Running : Indoors or Outdoors is Better ?

Bends and corners present their own difficulties. Runners have to lean into the corner at a right angle or they will fall flat on their sides. Indoor tracks are half the length of those outdoors and are steeply banked to allow runners to lean less obviously and be able to concentrate on staying in their own lanes as they double back through 180 degrees. Bend running stresses the lateral outer side of the lower limbs; the fasciae latae, the peroneal muscles, and the lateral ligaments of both outer knee and ankle have to take the extra force induced when turning.

 The medial side of the inner leg is similarly affected. Running indoors on the boards for the first time has been an awakening for many experienced runners who thought they knew it all! The shoes also have to absorb the lateral forces, so laterally rippled shoes that grip mud when running forward will give no help when the foot slides outward when a sharp corner is turned.

 Many roads have a camber, so if a runner persists in running along one particular side of the road, he effectively gives himself a leg-length difference; that is, one leg (that nearer the middle of the road) will appear shorter than the other, and the pelvis will inevitably be tilted. In order to compensate for this, the pelvis has to incline so the lumbar spine corrects itself by twisting to become vertical. If a runner needed a recipe for low back pain, this is it! 

As we cannot recommend running down the middle of the road either, local knowledge of heavily cambered roads or alternating sides may help to reduce the problem. For all these varied events, some training in near-competitive situations is invaluable.

 Although he wasn’t preparing for a running event, British race walker Don Thompson prepared for the sapping humidity and heat of Rome in July for the 1960 Olympic 50K race by steaming himself in a heavy tracksuit with kettles of boiling water in the modest bathroom of his home. 

The result: an unexpected gold medal. This is an extreme example that we would strongly discourage following, but in general, practicing in conditions that resemble competition is unlikely to do any serious harm, especially if adequate time is left for recovery and lessons from the experience are learned. 

It may not be entirely possible for runners to simulate race conditions. The domination of long-distance races by Africans in the 21st century may be partly a result of evolution, but that itself is influenced by living at altitude and by a lifestyle that demands that they may need to run 5 or 10 miles each way to school in order to be educated. If the kids in Western civilizations had to do the same, might not they have similar successes?