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The benefits and limitations of running indoors – an interview with Kira Mahal, CEO of MotivatePT

There are benefits and limitations to running indoors, but ultimately it comes down to what it is you're training for

Male-Running-Indoors-On-TreadmillRunning indoors has many benefits, but a change of scenery isn't one of them

Kira Mahal is the CEO of MotivatePT – a website and app connecting those wanting to get fit with personal trainers. Perfect for those wanting a one-on-one PT and for businesses to help motivate their staff as a team. We got to chat with Kira and get her thoughts on what she considers to be both the benefits and limitations to running indoors versus outdoors.

Kira-Mahal-MotivatePT
Kira Mahal is the CEO of MotivatePT

Whether you are running indoors or outdoors, the benefits of exercising are the same but there are many different limitations and advantages of each. Whether you are training for a marathon or just want to get that quick sweat on; there might be a better option for you.

Benefits to running indoors

Some people simply don’t like to or don’t want to run outdoors, so they go indoors. Whether that’s on a treadmill at home or at their local gym. Whilst it doesn’t sound as thrilling as running outdoors, running indoors has many benefits, including;

Versatility

Treadmills have the benefit of adjusting settings. You can go for a nice walk on an 4% incline or you could do sprints. This option for versatility is great for people who need to constantly switch up their workout routine in order to keep it interesting.

Even surface

On a treadmill, you get a flat and forgiving surface, that way you can decrease aches and pains. Running on a 1% incline is a great way to avoid those symptoms.

No distractions

Running on a treadmill is safe and predictable. When you are indoors, there is no wind, rain, cars, trees or any other hazards. You can zone into your workout and focus on your goals rather than your personal safety.

Convenience

If the weather is horrible and running outside is not an option, the treadmill is always there. If you need a quick run to bring the heart rate up and don’t feel like getting ready to go outside, the treadmill is a great option. No excuses not to train!

Running-Indoors-Treadmill
Running indoors can be handy, especially when the weather isn’t too great
Limitations to running indoors

Whilst there are many benefits to running indoors, there are just as many limitations. A few include;

No scenery

Running on the treadmill all the time may become boring because you are staring at the same background and the same four walls! To switch up the scenery, consider going outside for a run to challenge yourself. When running outdoors, you get fresh air and can enjoy the nature which will also boost your mental well-being. An outdoors backdrop will inevitably be more inspiring, whilst also encouraging you to run for further.

Finding the right pace

When you are training for a marathon or race, it is hard to practice on a treadmill therefore you should head outside. When running on a treadmill, it is easy to just lock into a target pace which doesn’t teach you how to properly find and maintain a pace on your own. Running outdoors will help you find that pace and therefore, you will feel prepared for the race day and whatever conditions it may throw at you.

No running partner

Running on a treadmill is a solo activity. Sometimes it is nice to get in your zone and run by yourself but having a running partner or personal trainer is a great way to keep motivated. Implementing a running crew will increase your accountability and will make running more fun.

If you’re looking for running partners, there are many local running events you can get involved in. Parkrun UK is a good place to start, or check out our Events Calendar if you’re looking for something more challenging.

Functionality

Running outdoors prepares you for simulating daily activities, while running indoors is more repetitive and predictable. Running outdoors requires balance because of the uneven surfaces or uphill/downhill trails. Therefore you can really put your skills to the test when running outdoors and push yourself in a different way.

Running-Outdoors
You can mix up your scenery as much as you like when running outdoors
So, is it better to run indoors or outdoors?

The bottom line is that it all depends on which you prefer; running outdoors or indoors. Each have the same benefits and are great for your physical and mental health, but some people prefer to be outside in nature and others prefer the accountability of a treadmill.

In order to increase the challenge of running indoors and keep it exciting, make sure to switch up the incline. Running at a 1% incline will better stimulate your energy expenditure. Determine what your running goal is; preparing for a marathon or just logging cardiovascular minutes. This will help you decide whether running indoors or outdoors is more beneficial.

Sam Summers
the authorSam Summers
Editor
Sam is a regular gym goer who loves a strong spin or step class. Her main fitness goal is to look super buff for her wedding and also to start lifting heavier weights.

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