Skip navigation

5244 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Dec 26, 2011 4:48 PM by jmsab23
BruceRocheleau Rookie 3 posts since
Jun 2, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Dec 8, 2011 9:11 AM

Treadmill to Outdoor Running Conversion Problem

I have been using my treadmill for most of speed and tempo workouts for several years now.   I use the treadmill because after 52 years of running (I am 66), I find them easier on my body than pounding roads (local high school and college tracks are good but don't allow access to non-students). 


I run the workouts at 1% (the experts suggest that 1 to 1 1/2%) is the incline needed to make the treadmill run equivalent to outdoors running.


However, I have found that my pace per mile for a 10K is about 30 seconds slower outside than on the treadmill despite the 1% incline that I use.


Has anyone else experienced this same phenomenon? 



  • _Miles Pro 147 posts since
    Jul 26, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Dec 8, 2011 10:09 AM (in response to BruceRocheleau)
    Treadmill to Outdoor Running Conversion Problem

    I'm probably not too much help here. For me personally I find a treadmill is actually worse on my body than the outdoors. I suspect it's more to do with my jogging form being more naturally when I'm outside than on the treadmill, but I get aches in my heels, shins, calves and ankles when I do too much treadmill running.


    One thing that helps with outside if you can't run on a track is to run on asphalt rather than concrete or sidewalk. Or even packed dirt if that is possible, and I know some people who are able to jog on grass. But the big difference between treadmill and outside that you can't replicate is the wind resistance. Treadmill running is just a completely different form, more about lifting yourself up whereas outside you have to propel yourself forward. Many people are bored by the treadmill and prefer outside for that reason, but for me personally I can actually hit a faster time outside naturally just by going out for a jog than I can trying to force myself to keep a pace on a treadmill. So I suspect it is largely about what you are used to and trained on.



    C25k Completed 08/19/11

    OHR Completed 10/23/11

    5k 09/24/11: 39:10

    2011: 280 miles, ~14:00 mm avg

    2012: 321.2 miles (so far)

  • ron6788 Pro 85 posts since
    Oct 2, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Dec 22, 2011 5:51 PM (in response to BruceRocheleau)
    Treadmill to Outdoor Running Conversion Problem

         I also do the majority of my speed work on the TM.  My reason is simply because it tells me the pace I'm doing and let's me change it up or down as I see fit.  Outdoors, even using a GPS watch, would seem to be much harder to make these kind of precise speed calculations in pace.

         I don't use elevation in the way you do.  I use it to make it harder or to simulate hills.  When I'm going all out for speed the elevation is 0%.  I trained last year for a certain 5k speed on the TM and hit it right on the nose.  This year I trained in the vicinity of a certain speed, again for the 5k, and I surpassed that speed in the race!  I also used the treadmill to do many long runs in preparation for the marathon.  It's hard to gauge this training as my TM workouts were in the Spring and the marathon was in the Fall.  There was a lot of outdoor running and racing between the two times but, suffice it to say, the marathon goal time I had trained for on the TM was just slightly faster than what I actually did.

         So, overall I'm afraid, no, I haven't experienced a big lag in times as you have.  I would worry about it, too, if I were you.  That's a pretty big difference you're talking about, especially since you've dialed in the resistance of 1-2% elevation.  Maybe if you mixed up the TM runs with some street runs it would help.  I know the street is a lot harder on the feet and knees but, afterall, any racing you do will be on the street, not the TM.


    Education 5k ..........................................................:.25:39

    Mayapple trail 21 mi .................................................4:10

  • cnmckinney1104 Rookie 2 posts since
    Sep 20, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Dec 23, 2011 12:17 PM (in response to BruceRocheleau)
    Treadmill to Outdoor Running Conversion Problem

        I'm 65, been running for over 50 years, and like you use the treadmill for speed work as well as tempo runs.   I always set the incline at 1%.  I run with a pulse moniter both outside and on the treadmill . It is my experience that my pulse rate is slightly higher on the road when compared to similar paces on the treadmill. The difference is roughly 5 BPM. At 0% the BPM is less and 1.5% the BPM is much greater thus my preference to the 1%. I have made these comparisons at easy to tempo type runs but never compared them in a race effort. I can only guess but I assume my experience would be very similar to yours.




      Races in last year:

         5k. 23:39

         10k. 48:45

         Half marathon. 1:58:58

  • Jasko123 Legend 461 posts since
    Apr 18, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Dec 23, 2011 4:46 PM (in response to BruceRocheleau)
    Treadmill to Outdoor Running Conversion Problem

    I agree with Miles regarding the differences.  There really are too many variables that influence outdoor running, and trying to adjust or duplicate those conditions on a treadmill is certainly challenging.  Despite the obstacles, I would always prefer training on real routes outdoors that more closely match the exact rigors presented in a particular 10k race. 

    Wishing you the best of luck!

  • jmsab23 Legend 243 posts since
    Aug 19, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Dec 26, 2011 4:48 PM (in response to BruceRocheleau)
    Treadmill to Outdoor Running Conversion Problem

    Sorry, Bruce, but I'm going to go the opposite way. I have run most of my workouts on the treadmill for the past three years. It is an Image 15.5S, and is about three years old. I have tracked my times/distances since I started running on it. I do speed, tempo, and long runs on it. I set the incline to 1.5 or 2.0 and keep it there for most of my run, decreasing it on some long runs.

    I got into a couple 5ks last year and really got going this year, running over a dozen of them, and tried one 10k.

    My treadmill runs average about 22:00 or so for a good 5k run, at about 8.6 mph, depending on how I feel. My outdoor 5k races were mostly in the 21:30 range, and I even ran a 20:52 in November for a PB. I was definitely worn out after it, but I didn't think I was running well enough to get that kind of time. I went out in a 6:28 split, (too fast for my normal races) with the start of the race an uphill climb, and hit a second, long, rugged hill at the 1.5 mile mark. I felt dead when I reached the top of that hill. Compared to my TM runs, I thought I was doing awful.


    I guessed my approximate finish time for my 10k while training for it, and was running about 48:00 or 48:30 on the TM. I set a goal of breaking 50:00, and came in at 46:22!

    Maybe it's my TM - the belt speed, calibration, or something. I don't know. But as hard as it feels outdoors for me in races, I seem to run faster outside than I do on the TM, for whatever reason.

    I guess my problem is a good one to have. I enjoy TM running more mainly due to the convenience, but I usually get better time results outside, making it even better.

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...


  • Correct Answers - 10 points
  • Helpful Answers - 7 points