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!!