To run outside or on the treadmill? I know many people in the running community that would never step foot on a treadmill. I've heard everything from "they're boring" to "it's not really running because the ground is moving for you." I also know some gym rats that just LOVE the treadmill and never run outside. I'm kind of 50/50 on the treadmill versus outdoor running debate. Also, sometimes I run faster on the treadmill, sometimes slower, and I know plenty of people who fall into both categories. I think there are benefits to both types of running - but you rarely hear about the benefits and pros of treadmill running.
The treadmill is a great tool for helping you learn how to maintain an even pace while running. Because the speed is set for you, you have no choice but to run at a steady pace. When reviewing my long distance runs, I usually see very steady, even paced running, which I attribute to my treadmill training. A steady pace can help you reach a distance or time goal by not starting off too fast at the beginning of your run when you feel your best. Also, if you're training for a race, this can help you get a feel for different speeds.
2. Even surfaced running
The treadmill surface that you're running on will be the same with EVERY step. There will be no rocks, sticks, wet surfaces, bikers or anything else that might get in your way and cause you to change your gait. This is a great way to avoid injury and focus on your running form.
3. You can run no matter the weather or time of day
I'm often squeezing a run in at 5:00am, which is NO time to be hitting the trail. The treadmill allows me to run in the dark, in the rain, in the heat and in the cold! With the treadmill, I have more flexibility in my day without missing a run.
4. Intervals (speed and hill work)
If you're working on increasing your speed, there are many speed and hill workouts that you can do. While you can absolutely do these outside, you may find that doing them in a controlled environment, such as the treadmill allows you to track your progress and repeat the same workout while increasing your speed or incline.
5. Set goals ahead of the run
Right now I'm working on how far I can run in 30 minutes. I do these workouts in the morning, on the treadmill. Sometimes I find that with each workout, I'm only improving my distance by 0.01 miles, which is a very small, but steady increase. Doing this workout on the treadmill allows me to set a goal before I begin my run, with a plan on exactly how I will meet that goal, by adjusting the pace of the treadmill. If I had to rely on my own body to set that pace, I'd find that I would have just as many increases in distance as decreases.
Where do you like to run?