So Is one easier that the other ? the big question.
scientific research has shown that running on the treadmill is roughly the same as running outside if you make a few simple adjustments.
for example , by setting the treadmill at a 1% grade, you can offset the lack of wind resistance and the belt moving under your feet to make your run the same effort as running outdoors.
Other benefits of treadmill running is the use of ankle and wrist weights without looking like a strangely dressed space man running down the street ! I also like to train without a shirt in summer as I sweat like race horse. Being indoors has its advantages.
You can also dramatically increase your cardio on a treadmill without concern of fatigue or " getting back home" meaning you can push your limits through the roof with the knowledge that you can simply jump off and recuperate for a minute or two. I find on the tarmac I keep a few reserves as to tackle a hill climb or grassy section.
But in saying all that It still as monotonous as hell running on the mouse wheel for km after km.
Where as running outside at 4:30 am when the sun comes up and the birds are chirping, wind in your hair, all that jazz, is revitalizing!
Also once I start my run outside I WILL finish it without cutting any corners or stopping as I might on a treadmill I get no interference or excuses, I have to get back home.
You may not have heard of Tabata Training yet but did you know it can burn a whopping 13.5 calories a minute and double a person's metabolic rate for 30 minutes afterward!
Tabata is an early form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), started in the 1990s by Japanese professor Izumi Tabata.
Tabata training has been invaluable to me as a motivational tool and extreme cardio builder.
It was introduced to be by a boxing/MMA coach "Sam " in Port Macquarie when I lived there a few years ago.
I base my Tabata interval training in two different categories. The first style is designed for 100% cardio annihilation! The other is weight training. I use a Tabata timer on my phone. It's a free app called "Tabata Stopwatch Pro". I set this at 4 rounds, each round consisting of 8 sets - 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off, with a minute rest in between each round. I start jogging at 12 km per hour for the first round increasing the speed by 2 km e.g. 12 km,
14 km, 16 km and so on. The theory behind this style of interval training is that you trick your heart rate to believe that you continued to run the whole time, even whilst stopping for a 10 second breather. Your heart rate does not decrease virtually at all while you stop for 10 seconds yet your body/joints/ligaments etc. get a quick regeneration ready to pump through the next 20 seconds of torture.
Under normal circumstances the average fit person would severely struggle to sprint 16 km or 22 km per hour for 4 minutes straight! I find this a great way to stretch my cardio to extremes on levels I would not normally subject myself to running outdoors.
As my much loved "hand me down" treadmill only goes 16 km per hour max, I wear ankle and wrist weights up to 10 kg and incline 1.5% to simulate a bit more of a realistic run, as many believe the treadmill work out to be a slight advantage.
The other Tabata workout I use is weight training. I use the same 20 sec on, 10 sec off X 8 sets and I do this 4 repeats. So for example Friday - chest day, I do flat bench press, super-set flys, super-set incline bench press, super-set chest dips, super-set.....you get the idea. This will get your heart rate way higher than normal paced weight training giving you a good dose of cardio mixed in with you weights.
Its a great method to utilise if you are cutting weight, as this will burn calories similar to a fast paced walk or jog. The obvious down side is that you may find you need to drop your size of your weights as there is next to no rest time in between reps, but I still find this an acceptable sacrifice for all the extra cardio.
All in all Tabata is a great way to add motivation to your normal training routine. The timer acts like a fitness coach, driving you to keep pushing through boundaries and burn calories.
The best thing about this tabata workout is, the whole workout is only 20 minutes! Leaves me less excuse and less time looking at Facebook on my phone while sitting on my bench in between weights and I know exactly what I’m in for every time.