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2358 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Nov 4, 2010 4:51 AM by importman
importman Amateur 11 posts since
Oct 20, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Nov 3, 2010 11:44 AM

Running on treadmill vs outdoors...

Hey guys, I decided to run on the treadmill this week due to the conditions outside and the fact that I've got a little cold. It seems to me that the treadmill is a LOT tougher than regular running. I average about 6 mph outside but on the tread mill I kept slowing it down till I was at 5.3 mph and still felt like I was racing. Anyone else find this to be the case and is there a reason for it? I really didn't enjoy it nearly as much. And I'm sure there's gonna be a lot of times during the Winter that I'm gonna need to run indoors. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks,Danny

  • coolbikermom Legend 418 posts since
    Jan 25, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Nov 3, 2010 12:06 PM (in response to importman)
    Re: Running on treadmill vs outdoors...

    Danny, this is my experience too. Most other people I talk to have the exact opposite problem, they find treadmill running to be easier. I must speed up and slow down a lot outside because having the machine keep me at a steady speed at all times is harder. Of course, I haven't run on a treadmill now for months, so it'll be interesting when the weather turns crappy and I have to start using that instead. I always make sure I have the incline set to 1 or 2 and that better approximates your effort for running outside, or so I've read.

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  • thedevotedrunner Legend 439 posts since
    Jul 7, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Nov 3, 2010 12:34 PM (in response to importman)
    Re: Running on treadmill vs outdoors...

    I am no expert on treadmills, in fact I LOOOOOATH them.  HATE running on the TM.  But they ARE a viable option, and a great tool for runners.


    No matter what you read, there is NO WAY that TM running can simmulate running outdoors.  However, due to winter weather conditions (which I LOVE running in) I understand why some runners would choose this option.


    There are probably a couple of things happening.  The most probable cause is cadence.  When you run outside, you probably have a slower cadence and longer stride.  You also gain speed when you "push" off with your toes at the end of the stride.  On a treadmill, your stride probably shortens (which is better for your legs anyway) and cadence quickens (also good.  Ideal cadence is 90 srikes per minute, counting one foot only).  When you increase your cadence, your HR is not used to the quicker movements, and rises into a higher HR zone than you are used to.  In order to keep your HR and breathing back down, you have to slow the speed.


    The second thing that could be causing it is hills.  Yes, hills.  If you run up the hills, you tend to run downhill faster, which would increase your average pace.  I don't know what type of terrain you usually run on, or if this would even have enough of an affect on the pace to make a difference.


    The last thing that could be going on (yes, I know I said a couple....I changed my mind) is the speed on the TM is jacked up.  This is not an uncommon problem.  Just run at the same effort level that you do outside.  This will approximately keep your HR in the same HR zone as you usually run in.

    Running the straight and narrow,


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  • Slow Running Pro 66 posts since
    Apr 18, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Nov 3, 2010 1:21 PM (in response to importman)
    Re: Running on treadmill vs outdoors...

    I spent all of the last winter running on the treadmill and then when the weather got warm I had a hard time going outside to run.  Once I got out there it was great.  Now with the winter coming I am trying the treadmill agian and it is pure hell.  I am having a hard time running at the same pace as I run outside.  I think its the fact that your not seeing real progress ie streets and corners.  The treadmill is in one place and has no interesting sites or sounds.  Even turning up the TV or ipod doesn't help.  It will be a long winter.  I'll run outside as much as I can.

  • Dreamstate Legend 278 posts since
    Dec 1, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Nov 3, 2010 1:49 PM (in response to importman)
    Re: Running on treadmill vs outdoors...

    My training includes about 20-30% on the TM and 70-80% outside. I agree with the sentiment that sometimes the calibration of the treadmill can make it feel like you're exerting more energy and putting in more effort.  I think that we tend to vary in speed naturally when running outside as well. So the unnatural continuance of making strides at the same exact speed over a period of time is a bit different for the body.  After running on the treadmill for a while, I feel like I'm running much faster when I take my run outdoors.


    I find myself looking at the time a lot more while on the treadmill.  When I'm running outside, there's more scenery and my mind is occupied with so many other things like the wind, the sidewalk, the trees, my next "mini-milestone" (making it to the the traffic light.... etc).  So I think I'm just occupied with other things other than "geez this run is hard!" But the treadmill has its place for speedwork and building mental stamina in my opinion.

    Completed Races 2012:

    Rock and Roll USA Half Marathon, 02:54:26 (1st run POST injury)

    Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, 01:49:00


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    IronGirl Half Marathon, 4/29/12

    Frederick Half Marathon, 5/6/12

    Atlantic City International Sprint Tri, 09/17/12

    Rock and Roll Philly Half Marathon, 09/18/12

    Baltimore Half Marathon, 10/13/12

    Marine Corps Marathon, 10/28/12

    ING NYC Marathon, 11/4/12


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    Marine Corps Marathon 10k, 10/30/11 01:05:38 (PR)

    Baltimore Half Marathon, 10/15/11, 02:24:15 (PR)

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