So while a treadmill is a great training tool, to get all the benefits and fun of running, go outdoors.

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