Trail Running vs Treadmill

Trail Running vs Treadmill: The Pros and Cons

Estimated read time: 3 minutes.

If you’re a runner, you know that there are many different ways to get your miles in. You can hit the pavement, take to the trails, or even stay indoors on a treadmill. Each has its own set of pros and cons. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of trail running vs. treadmill running.

Trail Running

There are a few things that make trail running a great workout. First of all, trail running is a great way to explore the outdoors. If you’re someone who loves nature, there’s nothing better than being able to take in some fresh air while you get your run in. 

Additionally, trail running can be a more challenging workout than treadmill running because of the varied terrain. Hills, roots, rocks, and other obstacles make trail running a great way to work your legs and core muscles.

However, there are also some drawbacks to trail running. First of all, it can be difficult to find a safe place to run if you don’t live near woods or trails. Additionally, weather conditions can sometimes make trail running impossible or dangerous. Finally, if you’re not used to running on uneven ground, you may be more susceptible to injuries like twisted ankles or pulled muscles.

Treadmill Running

Treadmill running has its own set of pros and cons compared to trail running. First of all, treadmill running is much easier on your joints than running on concrete or asphalt. The cushioned surface of a treadmill is easier on your knees and ankles than even the most well-maintained trails. 

Additionally, treadmills are very convenient; you can usually find one at your local gym, and they’re easy to use. You can also tailor your workout on a treadmill more easily than you can when you’re outside; for example, if you want to do hill repeats or tempo runs, it’s easy to adjust the incline and speed on a treadmill.

However, there are some drawbacks associated with treadmill running as well. First of all, it can be very boring; unlike when you’re outside, you’re stuck staring at the same wall or TV screen for the entire duration of your run. 

Additionally, you won’t get the same level of resistance training when you run on a treadmill because the belt moves underneath you; when you run outside, your muscles have to work harder to push off of the ground with each step. Finally, treadmills can be expensive; a good quality treadmill can cost several thousand dollars.


So which is better—trail running or treadmill running? Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. If you enjoy being outdoors and don’t mind varying weather conditions and terrain, then trail running is probably for you. 

However, if you prefer a more controlled environment where you can easily track your progress and tailor your workout, then treadmill running might be better suited for you. Regardless of your choice, remember that the important thing is just to get out there and run!


Do I need any special equipment for trail running?

No, you don’t need any special equipment for trail running. However, it might be helpful to invest in a pair of trail running shoes (which have more tread and support than traditional running shoes) and some GPS device so you can keep track of your location on the trails. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to carry water with you when you run, especially if you’re going to be out for a while

What are some good treadmill workouts for runners?

If you’re looking for some good treadmill workouts, here are a few ideas:
Intervals: alternate between periods of fast and slow running or between different inclines to give your workout a boost
Tempo runs: gradually increase your speed throughout your run to push yourself
Hill repeats: adjust the incline on the treadmill and do sets of repeats at a challenging but manageable incline
Long slow distance: for days when you want to get in some easy miles, a long slow distance run is always a good option

Can I use my regular running shoes on the treadmill?

Yes, using your regular running shoes on the treadmill is perfectly fine. Since the surface is already fairly cushioned, you don’t need too much extra support or traction when you’re running on a treadmill.

Joseph Peele