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5228 Views 15 Replies Latest reply: Dec 2, 2009 3:31 PM by JasonCR 1 2 Previous Next
jneptune Amateur 21 posts since
Sep 24, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Nov 28, 2009 2:26 PM

Treadmill vs. The Outdoors

I have a lot of pavement where I live and I am currently recovering from an overuse injury. I got on the treadmill today and ran for the first time in 16 days and it felt pretty good. There was a little bit of irritation initially, but nothing felt wrong after I warmed up. I am registered for the Carlsbad Marathon in late January and I do not want to risk injuring myself to the point that I will not be able to do it. If I train on the treadmill for a couple weeks I know it will be easier on my injury due to the softer surface, but will it help or hinder my training? Is a couple of weeks too long for the treadmill? Any other suggestions?


Thanks in advance

"True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united."

-Karl Wilhelm von Humboldt


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  • Rich Tuttle Amateur 15 posts since
    Jun 26, 2002
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Nov 28, 2009 7:58 PM (in response to jneptune)
    Re: Treadmill vs. The Outdoors

    Hello jneptune,

    My initial reaction upon reading your post was concern that you're scheduled for a January marathon however have not run for 16 days. Please tell me you were cross-training with the elliptical or the bike. Swimming? Deep water running? Strength training? Yoga? Pilates???!!!'s what you have to do....STICK WITH THE TREADMILL! How do I know? Let me state with the utmost humility that I am a 2:43 marathoner and 16:08 5Ker and do 90% of my training on the treadmill. Yes sir. I'm proud to say I've done a 22 miler on the darn thing. Why? For the same reason you're considering is more forgiving than pavement or concrete. If it is a good treadmill, it will have a certain degree of flex to it. I love the treadmill!  I can run at an exact pace, see my heartrate displayed, watch multiple TV's while listening to my iPod, check out women. The treadmill is safer than the sidewalk at night....or the sidewalk at any time of day - since it's not concrete. I can easily stash my gels and drink. I'm near a bathroom. I'm running in 70 degree temps...a benefit for when I race outside during late fall, winter, or early spring. Just make sure your shoes are double-knotted. Is that enough to convince you?  Good luck!

  • Run Coach Robert Legend 782 posts since
    Jan 7, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Nov 29, 2009 9:44 AM (in response to Rich Tuttle)
    Re: Treadmill vs. The Outdoors

    I would not worry about two weeks off from running. Some conditioning may be lost, but it certainly won't be significant enough to affect your January race dramatically, especially if you had been training properly prior to that. This is always something we runners worry about more than is necessary. Ease back into your schedule to prevent a recurrence of the injury.


    I would suggest doing a few runs on the road prior to the race, just to get used to the feel of it. Some say they don't notice any difference, I certainly do.

    Robert Martin

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  • Tom Slot Expert 43 posts since
    Sep 4, 2009
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    4. Nov 30, 2009 9:53 AM (in response to Rich Tuttle)
    Re: Treadmill vs. The Outdoors

    I have to say, Rich, after reading your reply to this question I've decided to give treadmill training a serious try. With 121 miles all street and trail running last month, I think my legs will appreciate the less stressful material.

    Tom Slot

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  • runpacowin Amateur 30 posts since
    Feb 14, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Nov 30, 2009 11:19 AM (in response to jneptune)
    Re: Treadmill vs. The Outdoors

    hi, i just wanted to say that sometimes a treadmill will be better than running out doors. first on a treadmill you're safer than running on a dark street.   Second you can play a cd  for extra motivation, and won't have to worry about blasting out your eardrums.  third running next to traffic, some people are a$$holes, they could throw stuff at you.

         hope you do well in your recovery and when there is more sunlight after work/school try running on a trail.

  • PenAimie Amateur 20 posts since
    May 30, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Nov 30, 2009 11:36 AM (in response to Rich Tuttle)
    Re: Treadmill vs. The Outdoors

    I too am happy to see a pro-treadmill reply from a veteran runner.  I am VERY new to running.  And I am NOT going to run outside after dark.


    But for me the temperature problem is reversed.  I need more exposure to cooler temperatures.  We get so little cold weather here in Savannah, that even temps in the 50's seem cold and adversely effect my breathing. livin' in Savannah, GA

  • AileenPhilomena Rookie 4 posts since
    Nov 25, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Dec 1, 2009 12:32 PM (in response to jneptune)
    Re: Treadmill vs. The Outdoors

    Personally, I can not for the life of me bare to run on the treadmill, not only is it excrutiatinly boring (even with an ipod and tv), but it seems unatural.

    It's unfortunate because I love running, but I live in the northeast which means it's ridiculously cold throughout the winter and dark.


  • JasonCR Pro 70 posts since
    Aug 30, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Dec 2, 2009 12:41 AM (in response to jneptune)
    Re: Treadmill vs. The Outdoors

    I jog outside April - October, and treadmill from November - March ... outside is way more fun, but the treadmill trains a steady pace.  I missed nearly two weeks (12 days) of jogging due to the holiday and traveling, and yesterday's treadmill session was okay, just took the first mile easy until I knew everything was still intact, haha.  Yeah, it takes a while to acclimate to a treadmill.  Play with the buttons, flat or a little incline, burst a 1/4 mile and slow down, etc.  You should feel in control of your legs at all times and be able to press the control buttons with ease ...

