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5129 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Jan 8, 2011 6:29 PM by TRex Runner
adk269 Amateur 15 posts since
Jan 4, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Jan 4, 2011 8:07 PM

treadmill to outdoors question

today i completed couch to 5k, the beginning of which was my first foray into running - and i loved it.  most of the runs i did for the c25k were on a treadmill as it's been  freezing here.  how big of a shock is it going to be when i start  running outside? can i assume my speed/endurance will be about the same  in either terrain?


i was thinking about trying a 5k race this weekend in the park to celebrate my finishing the program, but when i discussed it with friends today they doubted if i'd be able to do it if i had only been training on a treadmill....

  • middie26 Amateur 25 posts since
    May 10, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jan 5, 2011 5:03 AM (in response to adk269)
    Re: treadmill to outdoors question

    With my experience (that which is ever so little), I know that training on a treadmill is very different than outside.. Some differences I can think of:


    • Pacing may be different since you can't "control" your speed like a treadmill
    • Temperature (cold vs. the "perfect" temperature)
    • Wind
    • Humidity
    • Terrain (asphalt, sidewalk, hills, etc)


    Don't be discouraged if you can't get the same mileage out of an outdoor run as you can with a treadmill.  I just finished my first 5 miles EVER and I know there is no way I'll be able to complete that outdoors.. Still, go do it!  The only way you can truly know is if you get out there and run!

  • Dog-lover Legend 373 posts since
    Mar 5, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jan 5, 2011 5:50 AM (in response to adk269)
    Re: treadmill to outdoors question

    I think you'll find that it's much harder to maintain the speed your seeing on the treadmill outside at least at first.  Your body will need to adjust to pushing itself rather than having a moving belt.  I started running 4 1/2 yrs and spent most of the first winter running on the treadmill.  I was shocked how much slower I was able to run once I started doing all my running outside.  I believe the treadmill is a very good training tool and can really help with endurance, stamina and turnover but running outside is the best gauge of what your capability is currently at.  I'm sure you'll be able to do your 5k race you will probably do it a little slower than you expect is all.  I live in Minnesota so I get the crazy cold, icy, snowy winters and I do most of my long quality running on the treadmill during the worst parts of winter but I am committed to doing at least 25% of my daily running outside just to stay in touch with how that feels.  Outside running in the snow and cold actually is very peaceful and fun. There are great warm tech gear options so give it a try you might just like it.  Congratulations on completing your c25k and good luck on your race....GO FOR IT!!


    Have a blast,  running is a great sport with great people!!



    Quote from Bob Moawad  " You can't make footprints in the sands of time if you are sitting on your butt. And who wants to make buttprints in the sands of time"

    2008 - Grandma's marathon - 4:51            2011 - Get in Gear 1/2 marathon - 1:46

    2009 - Get in Gear 1/2 marathon - 1:49    2011 - Green Bay marathon - 3:51

    2009 - Grandma's marathon - 4:13            2011 - Grandma's marathon - 3:45

    2009 - Twin Cities marathon - 4:02           2011 - Minneapolis Pride 5k - 21:31

    2010 - Grandma's marathon - 3:58 ya hoo!

    2010 - Twin Cities marathhon - 3:55

  • Dreamstate Legend 278 posts since
    Dec 1, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Jan 5, 2011 7:17 AM (in response to adk269)
    Re: treadmill to outdoors question

    In the winter months, I tend to run about 70% on the treadmill and 30% outdoors. In the spring and summer, that ratio flip flops.  In my experience (which has only been a solid year), I find that the treadmill helps me in gaining speed.  I know that when I run outside, I run about 1 mm short of what I run on the treadmill. So if I'm running a 9:00 mm on the treadmill, I'll probably run about a 10:00 mm outside.  And this is all due to the same conditions that middie26 listed.


    And I don't know about anyone else, but after running only on the treadmill and actually taking my run outside, you feel like you're working muscles that you didn't know existed. There's more of a need to stabilize yourself and push yourself through each stride. Also, the natural inclines in the road demand that you change your stride length, and speed at times.  But after a while, your body will strengthen those muscles needed to push you through an outdoor run.


    Good luck! And congrats on completing the C25k program!

    Completed Races 2012:

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

    Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, 01:49:00


    Upcoming Races 2012:

    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


    Personal Record from 2011:

    Teach, Learn, Play 5k, 10/02/11 00:26:57 (PR)

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

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

  • Mark Corbett Rookie 4 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Jan 5, 2011 11:35 AM (in response to adk269)
    Re: treadmill to outdoors question

    How did it work out for you? Let me guess- you did great, better than expected. My experience with treadmill is this: Gives you confidence and training when you can't get outside to run. Here is what I think:


    Pros of Treadmill

    You get to run and work out when you would not normally

    Running faster on the treadmill will make you faster on the road for two reasons - yes it is easier but you can crank it up and down as much as you want and not worry about wear you are and how to get back to wear you started, You can try many things you would not want to outdoors, because it is harder to run outdoors than treadmill you won't push yourself as often.

