After lifting today I decided to take a run for my cardio. I have set a goal for myself of running a 5k in under 30 minutes by the end of the summer so I’ve been trying to get out for at least one run each week. I waited too long to get to the gym today so by the time I was ready to go running it was too hot outside to take my run outside. To the “dreadmill” it was! While I was running I was thinking a lot about the differences between running outside and running indoors. I never really thought about it before but there are definitely pros and cons to both!
I found it was easier to track my time. Every time I adjusted the speed I could see the change in what my time was which was motivating. It made me want to keep my speed up and helped me keep tabs on my time so I could easier reach my goal. When I’m outside I just kind of go at my own pace and find out at the end how I did. Its hard to know if I’m pushing too hard, not enough, or am going at just the right pace. I don’t get the same workout on a treadmill, though, that’s for sure. There is no terrain changes, no hills, no downhills, unless I change the incline myself. And that’s where the mental aspect comes in to play. Running outside, it’s just about me and the road. The only mental barrier I have to push through is to keep myself running at a decent clip for the whole 3 miles. I can’t give up until the end because even if I stop running I would still have to walk all the way back to where I started and, if that’s the case, I might as well keep running and finish sooner! On the treadmill I don’t have the distraction of the scenery so it can get boring. I can also stop any time I want and just get off the treadmill and be done with it. I also have to spend the entire run staring at the handrails strategically placed in front of me, wanting so desperately to grab on. I can’t decide if the mental workout that I experience on a treadmill is beneficial or detrimental. On the one hand, the sense of accomplishment I feel at the end of treadmill workout is much greater than an outdoor run; I have just spent half an hour busting my butt physically but I also didn’t give up on myself and didn’t grab on to those handrails! But during the course of the run I am afraid that being so mentally challenged takes away from the physical workout. I don’t want to turn up the speed so fast that I get too tempted to grab onto the handrails, but I don’t want to go so slow that I am not pushing myself. I also find that I don’t play with the incline as much as I should. Outside I don’t have to mentally push myself to change the incline because the world does that for me!
If you had to choose, would you rather run inside or outside? I think that, even though my run today was faster than my other outdoor runs, I would rather run outdoors any day! It’s so much more enjoyable, you can run a new route with every single run, and you don’t have to deal with those darn handrails calling your name for the entire run!