Let me be very clear: I am not a runner at heart! I stand at 6' 6", so the thought of my massive bulk pounding on pavement for a few miles is absolutely unpleasant. However, "needs must" and all, thus I force myself to run. I've gotten to the point where I can run a 5k race - which is exactly what I'm doing in this picture.
Why the Street is the Place for MeI hate treadmills! They're boring, and they make my feet hurt when I run. There's just something limiting about running on a treadmill - when what I really want to be doing is running outside! Being able to run in the open air is amazing, especially when compared to the stale, piped-in air that you get in a gym. Unless the treadmill is outside or in a place where fresh air is accessible, I feel like I'm a sardine in a can. Give me the open air any day - even the pollution of big cities is better than the sweat-laden air of that man huffing and puffing next to me. I'm not a cheapskate, but the thought of paying to go to a gym and run kind of puzzles me. Thankfully, there's a nice outdoor running track near where I live, and it's in a public park. However, I'm content to hit the streets, and it's much cheaper than paying for a gym membership. I'm the kind of person that hates to run in circles, and I hate seeing the same scenery day after day. The beauty of running on the street is that I can change up my route, depending on how much of a challenge I feel I need. I can run up and down hills, run along the beach, or take a route that leads me along a tree-lined path. It's variety that keeps me running! What really "gets my goat" about people running on treadmills is that it's next to useless. Granted, you'll get in good shape, but you're not going to be striding on that treadmill when a "Zombie horde" attacks (not realistic, but you get the picture). I'd much rather accustom myself to running on the streets, which is where I'll be doing all of my running in case of a natural disaster, a local sporting event, or just escaping the local street thugs (which is why I'm taking martial arts lessons at the same time!). My favorite part of street running: less time in the gym. I can get my 20 to 25 minutes of cardio before my workout just by running to the gym, and I only need to spend 20 minutes or so doing my HIIT workout. (Of course, I'm dead by the end of my session, so I have my girlfriend pick me up rather than running home.)
Why the Gym May Make SenseThere are a few exceptions to my "always hit the streets rule":
- Winter -- Winters in my town can get pretty cold, and the wind makes running next to impossible. For those living in places too cold to run, get on that treadmill!
- Joint Pain -- I did notice a lot more joint pain when I first started running on concrete, but no longer. If you have joint issues, it may be better to run in the controlled environment of a gym.