Friday, July 28, 2017

When You Train for a Marathon, Even for just a 5K One, Train Outdoors!

So, there’s a typhoon right now here in my neck of the Philippines. I can tolerate running in light rain but I am not comfortable running in extreme, typhoon-level rain! So, because the wind is blasting outdoors, I decided to run on a treadmill instead. What I found out was, it was relatively easier to run on a treadmill than running outdoors. I know it should be obvious but I only just realized that the difference is that great!

As proof, I will compare here the two runs that I did, with the help of my Fitbit Alta HR, the first one on a treadmill, while the second one is outdoor on a running path near my place. I generally run outdoors at, for long runs (more than 40 minutes), a speed of around 7 minutes per kilometer. I mostly kept that pace in both of my runs.

In my indoor run, I burned 581 calories and my heart rate had an average of 136 beats per minute. More so, my heart rate zone only briefly went outside the cardio zone. And I didn’t even finish the water bottle that I brought with me even after running 9km.

In my outdoor run, however, I burned 630 calories, had an average heart rate of 156 beats per minute and I was at the peak zone most of my run! The water bottle that I brought was empty even before I finished my 7.6km run!

But of course, it should have been obvious: when outdoors, the terrain changes, there are people (and dogs) you have to veer away from, and you have to contend with the wind. In my last outdoor run, even before the typhoon entered the Philippine area of responsibility, strong winds were already swirling and I had to run against some headwind in some part of my run. I knew indoor running would be different, but, as I've said above, I just didn’t realize that the difference would be this stark!

So, when you train for any marathon distance, at least for me, the best way is to do it outdoors and only run on a treadmill when absolutely necessary.

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