Running Outdoors vs Indoors: Hi all, I'm new... - Couch to 5K

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Running Outdoors vs Indoors


Hi all, I'm new, just joined up yesterday and I'm on W3 R2. I was curious how many of you run indoors or outdoors and what you think the benefits are? So far I've been doing it at home with an eye to progressing to the gym treadmill when there is less stopping and starting, but having read the other posts on here I'm wondering if I should be looking to venturing outdoors instead. Any thoughts? Do you guys find being outside more inspiring?

34 Replies

Outside for me. A whole different challenge factoring in weather and different terrain. I would certainly give outside a try. Good luck


I always run outside, and i am lucky enough to live near some woods. I cannot emphasize enough how much better I think this is as each run is an adventure with its own story... :)

Outdoors Pros: Fresh air, sky, birds, bees, nature.

Outdoors cons: Bugs, rain, birdcrap, volcanoes, getting slapped on backside by passing perv cyclists.

Gym Pros: Less ankle strain, no rain, air con, make eyes at your gym crush.

Gym cons: Smell of other gym users, Jeremy Kyle ir Homes under the Hammer on TV screens constantly, your gym crush sees you all sweaty and beetroot faced.

Pseud0nym in reply to Rignold

Volcanoes? Oh dear! Well, I suppose attempting to outrun the lava would force me to speed up!

GiGillGraduate in reply to Rignold

Hahahaha, love your attitude Rignold!! Definitely agree with your gym cons!


The first thing you need to know is that I am absolutely and utterly petrified of a treadmill so I am an advocate of the great outdoors.

There are pros and cons to both.

On the treadmill you can set a constant speed so you know how fast you are running and in theory it is less wearing on your joints than outdoor running but there is nothing like running outdoors, taking different routes, diving down pathways to see where it takes you.

I live in commuterville but on the edge so have a choice of running through the fields and woods, running up the hill to then run around all the various roads and pathways built to get you to the station, or running down the valley to our old town (uphill back). When you are outdoors you set your own pace so there is a danger of going off too fast, but just have oldfloss in your ear telling you to go slow and steady and that usually works.


There is a place for dreadmills..............but not in my running world.

I cannot begin to imagine how I would have the willpower to continue running faced with the stupefying boredom of looking at a wall. I am lucky, I live in a beautiful rural part of the world, so there was never any question in my mind that running meant being outdoors. I would never pay to be enclosed, in a sweat soaked gym, regardless of the weather, rather than watching the seasons pass as I run through fresh air in the countryside.

My boredom threshold is very low and I need sensory excitation to keep going. Even laps are tedious. It would be unfair of me to say there is no comparison, because the only time I have run on a treadmill was for a gait analysis..............but it was not like what I call running.

For many they serve a purpose, but the true joy of running for me is running across moorland or a ridgeway or a cliff path........that is life affirming........I don't think anyone had a life affirming experience on a dreadmill.

So not a fan of treadmills then....👍

I have run on treadmills in the past but for following this I have only gone outdoors. I love the fresh air, I love the fact that I can change my route at any given time and run down streets I would never usually walk down. I sometimes choose to run through the park. Most of the time I have no idea which way I am going to go until I get to a crossroads and choose. I also think that speed is easier to control when outside too.

BUT, running outside can be daunting, seeing people you may know, seeing strangers, seeing people who seem to be much better at running. I just put in my earphones and focus on what makes me happy.

The truth is, you can only do what works for you and what you feel most comfortable with.

Jancanrun in reply to MrsT82

You are so right - outside for me every time- even if occasionally the nuns on the run cut me up


I run on the treadmill and outdoors and really enjoy both. I love being out whether running round the common or on the parkrun but I also really enjoy popping some music on or hiding in the background on a work conference call while I pound out some distance on the 'mill. For me they're both equal parts of my running experience :)


My dog wouldn't like a treadmill 🐶

Ha, I imagine not! :D


If you are able.. go outside, it is amazing... so much to see, different weather, and people and all manner of things.. The different seasons, the different terrain...@rignold has put the case for both..( volcanoes!!! )... he did miss out low flying pheasants startled by a strange old running person ( me)!

Try it.... bet it makes you feel fantastic! Well done for starting this too! Keep posting!

Pseud0nym in reply to Oldfloss

Pheasants! I think I'm more likely to get attacked by seagulls around these parts, but I think I'll risk it and give a run along the promenade a go next week.

