Where to run — inside or outside?
In the depths of winter, we’re often forced indoors. But when it comes to lacing up your runners, where’s it ultimately better for you to go – onto the treadmill or into the fresh air?
“Like with any two things, there are pros and cons to both sides,” admits Nick Scott, coach and personal trainer from Performance 101. “But for me, I’d always head outside.”
As refreshing as it is to hear a preference for one way over another, why doesn’t Nick like keeping it indoors?
“Running on a treadmill is normally a lot easier because it exists in a controlled environment,” explains Nick. “You can up your speed or incline by pushing buttons, and if you don’t have a mod-con that can track your pace and distance, you’ll get all that, too. But despite these conveniences, ‘treddies’ can see you form bad habits.”
As a lover of the outdoors, Nick isn’t shy about sharing what he sees as the benefits of taking it outside – particularly when it comes to running the best possible way.
“If you just run on flat surfaces all the time, your technique can get sloppy,” says Nick. “If you want to make it efficient, you need a variation of different terrain, from the state of the ground to heading up and down hills.”
Nick couldn’t be happier to harp on about hills. “Running up hills really builds strength and technique,” he gleams. “When you’re running downhill, you tend to stride out or overstride and lean back.
“When someone’s leaning back as they’re heading down a hill, you can normally hear them from a mile away, slapping the ground, and not only can that result in huge impact forces on the joints, it can also lead to injury.”
But there’s an easy trick worth trying. “You want to lean into the hill, as though you’re about to roll down it,” says Nick.
Another ‘tell’ for people who spend most of their time jogging on the spot indoors is more of a vertical one.
“The higher you apply force into the treadmill, the higher you’re going to bounce up and down,” Nick says. “So when someone who normally runs on a treadmill heads outside, you’ll find they bob up and down vertically instead of moving forward horizontally.”
But just as you can get comfy on a treadmill, the same can happen in the wide open spaces. “Remember to mix up where you run,” stresses Nick. “Head onto the grass at the park, the stones around the gardens, the pavement down the street – try to not stick to the same surface, over and over.
“And as tempting as it might be, don’t go avoiding those hills!”
Are you an inside or outside runner? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Information provided in this article is not medical advice and you should consult with your healthcare practitioner. Australian Unity accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any of the opinions, advice, representations or information contained in this publication. Readers should rely on their own advice and enquiries in making decisions affecting their own health, wellbeing or interest.