Running: a word that either brings you joy or dread. No matter your stance, it is generally a part of life. However, if you do enjoy a nice run as part of your workout routine, or are hoping to add running into your exercise line-up soon, it is important to consider all the variables that take place before you take off on your next adventure!

Indoor vs. Outdoor

The indoor treadmill versus overground running outside has been a long debate. It mostly boils down to personal preference, although there are some things you should be aware of. Treadmill running utilizes a belt underneath you, and with no wind or real weather deterring you, theoretically, it is easier to conduct your run. While running outside, you have to deal with the wind resistance, even if it is very minor. However, it is widely accepted that if you set your treadmill to a 1% grade, it will better align with the experience of real outdoor running.

One of the major benefits to the treadmill is its ability to simulate many types of runs. This can be helpful if you are training to conquer some specific area of land you won’t always have access to, say a marathon located elsewhere in the future. Many treadmills allow you to create a profile to mimic the outdoor terrain, and for those that do not, you can easily just adjust the incline as you run. You can even put weights underneath your treadmill if you need to practice running downhill.

It is important to know that running on a treadmill forever does have its impact on your outdoor running. Consider the fact that a treadmill doesn’t help you find your own pace, since typically, on a treadmill, you quickly settle into a pace for your whole workout. And of course - always know that the treadmill can bore you more easily than a real outdoor run - with scenery around you, you might end up running longer due to the fact that you won’t want to sneak a look at the clock every few seconds.

Morning vs. Evening

Typically this debate is usually settled by personal preference, but there are some things to think about before you set your early morning alarm, or if you snooze and push your run off into later in the day. It is thought that a run in the morning before work or school is positive and motivating. However, your immune system is at its lowest in the beginning of the day and engaging in a workout can make your body susceptible to infection. Exercise in the beginning of the day may also feel rougher because your metabolism is lower, meaning there is less circulating adrenaline. In addition, your lungs may find it harder to take in oxygen because, after a night’s sleep, airways are typically blocked more than they are a few hours after waking up. If you decide to run in the morning,  it is important to make sure to definitely stretch beforehand, as your body will be tight after having slept. As for good news - if you decide to wake up to run, skip breakfast beforehand and refuel afterwards - your body will burn fat stores quicker.

Evening runs are thought to be risky because, if running at night time, it’ll be hard to see surroundings and makes it easier to trip or stumble. After a run, your body temperature will be higher - which can make sleeping afterwards harder because your body needs to slow and chill before heading to bed. A post-run routine at night is very important, specifically jumping into a very hot shower. Once you get out of the water, you will feel chilly right away which will help cool your body down.

If you have the time to do a midday run, this may be one of the best times to get in your exercise. While it may not boost your actual run, it has a lot of benefits for the rest of your work day with increased productivity.

City vs. Suburban

When it comes to deciding between an outdoor city or suburban run, sometimes you don’t have an option. Your place of residence tends to be where you conduct your exercise, however, if you have easy access to both, then it means a constant debate as to what terrain is your preference.

Of course, there are the obvious aesthetic differences right off the bat - some runners might enjoy encountering fun landmarks on their run while others would prefer a less distracting background of houses and local businesses. There’s also the question of noise and light, while cities often have a lot of noise pollution, they are almost always brightly lit (sometimes, maybe, too bright). However, the suburbs are typically quiet and mostly well lit, even though there could be the occasional street with a streetlamp out. Some people note that if you are in a city and can run on a bike path or in a park, you won’t be hard for oncoming traffic to spot, while in a more suburban location, most running is on the roads (especially in areas where there are limited sidewalks) making it harder for cars to navigate around you.

Another factor to take into consideration is fueling up for your run - if you are running in a city and find yourself extremely thirsty, typically, there will be a water fountain or convenience store somewhere along your path. Depending on where you are in the suburbs, you may be isolated - meaning that you have to anticipate what you will need along the way and prepare in advance.

Group vs. Individual

Running with a group can be an interesting way to switch up your running workout, especially because running is typically an individual activity.

When you run with a group, you’ll always be held accountable - if you skip the run, there will be people to call you out on missing the workout. This motivation is integral when it comes to getting into a routine. Speaking of a routine, running with a group can achieve just that - if you and your group make a schedule, there will be a set time you run on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis because of this. Running with a group also allows an easy way to learn new skills through others - observe those who you run with and hopefully their good habits will rub off onto you!
Running alone also has it perks - if you are running for pleasure more so than pushing yourself to do a hard workout, then you don’t have to worry about keeping up with others, and instead just working out for leisure. Working out solo also allows you to take every moment at your own pace - meaning that you can make sure you have a satisfying warm-up and cool-down. Running is also thought as a good means to clear your head and going solo is the only way to properly achieve this!

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