    Just Do It!

  • msdlou Amateur 8 posts since
    Nov 23, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Dec 2, 2009 10:53 AM (in response to jneptune)
    Re: Treadmill vs. The Outdoors

    Well, running both on a treadmill and the outdoors is in fact two different types of training.


    Mainly the outdoors, you come across different types of terrains and surfaces where you are training your body to adjust to the different climate temperatures, level of ground, diversity of the area and many other ways which in fact helps develop more than just speedy legs.


    As for the treadmill, it is more for a specific type of training where your main focus is distance and speed. You allow yourself to focus on one aspect of training at a time and not really allow yourself an overall performance for your body. However, the advantage of this is it allows you to strengthen piece by piece your needs and boosts up your confidence level as anticipations rise for more speed or distance.


    I'm not much of a trainer myself, but this is what I have been told by several runners who I come across on my daily runs. Some love it, some don't and few just do it out of needs.

    "Help your team raise thousands without selling!"

  • akrueger3 Rookie 2 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Dec 2, 2009 11:00 AM (in response to jneptune)
    Re: Treadmill vs. The Outdoors

    I know from my analysis of gate and so forth, you are not as efficient running on a treadmill, they actually make you a heel striker instead of your natural ball of the foot strike.  you should also run outside a few times because all you are doing on a treadmill is pulling and it can be disastreas on the hamstrings.  Just remember heel striking will lead to injury.

  • JasonCR Pro 70 posts since
    Aug 30, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Dec 2, 2009 12:16 PM (in response to akrueger3)
    Re: Treadmill vs. The Outdoors

    @akrueger3: got links to back that up that make that more than FUD?  I don't think I've ever read about a treadmill injury here.


    Most things I've read about treadmill, people analyze it incorrectly.  People get hung on the moving belt thing, and can't see the relative comparison.


    Imagine a treadmill 1 mile wide and 1 mile long at 6 mph (10:00/mile), and you are in the middle of it.  Of course when it starts up you will feel that.  (If you don't do something, in 5 minutes you're going to fall off.)  Now as you stand there the only sensation you'll have is that there is a 6 mph wind from your back.  If you then jog at 6 mph, there is no wind.  The other differences are the surface texture of course, and that it's exactly flat or constant angle.  And in fact, you could jog normally in any direction, except that you're going to reach an edge eventually.  The fact that you're on a large treadmill makes no difference while you're on it.


    What happens when you jog against or with the Earth's rotation, does your gate change?  No, it's relative, just like the above scenario.

    Just Do It!

  • ebeese Amateur 14 posts since
    Dec 2, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Dec 2, 2009 12:26 PM (in response to jneptune)
    Re: Treadmill vs. The Outdoors

    I love running outdoors much better than running on a treadmill. I live in Tallahassee, FL during the school year and then Venice, FL during breaks so it's really easy to just go outside and run. I much prefer Tallahassee to Venice though because it has a lot more elevation and hills, etc. Venice is nice because you can always do the beach runs along the shore where the sand is compact enough that it isn't too damaging. Otherwise there's always the 4-mile stretch of Casey Key that you can do the roads and get a nice view of the beach.


    I can't say that I've given many attempts on the treadmill, only about 5 times I've tried to be honest, but just realizing that I'm not moving anywhere and essentially staying in one place bothers me, haha.

  • Amigold Legend 185 posts since
    Nov 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Dec 2, 2009 2:59 PM (in response to jneptune)
    Re: Treadmill vs. The Outdoors

    Here's a question:


    Why is it when I run 3 miles outdoors, I can do between a 9:40 and 10:15 mile?


    Why is it when I try to run that pace on a treadmill I can't do it, and have to go to around a 11 min mile pace?  And even that feels fast and I start to gasp.


    I don't do an incline, and my outdoor runs have some small hills, wind, terrain, etc., so it doesn't make any sense. It is the mental image of running into nowhere that slows me down?  You would think I would be faster on a tread than outside.  I've tried starting slow and increasing speed, changing speed every quarter mile, closing my eyes (bad idea), you name it, I just can't crank out a 10 min mile on a tread for very long. I can do it all the time outside.


    Maybe I'm just weird.


    I have to go run tonight and it's 40 degrees, wet, with a very brisk wet NW wind, so I would prefer to run inside, but I'm "dreading the tread."  Thoughts on why I am so sluggish on the treadmill?



  • ebeese Amateur 14 posts since
    Dec 2, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    14. Dec 2, 2009 3:06 PM (in response to Amigold)
    Re: Treadmill vs. The Outdoors

    I find that whenever I get on the treadmill I lose some of my motivation because it's setting the pace already for me, and I always have to keep up that pace or change it using the controls. I think it might be something in your psyche that causes you to not push as hard as you normally would if running outside.


    That's just what I've noticed when running on the treadmill.

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