Running is a fantastic form of CV and one of the very best ways to start losing weight. This is a high intensity form of CV that anyone can do and that can burn a lot of calories over a short period of time.
Running outdoors particularly as well has added benefits – the different terrain for instance allows you to mix up the training. At time you will be running up hill and this will mean that you are training your calves more, while other times you will be running downhill and this will mean that you can train your quadriceps more. Running outdoors also gives you the advantage of not needing a potentially expensive gym membership – this is something which you can do anywhere and at any time – just run outside your door and it’s all there for the taking. Meanwhile this means you get the pleasant views of what you are doing and you can even tie the run outside in with doing other useful things like getting milk or giving your do exercise.
However unfortunately for many of us running is rather off limits and there are several drawbacks that prevent it from being viable for all of us. Or at least this is the case for running outdoors, for which there are several issues.
Drawbacks of Running Outside
One drawback of running outdoors is that it will mean that you are at the mercy of the weather. If it’s rainy and there’s a thunderstorm then you are possibly going to have to call the outing off. If there’s snow or it’s icy then you might slip over and cause serious injury. Of course another possible threat of running outdoors is that the weather can change while you’re out there. It might look perfectly sunny before you set off, but if you run for a while then you can find yourself stuck several miles away when a storm breaks out – not nice. It’s also not particularly safe to run at night which means that you will end up having a smaller window of opportunity in which to get outside and do some running. You also have to contend with the cold though too and if you run outside then dressing appropriately can be a struggle no matter what the weather is like. You’ll likely be cold starting out, but as soon as you have been running for a while your temperature will quickly rise and you’ll start sweating. Do you really want to be running while you’re freezing cold or boiling hot?
And if you live in an unpleasant area or in the middle of a big city then it may be that you don’t have anywhere to run that would be safe and scenic. Somehow the prospect of running along a busy road in a rough neighborhood isn’t always the inspiration you need to make you get outside.
On top of all this running outside can also be bad for you in some ways. While you get the mix of terrains, as a general rule you will end up mostly on firmer ground which can jolt your joints as you run. If you suffer from knee pain, from shin splints or from something similar, then running outdoors might not be for you and can actually be quite painful and cause long lasting problems.
Fortunately there is another option – running indoors. And if you do this then you will manage to negate the majority of the problems listed above, while at the same time adding some additional benefits.
For instance you won’t have the problem of jolting your joints and causing potential shin splints as much because you will be running on the softer treadmills. These absorb more impact and that means you won’t cause as much damage. At the same time by setting the incline to at least 1.5 you can improve the angle that you are jolting your knees at. This is a very effective and important way to limit the amount that jogging or running hurts your knees and causes problems.
Of course the problem of having anywhere to run is not a problem either. While running indoors may not be quite as scenic or as pleasant as running outdoors can be if you are lucky enough to live by some kind of park or nature reserve, it nevertheless is guaranteed to be at least warm and safe. You can come here no matter the weather and at any time of day as long as the gym is open (that’s the only drawback – it’s likely to be closed on Sundays). The fact that it’s warm means that you can wear a vest top and not worry about having to throw off layers as you go (you can even keep your water in a handy holder) and this will also make running easier as the air won’t be so thin and your joints won’t be aching in the damp and in the cold.
The Other Benefits of Running at the Gym
There are some more benefits of running at the gym however other than just the fact that some of the problems inherent in running outside are no longer an issue. For instance running at the gym means that you can better record what you are doing. You have sensors here that allow you to record your heart rate, to monitor your speed, to monitor the distance you’ve run and to estimate the number of calories burned. This then provides you with something called biofeedback which is where you have data provided to you about your body which you can then correlate with certain things. For instance then you can train yourself to increase the distance you run or the amount of time you run it in, and you can run for a specific amount of time until you’ve burned a certain amount of calories. Likewise you can also test to see which distances/incline etc will help you best to burn the calories. This kind of data allows you then to monitor your progress and your statistics and to tweak your training in accordance.
Of course it is possible to use biofeedback when running outside. For instance you can buy all manner of devices, monitors and straps which allow you to record your progress in various ways. You can even head online and set the distance you want to run and plan routes. However this all takes time, means setting up a lot of equipment and requires you to invest in the first place. This then means that many people just won’t use these facilities, whereas at the gym it’s already there and very easy to start. Another important point is that when you run outdoors – even if you’ve plotted the route – you will be subject to various confounding variables that your devices don’t account for – you might swerve around a bit, you might take breaks, you might go up various hills or across tougher ground etc. With the gym however the machine counts every variable and so the data is more accurate.
Another benefit of running at the gym is the fact that your treadmill will allow you to alter more variables. For instance then you can set a steep incline and have a whole session of running uphill. While this isn’t quite as good as running up natural hills which have bumps and curves and so train the finer muscles in your legs and feet, it nevertheless will provide you with a specific challenge and this won’t affect where you run etc.
Benefits of Running at Home
Of course the other option is that you get a treadmill at home – and this gives you the same facilities you get at a gym but right on your front door. Now you will be able to have all of the statistics and all of the warmth and comfort of the gym but without having to join and without having to leave your home. This then means that you can sing along out loud to your favorite music and it will mean that you are able to watch your favorite TV program. You can even set up a Kindle and read a book by propping it up on the treadmill.
What this then means is that you are far more likely to work out when you have less inspiration to do so. This is because you won’t need to travel anywhere (particularly useful when it’s cold and dark) and because you can still get on with the various things you may have been doing otherwise.
How to Run Outside Correctly
The best scenario of course is that you mix up running outside with running indoors and that you use whichever is most convenient or you are in the best mood for. There are still countless benefits to running outside and though it’s slightly harder this does mean your body is getting more muscle training.
Some of the problems with running outdoors can be circumvented with the right precautions. For instance if you suffer from knee problems or shin splints – make sure to get your shoes professionally fitted and your gait measured by someone who knows what they are doing. Likewise running on sand or grass can greatly help your joints while also providing tougher training. You should take the time to invest in biofeedback devices for running, and you should also try to find a running partner to stay safer and to give you that added motivation to go.