Is it better running outdoors or inside?

Woman running outside instead of inside on the treadmill

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As a runner there are days when you wonder is this a running outdoors or inside kind of day. Should you hit the pavement or go to the gym to run on the treadmill?

I prefer the outdoors, but that is not the case for everyone. I like the outdoors for so many reasons including the scenery, change of pace, the ability to go wherever your feet take you and just being outside.

Which is better?

Believe it or not, there are clear differences and advantages to running outside versus indoors. So if you’re trying to decide where you should run after you put on your running shoes, here are a few benefits to both.

Running outdoors

Running up a hill on the street

Enjoy the scenery

One of the biggest appeals to running outside is the scenery. You leave behind the treadmill timer and enjoy the world around you. If you get bored of seeing the same thing every time, you can change your route.

However, if you’re just starting out, pick a running routine that you are more likely to enjoy. Map out a safe area to run and go for it.

Also choosing to run outdoors doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to run indoors. You can always change up your routine and see what works best for you.

Learn how to pace your run

When you run outdoors you can develop and maintain a pace on your own, which is different than the treadmill determining your speed.

You also can work on your speed by incorporating hill repeats. If you do not have a hill near you, mix it up with different running intervals. Run for 30 seconds and walk for 30 seconds. Run for one minute and walk for 30 seconds. You can use a tabata app to keep track of the intervals.

Change the terrain for your run

Another benefit of running outdoors is that you can change the type of terrain your run on.

My favorite is running on the road in different parts of town. But you can get on a trail, track, the beach or wherever your feet can take you.

I like an out and back run in most cases. Loops are hard for me mentally.

Be social and run with other people

women running together on sidewalk

You can run alone to enjoy “me” time. But running can be a very social experience by meeting up with a friend or two. It is great to have the company as well as someone who can be your accountability partner.

Running on a treadmill

treadmill running HIIT style

You can run regardless of the weather

In the gym, you avoid rain, cold, heat and all weather conditions. One of the advantages of running on a treadmill is the fact that you’re in a controlled environment.

The treadmill also is a cushioned surface, which is more forgiving on your joints versus running on asphalt or concrete. Either way, according to experts, for every 1 pound you weigh, your knees feel the force of 3 pounds of pressure when you take a step. You’ll avoid running on wet streets and more when sticking with the treadmill.

Simulate different training

If you have a 5K, hilly half marathon or some combination coming up, the treadmill can help simulate the conditions of the race course. A unique benefit of running on a treadmill is that it gives you the option to program the speed, distance and even the incline of your training.

As an added bonus, if you can’t get to a park or a hill to do your workout, the treadmill is a wonderful alternative for it.

Easier to stay hydrated

If you’ve run outdoors, you know that carrying a water bottle with you is a pain. When I train for longer distances I add a running water pack cause I hate holding a bottle in my hand.

You don’t have to worry about carrying water when indoors, it’s the treadmill will hold it for you.

What will it be?

Running has become one of my favorite pastimes. I can always lace up my sneakers and go for a short run on any given day. Will it be outdoors or indoors is always the question. If I have my choice, outdoors is what I prefer.

Do you prefer to run indoors or outdoors?

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