Machines? In or out

Just a little discussion on whether runners of all ages and skills prefer to use either old school road/cross-country running as the training, or cardio based machines such as treadmills, cross trainers, fixed bikes, and so on. Also whether people like to use a combination. I am currently studying sports science and evidence suggests that a combination of both would be beneficial but obviously this can and will vary.


  • I love outdoor running, it's what keeps me going. I do use a treadmill once per week as it really helps me set my pace correctly and judge my improvements.

  • Thats what I thought it would be good for, the pace setting and may look to use it to better myself.

  • I mostly find running exciting because of the changing scenery, people around me and freedom to set my own pace / terrain. I also find the repetitive action of treadmills leads to discomfort and ultimately niggles. I resort to using them in high winds and when it gets dark for much of the day in winter.

    I do like to use spin bikes for tough interval work, though. Stuff that might be dangerous to do out on the roads.
  • Prefer outdoor running. Have a cheap treadmill at home which I use when weather is really bad or if I'm doing shorter distance (up to 5 miles).

  • Good stuff, I agree that outdoors is much more satisfying.

  • I'm all for the old school cardio training including cross training like cycling, only really use cardio machines if the weather is pretty bad. 

  • Fair enough this seems to be a trend, I do think they could be utilized more!

  • Yea I know what you mean, I think it just comes down to personal prefrences for most people really. 

  • Yeah also it could be the fact that people get in the mind set of purely outdoor running. Treadmill use for example could be used to great affect (pace and speed control) but it does get tedius.

  • For me, outdoors any day / weather. I only touch cross trainers if I have a running injury.
  • Interesting, used as a rehab method then?
  • TimeaJTimeaJ ✭✭✭

    I prefer running outdoors but when the weather is absolutely horrendous, I just use a treadmill. I also opt for a treadmill when I do speed intervals because it gives me more control over and information about my pace and timing. I like to mix treadmill runs with running outdoors because I feel that the treadmill provides a nicer surface for my knees and feet after having spent hours punding the hard pavement.

  • Both have their place and can easily be mixed.  You can't beat running outside for the quality of the run in terms of view, variability and just sheer fun.  A treadmill can provide some good training on dark nights though and especially if you live somewhere it is difficult to run in the dark.  Other machines can give a good cross training experience and also provide a non impact CV workout during injury. 

    Strangely lots of people criticise the use of treadmills but potentially use other indoor machines.  You don't hear people having a go at rowing machines and telling people to get themselvesa rowing boat for a better experience.

  • I agree jf50 and believe a combination of both may be needed to achieve optimum
  • Anyone ever tried making their dog run on a treadmill? 

  • LOL no I have not, but WKD advert says that it works haha

  • Yes, treadmills are widely used in therapy for dogs recovering from injury. There was also a woman on dragons den who pitched the idea (which was taken up in the Den). Dogs get treadmills and swimming pools, and all I have is a skanky old pair of trainers.image

  • Virgin Active were giving out vouchers for a free trial day in town. I'll use hotel gyms when travelling, for the bike. Why would I run on a machine when outside is over there? *points*

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Used to use the treadmill until it cut out during an interval session. WTF!!!!!! not gone near the bastard machine since.

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