Running on a treadmill is much more convenient than running outside, especially if you find it difficult to squeeze exercise into your daily routine. Treadmills allow people to run in the comfort of their own homes, take control of their pace, and feel safer in comparison to running outdoors.
The biggest contributor to making outside running harder than treadmill running is the mentality of runners. Outside there are more obstacles like traffic and adverse weather conditions. But on flat surfaces, the difficulty between outside and treadmill running comes from thinking it should be harder.
Why Can I Run On a Treadmill, But Not Outside?
There is a mix of opinions about whether running outside or on a treadmill is easier. The easy access and simple nature of a treadmill can lead you to believe it is easier to run on. But the truth is that a lot of the time the difficulty you find running stems from a psychological point. It is common for people to believe that running on a treadmill should be easier, therefore they lean towards it as an exercise. The exposure to weather and distractions or obstacles outside can make running seem harder outdoors. In reality, if you take a flat running terrain outside and run the same distance on a treadmill, the difficulty should be the same. As mentioned, the perception of how hard it is stems from personal mindsets.
Many runners find that they can run on a treadmill but not outside because they can fit using the treadmill easily into their daily routines. If you have a treadmill at home, you can workout at any hour of the day and not worry about what’s going on outside.
Many high-tech treadmills have special abilities that allow you to multitask whilst running. Some allow you to watch your favourite TV shows or movies. Others provide motivational videos and classes to get you pumped and keep your spirits up.
There are even some treadmills that can blow cold air at you while you run. They are seriously advanced pieces of equipment, allowing you to control your incline and speed. It is this ability to control the treadmill that often leads runners to feel as though it is easier to run on a treadmill. But the difference between running on a treadmill compared to outside is a lot simpler than comparing running and walking the same distance.
Why Is It Harder To Run Outside?
A lot of runners feel that running outside is more difficult than running inside because external conditions are always changing. Frequent variations in incline, direction, and terrain can be distracting for many runners, putting them off and causing them to lose focus or motivation.
In contrast, some people find running on a treadmill to be equally as challenging. Running at the same speed, in one position for your entire route and with a lack of mental stimulation can be very monotonous and boring. Simply, staring at a blank wall in the gym or your home with no stimuli causes many runners to avoid the treadmill altogether. It’s really a personal preference and everyone is entitled to their opinion about which option they think is the hardest.
Is It More Mentally Challenging To Run Outside Than On a Treadmill?
Most people find it more mentally challenging to run outside than on a treadmill for several reasons. Firstly, people feel very self-conscious when they are running outside for everyone to see. This is especially the case if you’re a new or less experienced runner, scared to embarrass yourself by looking sweaty and dishevelled.
Secondly, many runners feel anxiety about their safety whilst running. If you’re at work all day and come home when it’s dark, you might feel like you’re putting yourself at risk by being out alone. This leads to questions of if running is worth it at all. But it is a great exercise no matter where you do it!
People running unaccompanied in the dark are also less likely to listen to music in case of attackers creeping up on them. So, they find it harder to keep motivated outside. Hence, many prefer to head to the gym where they know there’ll be plenty of other people. They feel safer, it’s well lit, and CCTV is being used for extra protection.
Is Running Outside Harder On Your Knees Than Running On a Treadmill?
Running on a treadmill is much easier on your knees and joints than running outside. This is because the treadmill offers shock absorption, reducing the amount of stress being placed on the knees.
The consistent surface of the treadmill is much better for your joints than concrete because concrete is extremely hard. Equally, running on grass or dirt may have less impact on your knees. But both conditions increase the risk of knee injury due to the added likelihood of falls and slips in comparison to running on a treadmill. It is important to mention that there are so many benefits of running every day, whether that is inside or outside. But the impact on your joints can be more intense outside.
You can actually buy different ‘ply’ treadmills. This refers to the thickness of the treadmill belt. Buying a 2 or 3-ply treadmill will add an extra layer of cushioning whilst you run which can help to reduce impact-related injuries. This means that generally, treadmills are less damaging to your knees than running outside.
Also, most treadmills don’t allow you to run downwards which is generally considered more impactful on your joints than running at an incline. So, treadmills are definitely better on your knees than running outside in this sense too.
The Weather Makes Running Outside Harder Than Running On a Treadmill
The weather has a huge impact on your running ability. If it’s freezing cold or raining outside, most people will feel that their run is much harder. This leads to them avoiding running in bad weather which can interrupt their running habits. This can lead to them not running at all. Also, running in slippery or icy conditions can easily lead to falls and injuries. While this doesn’t make running outside a lot harder, it does increase the risk of injury compared to running on a treadmill.
Equally, if you live in a very hot climate, running may be much more difficult to do outside. There are a lot of risks in running outside when it’s hot including heatstroke, exhaustion, and sunburn. Hence, running on a treadmill inside is much more convenient and means that your run won’t be affected by external conditions.
Treadmills and air-conditioning can make your run feel much easier, allowing you to focus more on your form and achieve your fitness goals. But for the most part, the weather is the biggest contributor to whether running outside will be harder or not.
Exercising, in general, can seem really difficult at first, but it is so important for a healthy lifestyle. Often people find the first few minutes of working out difficult, but if you hang in there, this will quickly change! Plus, there are so many fun ways to stay active these days, including using Just Dance to lose weight! Vidar Australia has plenty more health and lifestyle advice to help you work towards your best self.