Marathon training – outdoors vs gym

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In April I’m running the London Marathon (Lord help me). I’ve always trained for half and full marathons outside but this is the first time I’m just too cold and stubborn to endure running outside.

When I get into the habit of going to the gym, you just can’t pull me away. It’s so addictive.

Last night I ran 13.1 miles (equivalent to a half marathon) in the gym. I love the gym for a number of reasons and have avoided running outside for the past month. It got me thinking whether or not I can do all my marathon training in the gym? Or will I get a bit bored of running on a treadmill and not getting anywhere.


Pros of the gym

  • Accuracy

I can accurately track how far I’ve run, my speed, incline, calories burnt, time etc etc. Obviously, I have tracking apps and a sports watch to do all this outside but I never 100% trust them (or can be bothered with the faff sometimes).

  • Protected from the elements

As someone who has spent more time in Africa and Spain than the UK for the past few years, I’m really not used to the rain and general darkness of horrible English weather. When I’m in the gym I can be a little spoilt princess who doesn’t have to get muddy or accidently step in a puddle and run for 2 hours with a soggy foot.

  • Watch TV

I take my iPad, watch First Dates or Graham Norton and be pretty entertained for the time I’m running.

  • Safe

Even though my gym doesn’t have staff there after 9pm, I feel a little safer to be inside a building and have people around me in case I start to feel weak. I also like running at about 11pm and as much as I love the thrill of jogging through town and the woods at that time, my parents aren’t super keen on it…

  • Toilets

My God, not much is worst in life than needing to pee or poop when you’re 6 miles from home. I have been known to just stumble into the nearest KFC to use their loo but it’s not always that simple. At least at the gym I know I can go whenever and fill up my water bottle.

  • Places to stretch afterward

I really enjoy putting my headphones on and taking a good 20 mins to stretch out afterward and it’s so much easier at the gym. I obviously stretch at home sometimes but there’s always someone there in the way or pestering you to go and shower because you smell.


Pros of training outdoors

  • Fresh air and nature

Yep, this is my fave part of running outside. I discover new places, can watch the sunset at the lakes, see cute dogs in the woods etc. Adorable.

  • You have no choice but to finish

When you’re on a treadmill you can press ‘stop’ and get off whenever you fancy. If you’re an hour from home, you kinda have to keep going so you can get home. (Although, I used to carry my metro card around with me in Paris so I could just hop on the train to come home if I was tired. Lazy girl problems)

  • Getting used to hills, bends, uneven surfaces

A marathon always has twists and turns, obstacles to avoid and the roads can get slippy. Being on a treadmill removes all of these unknown factors which is lovely but you’ll need to be prepared for when they come up during the marathon.

  • The marathon isn’t in a gym

At the end of the day, as great as the gym is, it’s just not what the marathon will be like. Maybe I need to get over my fear of the cold/wet/dark outdoors and get my body and mind into the state of being prepared for the conditions of the marathon.


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What do you think? Do you enjoy training outdoors, in a gym or a mix of both?

love

(a very tired and sore) Mary

x

 

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