Runner’s week: Treadmills play key role in training

It’s Runner’s Week here at and all week we’ll give tips to improve your running workouts. Today we continue with answers to four common questions about running on a treadmill:
1. What are the advantages to running on a treadmill instead of outside?
If you are running (or walking) on a treadmill to basically be in good overall shape and lose weight, a treadmill is just as good for you as running outside.
Calories burned running inside are the same as those burned on the street or on a track. Likewise, your cardio benefits are even. The treadmill is actually a better option in many instances because it is more likely to prevent injury, offers a safer place to run and more convenience.
Any time you walk or run outside there’s the chance of the unexpected happening. Outside runners and walkers sometimes have to deal with careless or rude drivers, people who want to talk when they just want to get a run in, dogs, weather and even uneven roads or trails when they’re outside.
If you work out on a treadmill in the comfort of your own home all of those hazards and distractions are left outside your front door.
Work out when you want, with whatever music or TV channel you want on, or walk or run in silence.
2. Can competitive runners benefit from a treadmill?
Even competitive runners often use treadmills.
The treadmill benefits are similar to what they’d experience outside as well. The aforementioned safety and convenience factors are better on a treadmill. The ability to set a treadmill to pre-programmed workouts, which can give you inclines and declines and force you to stick to a pace, can actually be better than running outside.
One big difference is that the mechanics of running on a treadmill are ever-so slightly different than running outside.
You don’t get the experience of dealing with running in different types of weather (especially dealing with wind), sometimes uneven surfaces and hill training is not quite the same.
3. Which is better – treadmill or running outside?
The solution is simple for serious runners: put mileage in on both a treadmill and outdoors.
Many marathoners put a lot of their mileage in in treadmills to save wear and tear on their legs. It may be a little boring to run for an hour or more on a treadmill, but pop in a DVD on the TV or listen to some good music to help pass the time indoors.
Running on a treadmill is easier than running outside on your body because the landing is cushioned better and you don’t have to deal with the outside elements. However, it’s also good to mix in variety, so you shouldn’t limit all your running to one or the other.
You can also know that the treadmill surface will be consistent and you won’t have to worry about stepping in a hole or tripping on something you didn’t see. The cushioned decks of a treadmill will also result in less wear and tear on your joints.
4. Do I have room in my house for a treadmill?
Take measurements of the room you’d like to put a treadmill in and then talk to a trained fitness associate. If space is a problem in your house, keep in mind that some treadmills even fold up for easy storage under the bed or in a closet.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at

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