Treadmill vs. Pavement Running

Planet Fitness, Wall St. photo by: Jay Denson

Planet Fitness, Wall St. photo by: Jay Denson

Ever find yourself dreading the treadmill? As winter is upon us, we weigh the differences between treadmill and pavement runs.

The “Dreadmill” as runners like to call it, can become such a bore! I mean lets face it, we all feel like a human hamster running on those things. No scenery, just a monitor (if you’re lucky) and the constant sound of your continuous footsteps. There are some Pros and Cons to both treadmill and pavement running and we’re going to dissect both.

The Dreadmill

dreadmillPros: We all hate the boring nature of the treadmill, but there are some benefits. Here are a few.

  • Treadmills are easier than running outdoors because you’re not dealing with natural elements like wind resistance and bad weather. In addition, unlike the pavement, the rotation of the treadmill is doing half the work for you. Experts suggest if you want to simulate outdoor running, set your treadmill to the incline position.
  • Lets be honest, the only reason most of us bother with treadmills is for the convenience. Be it weather related, or strapped for time, you can accomplish your goals when running outside is inconvenient.
  • Generally running on the treadmill is less stress on your body. That’s because the machine is absorbing most of the shock. It’s actually recommended if you’re recovering from injury and want to minimize the impact on your body.


  • The short-term effects of running on the treadmill is great in terms of stress. However the long-term effects is that your lower muscles (ie, quads, hamstrings, etc.) won’t be strong in comparison to running outdoors.
  • Treadmills is a continuous rolling mat. There’s no variety in terms of terrain, (pavement, trail, snow, etc.) are all essential in the development of our bodies. When we adapt too much to the treadmill, we aren’t conditioning our bodies to become stronger.
  • Running on the treadmill can turn into sheer boredom! Unless your gym is lucky enough to have a tv monitor, you’re forced to count the minutes until your workout is over and we all know how long a treadmill minute can last…FOREVER!


What’s great about the outdoors is variety. The world is your treadmill and you have the option of choosing your own courses. Not only does training outdoors make you a better runner, but you’re able to take in the scenery of everything that’s around you.

Staten Island Half 13Additional perks like group runs and races provide a social aspect to running. The treadmill isolates you, and all I ever found myself doing is looking over and being in competition with the person next to me.

Bored of the Treadmill? I found some cool workouts you can do. Yea, you’ll look like a total weirdo in the gym, but you’ll have fun!

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