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Treadmill vs. Road Runs

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Good article recommended today on my start page comparing treadmill and road runs:

My Galloway Program Director has recommended that I get at least 2 outdoor runs per week along with one treadmill, and most of the time I do that. This article gives the details on why she makes that recommendation. To sum it up: "Overall, outdoor running is more functional, uses more muscle fibers and burns more calories for the same amount of work when compared with a treadmill." I almost always get my 2 weekly runs outdoors. The exception is when there are lightning storms during my planned run. Maybe twice a year I end up with 2 treadmill runs in a week. A TM run is always better than no run.

The article doesn't address several factors that are important to me. One is that when I run on the YMCA treadmill child care is available. So I can get a short run in by getting up at 5 or 5:30 am to run, shower, and get the kids by 7:15 when I'm needed, or I can sleep an hour later, take the kids to the nursery/Y pals (which they enjoy) and get my workout in. I do have a treadmill at home, but that is plan C. It isn't near as nice as the Y's treadmills and I enjoy seeing people I know and feeling like I'm running in a group. Often there are 10 or 12 of us going on the treadmill. I see many slower and many faster than me, and I find the camaraderie motivating.

The article talks about the benefits of Vitamin D from the sun. True, however, the skin cancer risk cannot be ignored. My mother (genetic link obviously) has had many skin cancers removed. My hubby (shared environmental factors) has had both squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas removed. Skin cancers are the only cancers increasing in number in the USA according to ABC news this week. I usually dowse sun screen good, but it is not 100%. I dislike the feel of sun screen on my skin. The Banana Boat spray is the best I've found, but I'm still not a fan. And vanity, those dark age spots on my hands and forehead just get awful in the sun. Finding shady running areas is a challenge; few have 50% or more shade.

The article does comment on safety. Having fallen twice, and feeling that falls are probably the biggest reason I would quit running, I appreciate the feeling of safety I get on the treadmill. Yes, once a long time ago, I fell on the treadmill, but it truly was a klutzy move that just a little care would prevent. Outdoors there are many more hazards to overcome, which can be a fitness plus, but a safety negative.

The article also didn't address what I did yesterday and know that several of my SparkFriends do, too. We do a combo treadmill/outdoor run on the same day. This week Gwen is in Jellyfish Camp and I can leave the Y building from 9am-noon. (When she's in the nursery I'm required to be in the building and pick her up within 2 hours,) So Monday I ran outside until I got really hot and then came inside to run the treadmill. Sometimes I run treadmill until I get bored and then take it outside. One thing that my Y does not offer is an air conditioned inside running track. I certainly would benefit from it, but not sure there is enough demand here.

Bottom line: I will continue to enjoy the variety of indoor and outdoor runs!!

PS I got a clean bill of health from my colonoscopy today. My previous one in August of 2008 when I weighed about 190 found a polyp, but no abnormalities today. That high fiber diet, exercise, and good living may not be the cause, but it certainly didn't hurt!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Lots of great information! Congratulations on your clean bill of health!
    1302 days ago
    emoticon emoticon and emoticon on your clean bill of health!
    1303 days ago
    Congrats on having an excellent report from your doctor. I had a treadmill at one time but no room for one now. I would rather walk outside anyway.
    1303 days ago
    Congrats on the good report from the colonoscopy!
    1304 days ago
    Great information! And yes, sleeping in and taking the g'kids to Y pals is a great plan :D
    1304 days ago
  • _LINDA
    emoticon you are in good colon health!!
    I love outdoor hikes, but yes, the risk of falls is great. I enjoy both high intensity indoor exercise as well as out. Sometimes you just have to take a risk to enjoy life to the fullest!
    There has been no cancer of the skin in my family which is a miracle as both my Mom and sister are avid sunbathers. I always wear a hat, but am not so good with the sunscreen unless I know we will be hiking on a sunny trail facing the sun -I like the dark, wooded trails while Mom prefers the sunlight. We compromise by hiking out in the sun one way and shade coming back. I too, hate the feel of sunscreen and especially on my lips.
    You sure have your runs scheduled well -good on you for being so organized with your time in spite of the full time child care!
    1304 days ago
  • B-NANA
    What a great blog. Keep this up and you'll be writing the SP articles.
    1304 days ago
    Very interesting read about treadmill versus outdoor running. I have had little things frozen off a few times, so I know about the risk particularly those of us who are fair-skinned expose ourselves to in the sun. Still not a big fan of sunscreens... but I use them more than I used to!

    And woo-hoo for that clean bill of health! emoticon

    1304 days ago
    Congratulations on the good medical report. emoticon
    1304 days ago
    Awesome news Marsha! Good for you! Keep doing what you are doing!
    1304 days ago
    Congrats on the all clear -- you gotta feel very very good about that!!

    And I liked your analysis of treadmill versus outdoor running -- changing it up!! (I do like the "forest bathing" effects of being outside . . . but don't have your climate issues. Or alligators!!)
    1304 days ago
  • KLONG8
    I always preferred being outdoors to running inside. BUT sometimes it's the best answer. These days I walk and I really prefer what goes on around me walking. Sometimes it's the best time of my day! Good news about the colonoscopy. Tests always make you a bit nervous but it such a welcome relief when you see all is well.
    1304 days ago
    so glad you got a clean bill of health and that you are going to commit to getting both outside and inside runs in.
    good for you!
    1304 days ago
    glad you had a clean result Marsha!
    1304 days ago
  • FROSTY99
    emoticon for a great report on your colonoscopy. Makes one appreciate that eating right and exercise can make a difference.
    1304 days ago
  • GABY1948
    I agree with MARGARITTM and you need to do what is best for you! You have very legitimate reasons for not being out in the FL sun. My dad when he lived there had so many spots that he always was in long sleeves and hat when he went outside.

    GREAT on the colonoscopy, my dad died of colon cancer but I have been blessed to never have even had a polyp so I know your exhilarance in that!

    1304 days ago
    I'm not a runner, but a walker so it's nice to hear the "tips" about exercising outside as opposed to TM. I too am afraid of falling and more than once, DH and a friend have caught me before I hit the ground. Still, I love being outside.

    Congrats congrats congrats on the clean butt health!!! It's a wonderful thing to be healthy!!!
    1304 days ago
    When I started running it was strictly on my treadmill. Then when I took it outside, I could barely go a mile! The terrain here is very hilly and I wasn't using the incline on the treadmill. It took me a long time to be able to go any distance outside. Now I hate the idea of using the treadmill and I avoid it at all costs, though I know that there are going to be times when the weather doesn't allow for outdoor running. And good for you for protecting your skin! I have a bad habit of not putting on sunscreen even though I am a firm believer in it.
    1304 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    First, I am so glad you got a clean bill of health on the Colonoscopy. They are not fun tests to have to go through but vital to stay on top of things.
    I find your way of running really interesting. I like the outdoors best as well but I do love my treadmill in inclement weather and being in MN, we have lots of weather that is not condusive for running outside. Some do but I am not that kind of person!
    You are such an inspiration to me that you run so much! Way to go. KEep up the excellent work!
    1304 days ago
    Interesting article; thanks for sharing it.
    1305 days ago
    Variety is great! Yay for a clean colonoscopy !!
    1305 days ago
    Good for you - you have to do what works for you.
    1305 days ago
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