It’s a Monday morning in the middle of July in Cape Town, South Africa. 7am I drive to the gym in the dark to get my first run in of the week.
But, on this Monday morning, where it should be the depth of winter… I quickly come to realize that this will be the most beautiful sunrise, it’s already 20 degrees outside and there is NO wind blowing. (rare for this part of the world) I take a sharp left on the R44 and drive down to the beach, for my first outdoor/coastal run since moving back to South Africa.
And this was my experience…
If you can block out the cat calling, and the obvious irrational fear of being attacked for your phone and car keys that you are stupidly running with in your hands because you didn’t prepare properly, you can actually start taking in the scenery. And what an absolutely gorgeous view it was. Breathing in the fresh ocean air first thing in the morning and feeling you shoes hitting the side walk definitely has a few if not a lot more physiological benefits than running on a treadmill looking straight in front of you in the gym.
I soon as I get comfortable with my pace, I start looking around, noticing details on the buildings I’ve never bothered looking up to, waves crashing next to me, people commuting to work. But I feel like I’m flying. Sure, I have loads of work to do, but this feeling, I want it to last a bit longer. It was only a short run as I didn’t have much time but the time definitely flew 100 times faster than running on a treadmill. I feel addicted to this feeling now and I can’ wait to go on another unplanned perfect weather run. Until then, you will find me on the treadmill. My safe space.
Here are the Pro’s of both though:
- You can keep your phone, keys, water, towel at hand without running with stuff in your hands.
- You set your speed/pace and tend to stick to it better.
- Safety (It’s South Africa after all)
- It’s easier, the treadmill belt assists your leg turnover.
- Scenery. So much to look at and take in, it makes time go faster.
- Fresh air. (Totally underrated)
- You adapt to your surrounding better incl. weather and running around people.
- Soft tissue conditioning that occurs with road running. (Does not occur with treadmill running because the plate or base on the treadmill “gives” more than road surfaces)
That being said, outdoor running is definitely beneficial when training for a race, but I will continue doing both. But it’s always good to have a back up, either way.