CS.Fit | Casey Simmons


Running Outside vs Running on the Treadmill: Which is Most Effective?

Running Outside vs Running on the Treadmill: Which is Most Effective?

If you’re looking for a workout that’s both effective and fun, you might be wondering whether running outside or on a treadmill is better. Both have their pros and cons, so it really depends on your individual preferences.

If the weather doesn’t make the choice for you, here are some things to consider when making your decision when you have the choice…



Do you want to be able to control the intensity?

If you’re looking for a challenging workout where you can control the intensity with a click of a button, running on the treadmill may be your best bet. You’re able to control incline and speed, so you can push yourself to your limits on the treadmill. Running on a treadmill can also be less distracting from your surroundings, which can be ideal if you prefer to zone out while you run.

I recommend following one of my CS Fit Running workouts if you are someone that gets bored easily while you are on a treadmill. By changing the speed/intensity while following a plan, you’ll be more engaged in your workout and less likely to be counting down the seconds until you can be done.

Do you want a more relaxed, scenic running workout?

However, running outside can be challenging as well. If you choose to run on hilly terrain or in hot weather, you’ll get a great sweat on. Some people may find running outside to be better if they’re looking for a fun and scenic workout. Sometimes a little exploration, fresh air, and sights and sounds of nature while you get your cardio in can you do you some good.

Ultimately, both running outside and on the treadmill have their own benefits. It really depends on what YOU are looking for in a workout. If you want something challenging and intense, go for the treadmill workout. If you’re looking for something more fun and relaxed, try a scenic route outdoors. Whichever you choose, make sure to stick with it so you can see results and a follow a CS Fit treadmill workout, which you can get here!

Are you concerned about the impact on your joints?

Treadmill running is lower-impact than running outside, and treadmills are designed to absorb more of the impact of your steps. If you are recovering from an injury and need a more controlled environment, a treadmill is the way to go!

Running outdoors can often feel more engaging, increase mental health, and is cheaper overall, but is more likely to bring injuries. Not only are your outdoor steps hitting a harder and uneven surface, but there can be challenges like terrains, inclines, and weather, which can make running outdoors hard on your body and joints. Running outdoors consistently can definitely help you gain stronger bones, but the pressure on your joints is not something to overlook.


How should you determine what kind of run to do?

There are 5 different “types” of runs you can do: base runs, hill repeats, interval runs, tempo runs, and long runs.

Base runs
are your “bread and butter” type of run. They should make up the majority of your running, as they help to build mileage and endurance. Base runs should be done at an easy pace that you could sustain for a long period of time; think conversation pace.

Hill repeats are exactly what they sound like – repeating a hill multiple times in a row. This is a great workout to do if you’re looking to build strength and power. Hill repeats can also be done at different intensities, depending on how challenging you want the workout to be.

Interval runs are short, fast bursts of running intermixed with periods of rest or easy running. Interval runs are great for helping runners increase their speed and improve their race times.

Tempo runs are a sustained effort at a faster-than-normal pace. They help runners to maintain a fast pace for an extended period of time, and are great for improving race times.

Long runs are, well, long! These runs should be done at a slower pace than your tempo or speed runs so you can maintain the distance without tiring out too quickly. Long runs are important for increasing your mileage and helping you prepare for races.

After choosing the type of run, you need to determine the length. I recommend that beginners start with 1 mile, as this is a good distance to challenge yourself without being too daunting. If you’re looking to increase your distance over time, there are lots of different resources, including the CS Fit program, that can help you slowly increase your mileage.

Now that you know the basics of types of runs and how to determine the length of your run, you’re ready to lace up your shoes and hit the ground running- literally! Take the guesswork out of which running workouts you should be doing. Sign up here!