I get asked a lot of questions from women about whether it is better to run on a treadmill or outside, or if there is any difference. And some women have told me that their calves look smaller when running on a treadmill compared to running outside. So I wanted to do a blog post on the differences between treadmill running vs outdoor running.

Benefits of Treadmill Running


One of the biggest advantages of having access to a treadmill is that you can run or walk whenever you like, even when it’s raining, too cold or too hot outside.treadmill running vs outdoor running

Track Your Progress

For me, the best thing about running on a treadmill is that you can keep an accurate eye on your speed and distance. This is really great if you are trying to improve or are training for an event. But it is not necessary.treadmill running vs outdoor running


You can run on the treadmill at any time of the day and not be worried about your own personal safety. I know I have been worried about my safety on several occasions when running outside, and it’s not a nice feeling.

Benefits of Outdoor Running

Getting Outdoors

There’s just something different about going for a run outside. You get fresh air, it’s not as boring, you get to see the scenery, other people, etc.treadmill running vs outdoor running

It’s Free!

You can run outside whenever you like and you don’t have to pay a cent! Buying your own treadmill is very expensive and having a gym membership is also an expense.treadmill running vs outdoor running



In terms of your cardio fitness / endurance, there shouldn’t be a difference between running outside or on the treadmill. It is easier to track your speed on a treadmill so this may see you progress quicker, but the difference would be very minimal. Plus, you can also track your speed outside if you map your run online and time how long it takes you. So the answer to this one is NO, running on a treadmill should not be any different to running outside.


I know a lot of women notice that their calves are smaller when they run on a treadmill. The only thing I can put this down to is the fact the treadmill moves underneath you so probably don’t need to engage your calf muscles as much as running outside, when you need to push off the ground harder. For me personally, I don’t experience any physical difference between running outside or on a treadmill. But it’s really up to the individual.

I much prefer outside running / walking, but I will happily do it on a treadmill if I need to. It’s really a matter of personal preference and how you think your body changes as a result xx

2 Responses

  1. Hi Rachael-
    I’m hoping to get your program for the new year but my only concern is I run for about 40-50 minutes 4 to 5 times a week with no power walking currently. I am scared that since my body is used to running this Milege, incorporating power walking and knocking off some of my running, will make me gain weight. How should I approach the cardio part of the workout if I follow your program? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Holly, this shouldn’t be an issue if you eat well and follow the nutrition part of my eBook. I don’t think you’ll gain weight. My program does also include running (but not 5 times per week though). So you can always go really hard with the runs in my eBook! But I really don’t think it will be a problem xx

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