    Think of it this way- A baseball player takes batting practice from a machine - it is the reportitions that train him and then he takes it to the field against man which is much harder. It's like swinging the bat with a weight on it to strenghen is swing. I know when I run outside it is harder but at race time the adrenilen kicks in and before you know it you are getting better and better.

  • JasonFitz1 Legend 578 posts since
    Jun 19, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Jan 5, 2011 1:41 PM (in response to adk269)
    Re: treadmill to outdoors question

    I've always found that it's harder for me to run my normal speed on a treadmill - it's easier outside.


    Sometimes when i'm outside I'll run on a measured trail or a track to gauge my speed and it's almost always in the 6:45 - 7:00 range. But on a treadmill, 7min. pace feels like I'm running way too hard. I usually start around 7:30 and then gradually speed up over the course of an entire run to 6:50-7:00.


    I'll frequently do track workouts where I'm running under 5 minute mile pace - but that would be mostly impossible on a treadmill for me. Running over 12mph on a treadmill is like a dead sprint. I ran a 5min. mile once before on a treadmill and it was awful.


    My recommendation for moving to the outdoors is to dress appropriately (this is huge) and focus more on time spent running and effort. If 3 miles usually takes you 30 minutes on a treadmill, for example, then just go outside and run for 30 minutes and the same perceived effort level. You're not cheating yourself out of substantial fitness.


    Running outside is a lot more fun than being a hamster on a treadmill. Have fun!


    - Fitz.

    Strength Running
  • rnronda Rookie 2 posts since
    Sep 22, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Jan 6, 2011 7:15 AM (in response to adk269)
    Re: treadmill to outdoors question

    I have to disagree with all the other posters. I am a brand new runner as well. I do 99.9% of my training on the treadmill. My first outdoor was a Turkey Trot (Thanksgiving of course) that was suppose to be a 5k. After I signed up it turned out to be a 4 miler. But here is the good news...I walked more than I thought I would, but I beat my race pace that I had set on the treadmill. Some of it has to do with excitement I'm sure. So I'm glad that you are going for it. I look forward to you posting your results.

  • GTARunna Rookie 1 posts since
    Jan 6, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Jan 6, 2011 7:17 AM (in response to JasonFitz1)
    Re: treadmill to outdoors question

    I have had the exact experience as Fitz.  At paces of 7 minutes per mile and faster, I find that it takes more effort to sustain the pace on the treadmill versus outside.  My leg turnover and perceived rate of exertion seem much greater on the treadmill for these paces.


    I nevertheless like to do a mix of treadmill vesus outside running, if only to guard against training becoming the same old same old.  However, I do almost all of my long runs outside.  I have run as far as 22 miles on a treadmill and I always seem less fatigued versus the same distance run at an even slower pace outside.

  • Old1940 Rookie 1 posts since
    Jan 6, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Jan 6, 2011 9:46 AM (in response to adk269)
    Re: treadmill to outdoors question

    Set the incline to 2 or 3 percent.  Then running outside will be easier.  About a bizillion years ago I read 1 1/2% grade on a treadmill would feel like running on level ground outside, so never set the treadmill to less than 2% grade.  Don't know where the information originated, but it worked for me.


    Running on the treadmill is much easier on the knees from the standpoing of side forces on the knees.  If you do most of your running on the treadill and then run on the edge of a crowned road, your knees may complain.

  • middie26 Amateur 25 posts since
    May 10, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Jan 6, 2011 10:20 AM (in response to adk269)
    Re: treadmill to outdoors question

    I ran outside in the cold last night and logged about 3.2 miles (at least I think - I was using Map My Run, since I didn't have my Nike + with me).  I felt absolutely awesome!  The roads were salty and some sidewalks were frozen from the last snowstorm we got, but I did better than I thought I would.


    The main differences I could see between the road and the treadmill is simply the environment.  While the terrain was different (asphalt vs. treadmill), the way I was landing on my feet negated that.  The termperature was cold and I couldn't regulate my pace like I could on a treadmill.


    My confidence just exploded now I know I can handle an outdoor 5k!


    So, I completely think you'll be able to do the 5k!!

  • TRex Runner Pro 64 posts since
    Jan 11, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Jan 8, 2011 6:29 PM (in response to adk269)
    Re: treadmill to outdoors question

    I had a buddy that did treadmill only and he had issues running downhill initailly since his treadmill had no negative incline.



    Race Schedule for 2010:

    National Half Marathon - 03/20 - 1:44:51

    Frederick Marathon - 05/02 - 4:34:45 [bad heat!]

    Virginia Beach RNR 1/2 Marathon - 09/05 - 1:43:45

    Baltimore Marathon - 10/16 - 3:46:55

    Amish Half - 11/06 - 1:44:17

    Fort Meade Turkey Trot - 11/13 - 20:43

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