Treadmills: The Great Debate

A popular (and often heated) debate on the Brown Running Club is the comparison between training on treadmills or on roads. When winter hits Providence, the cold weather and icy conditions can make sidewalks unusable and simply walking to class underdressed can lead to frostbite. Moreover, the nearly fifteen hours of darkness means that running in daylight is not always an option. Occasionally, these conditions force our runners to make the decision between the seeming safety of a treadmill or bracing the elements for an outdoor adventure. Some runners are vehemently against the idea of stepping on a treadmill; in their eyes, one would rather run directly into the center of a blizzard than slog around on a conveyor belt to nowhere. Others prefer to run indoors as treadmills, in their opinion, provide a multitude of benefits that outdoor runs may not. This topic is so widely debated on our team that we have decided to compile the arguments for both the support and opposition of the treadmill.


  • The climate indoors is always the same.
  • You could otherwise slip on ice outside.
  • You can watch TV while you run.
  • Go as far as you want without getting lost.
  • You can people watch at the gym.


  • The hard surface combined with the repetitious, monotonous motion of running on the same terrain can be stressful on your joints.
  • You could slip and the treadmill will eat into your skin.
  • It gets boring before you even run a single mile.
  • You could be getting valuable vitamin D outside.
  • People can watch you at the gym.

All arguments about this topic have so far been inconclusive, with each side just becoming more adamant and defensive. There probably never will be a definitive answer, but we at Running Club would like to say that whether it’s on a treadmill or outside, be sure to run!

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