With mince pies and festive feasts coming up, a lot of us will be considering our exercise regime and how to stay fit over the winter. You may be a seasoned runner or just thinking about taking it up to help keep that Christmas excess in check. The problem with this time of year is the weather: do you run inside or out, or a mixture of both?
What are the differences?
Gyms tend to be very accessible and plentiful. They usually always have a good stock of treadmills waiting to be used. The downside is that you will need to pay a monthly (or per use) fee. When at the gym, there will be like-minded people seeking to improve their fitness which means you can stay motivated. You will also benefit from the warmth and safety of being inside, as well as the fact everything you need is in one place. You could even watch a TV while you run, although this isn't always conducive to a good workout.
The outdoors are always there, it will never be too busy and it is free. All you need is a little motivation and a 30-minute run. It is incredibly accessible. The downside here is, of course, the weather and the surfaces. You may have to work harder and be careful. It is more motivating to run outdoors as the scenery keeps things interesting and it is more refreshing than staring at a blank wall for 30 minutes!
Which is better?
Treadmills are great for setting and maintaining a pace. You can use them in any weather and they are brilliant for endurance training. You can develop and maintain a good stride and have a tailor made run. The downside is boredom and it may well put you off going back. On the other hand, when running outside there is a lot to see and once you get so far into your run, you still have to run back, so motivation is a huge factor. It is free and you can do it with other things, such as running errands, running with friends and so on. The downside is the weather. It can be cold and damp. There are also hazards like cars and people getting in the way that you need to consider.
In the end, it is up to you and your preferences. Running is a great exercise and done correctly, it will improve your fitness. If you cant decide, then you can use both methods and use the gym and the outdoors. If you like to tune out to music and just run thought free, the gym could be for you. Or if you need changing scenery, consider outdoor running, just get the right kit.