OldflossAdministrator in reply to Pseud0nym

Yeay!! I shall be running at the sea side next week too.. have not been seagulled yet!

Pseud0nym in reply to Oldfloss

Fingers crossed that both of us remain un-pecked then! ;)

OldflossAdministrator in reply to Pseud0nym


Hi - curious - what's W3 R2? I've been doing outside runs (only started this week) on the Couch to 5k run. I'm actually quite enjoying it. Might be different when the weather changes.

MrsT82 in reply to sarstan

It means Week 3 Run 2 :)

sarstan in reply to MrsT82


OldflossAdministrator in reply to sarstan

All weathers bring their own delights!!!! Honestly!

The only weather none of us, (or those who are sensible.. ( :)) won't run in, is when it is icy.... eeek! Nasty incident of ice skating ..unplanned.. taught me that lesson :)


I do both. I prefer outdoors if possible but can use a local gym without feeling too closed in as it has a huge window wall in front of the treadmills which lets me look out over a lough with boats, swans, people walking, etc.

I'll let shivani05 explain why the treadmill is a very good option for many of us runners:

I am pretty sure I would not have lasted so long (W9R1 tomorrow) if it wasn't for my treadmill.

Pseud0nym in reply to AninaG

That was an interesting post, thanks for the link. 😊


I have never run indoors, I don't have a treadmill and dont do gyms. I do however love taking part in this programme outdoors. Give it a go see what you prefer. 😊

I've just completed week 3 on a treadmill. The weather has been very warm and I chose to use to start c25k in the air conditioned gym. One reason I like the treadmill is that I can set a consistent pace and not go off too fast. I'm a lapsed runner and enjoying the structured approach of the program.

Week 4 starts on Monday.

I mentioned I'm currently running indoors at home with an eye for the gym treadmill, what I didn't explain is that I'm not currently running on a treadmill but on a trampet. I wasn't sure if it would work at first, but I didn't like the idea of speeding up and slowing down a treadmill in public as often as needed for the first few weeks. Given the way I had sweat streaming into my eyes after completing W3R2 yesterday it has to be doing some good and it definitely gets my heart rate up. Your balance needs to be pretty good not to topple off mid run but I think it would be a great idea for anyone starting out who has dodgy knees because you don't have the same impact you'd get elsewhere.

Option wise I'm fairly lucky, rather than my gym being small and enclosed the treadmills are aligned along a big upper floor window, each has its own TV screen or if you get one that is angled between buildings you can look out over the marina. I'm also lucky with my outdoor options, there are quite a few parks, and the promenade along the beach has some stunning views and is popular with walkers and cyclists so it feels safe. However once it gets later in the year and the clocks change I won't be going out in the dark, I'm much too paranoid to be out running in the dark on my own even if it is only 5pm!

I always run outdoors, I can't cope with running but going nowhere!

I find looking around at other people etc. distracts me enough that I don't notice how far I've gone :)

I started my C25k journey in a treadmill in the gym as it was part of my regular gym routine that my Macmillan trainer was working me on to help with my recovery after surgery for breast cancer. I think I had completed Week 3 or 4 when my daughter suggested running together. As she didn't have gym membership, and also because she wanted to run before work and didn't have time to get to the gym etc, we ran outside. I thought I was going to hate it, especially with no mechanics to tell me how fast or slow to run. But I actually loved it.

I try to avoid running inside, and I even found I enjoyed running all through the winter. As @oldfloss says, it's great to be out sharing the seasons and getting fresh air.

Razouski in reply to Razouski

I also meant to say that there are lots of apps that help with knowing how far or fast you're running. I use Map My Run on my phone. I also had Laura on the C25k podcasts when I was running the programme which was great. She tells you when to run and when to walk so you don't have to worry about the timings yourself.


I can't run inside and dislike gym atmosphere. For me it's always been outside regardless of the weather. It's all personal but outside, especially away from polluted roads, l feel better mentally and physically.

I run on a treadmill purely because of my working hours. I finish work at 10pm most evenings and really don't fancy running around the streets at those times at night. Although, once I have finished C25K (Fingers crossed!) I plan to take at least one hour a week out of my day for an outdoor run!


Much prefer outdoors. Will try running in the rain when weather changes (though I do wear glasses). Will have to see if I can manage when the pavements get slippery with leaves though... too old to get injured!!

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