Thursday, July 7, 2011

Treadmills Benefit Runnners Ranging From Beginners to Marathoners

As a fitness blogger many people have asked me over the years what the pros and cons are of running on a treadmill.

Years of personal experiences, research and talking with others in the fitness industry lead me to say it's practically a 100 percent win-win situation to train on a treadmill for any type of runner.

Really, there are two different types of people who use treadmills: advanced runners and people interested in overall fitness-weight loss.

Let's start with the fitness-weight loss group, who are likely not running with as much intensity or the duration as the first group. If you are running (or walking) on a treadmill to basically be in good overall shape and lose weight, there's no disadvantage to benefits you'd get running outside.

Calories burned running inside are the same as those burned on the street or on a track. Likewise, your cardio benefits are even. The treadmill is actually a better option in many instances because it is more likely to prevent injury, offers a safer place to run and more convenience.

For competitive runners, the treadmill benefits are very similar to what they'd achieve outside as well. The aforementioned safety and convenience factors are the same. The ability to set a treadmill to pre-programmed workouts, which can give you inclines and declines and force you to stick to a pace, can actually be better than running outside.

The only disadvantages are that the mechanics of running on a treadmill are ever-so slightly different than running outside. You don't get the experience of dealing with running in different types of weather (especially dealing with wind), sometimes uneven surfaces and hill training is not quite the same.

The solution is simple for serious runners: put mileage in on both a treadmill and outdoors. I know marathoners who put a good amount of their mileage in in treadmills to save wear and tear on their legs. It may be a little boring to run for an hour or more on a treadmill, but pop in a DVD on the TV or listen to some good music to help pass the time indoors.

As with any type of exercises it's better to get a variety. Even serious weightlifter isn't going to grind his body with free weights all the time and a runner should mix up the surfaces they put mileage on. Bottom line: a treadmill is a great asset to have for any type of runner, from beginner to marathoner.

Aaron Dorksen, sports editor of The Daily Record in Wooster, Ohio, has won numerous Associated Press state and national awards. He was voted Ohio AP sports writer of the year in 2006. Dorksen was a scholastic multi-sport athlete and is still a competitive slowpitch softball player, while also remaining an avid weightlifter, cyclist and runner.

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