Treadmill or outside running, which is easi... - Bridge to 10K

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Treadmill or outside running, which is easier? 🏃‍♀️


I’ve been treadmill running all the time now since I started running. I’m not sure if I’m in a rut as I set the treadmill for 50 mins and off I go, 3 times a week for 18m now. Problem is it’s that controlled I don’t think I can run anywhere else... even on a different treadmill throws me! When I started I did think the gym was better as there’s no excuses not to go like there is with outside running. I’d be interested to know what others think about treadmill versus outside and which they think is an easier run

24 Replies

Honestly? The great outdoors wins EVERY time for me! I haven't been on a treadmill for about twenty years and have no plans to use one any time soon. That said, I know folk who use them when they can't get outside to run, just to keep up training and if it suits you then great!

There are such a variety of runs that you can take outside, from pavement pounders to country trails and autumn running is just beautiful.🙂🍂🍁🏃🏽‍♀️. I would definately say try might just never look back!

Yes will give outdoors a go!


Hi Paula

Well, I did C25K, B210K and all my HM training outdoors, but today did my first treadmill run in ages! And I found it HARD! I only did 15 minutes, but it felt like forever, and I felt a bit like a hamster on a wheel. :-( On the plus side, it is much easier to keep a consistent pace on the treadmill, and that I quite liked. However, that is not enough incentive for me to run on the treadmill again...

I think I prefer outdoor running because it is just more interesting/distracting. Different sights and sounds to see along the way, the different surfaces and inclines you encounter on route, and just that lovely feeling of getting warm running even when it is a cold day. I try and run through parks and local woodlands so that I get to be in nature too, and I think that really lifts my spirits and is the reason I stuck with running all this time. Every season brings different challenges and different highlights – spring is when I get to see nature come back to life and the trees bud and flowers bloom; summer I get out earlier in the morning to enjoy the cooler temperatures, which means that there are fewer people and cars around and the day feels all fresh and clean; autumn is the time to see the beautiful changes in leaf colour and slightly fresher temps, and if I am lucky, spooky autumn mists; winter is when I get to feel like a super hero running in the rain and truly enjoy my hot shower when I get in...

So for me, outdoor running is easier. Treadmill running feels like a chore, outdoor running a treat! Treadmill running has its place, but it just feels functional, rather than pleasurable. But, if you enjoy it and it works for you, then no need to change what you are doing! But promise me you will try and outdoor run in nature, or maybe even a Parkrun. :-)

Sadie-runs x

I keep finding the treadmill hard and boring! I’ll definitely try the outdoors. I like the discipline of the gym and no excuses not to go but need a change

Sadie-runsGraduate10 in reply to PaulaGullett

Maybe save the treadmill runs for rainy days, or when it’s too icy to run outdoors? When you run outdoors, plan a pretty route beforehand, take it nice and slow at first and pick a sunny day to try it at its best! Once you get the bug for outdoor running you won’t care about the weather. Oh, and report back to us! 👍

I will do! Thanks

Sadie-runsGraduate10 in reply to PaulaGullett

What a funny coincidence - I settled down this afternoon with a cup of tea and the latest edition of Runners World (what better way to spend a Friday afternoon, eh?), only to find a short piece by Jo Pavey on the differences between treadmill and outdoor running! The main thing I wanted to pass on to you is that she suggests introducing road running gradually, as it is higher impact than treadmill running. If you can find soft surfaces to run on, great, if not, keep the runs short and gentle at first. 👍


well I started with outdoor and only tried a treadmill a few times (when I had a free gym pass) I don't really like the treadmill and much prefer exploring outdoors. try outside, just go out with no time of distance or anything in mind

PaulaGullett in reply to Deals1

Thanks that’s helpful


I found them different and neither harder than the other, although loads of people tell you that outside running is a harder transition than the other way around. You just have to pace yourself outside and that takes a little practice. On the treadmill you hit a button and away you go but outside you have to concentrate to begin with.

Apart from the first three weeks I did all of the C25K on a treadmill (due to injury) but ventured outside after graduation. For me, there is no comparison. Outside running is much more interesting, you get to see some amazing sights and you’re really at one with nature and the big beautiful world. It’s also cooler and you don’t have to inhale others’ sweat 😖

Last winter I went back to the treadmill once because of the snow and found it very difficult and yet I loved it while I was doing it the first time. I would say that treadmill running is a good mental exercise but outside is just much more stimulating and joyous. There’s nothing better than heading out on a winter’s day and breathing in that fresh, icy air ❄️🙂

You’ve sold it to me!

IrishprincessGraduate10 in reply to PaulaGullett

Just remember to make an effort to run slowly. When we transition from treadmill to outside we tend to run too fast and then we get knackered too quickly 🙄

Enjoy and let us know how you get on.


I can't contemplate 1 treadmill run let alone 18m well done for sticking at it. I've been as happy running in -2 this week as I was in 26 in September. I love the way my body changes gear as I hit a slope (I dont do hills yet) or just think fast/slow. Already working out where best snow ploughed routes will be when the inevitable snow arrives - I'm north Scotland. Give it a go, its fabulous.


Treadmill is boring and too hot! Talk about getting saturated. Outside the air dries you off. It’s more interesting outside. Can vary the route each time. I seem to go less far for my effort on a treadmill too. Although outside the weather is a factor. I love running in the rain. Parkrun is fab and races are fun and you get medals 🏅

PaulaGullett in reply to Tasha99

I think I’d enjoy

Running in the rain too as I always choose a treadmill with a gushy aircon unit above. I don’t think I could run in the height of a heatwave though! Interesting not many posts for the treadmill. Maybe I would enjoy a lot more

Tasha99Graduate10 in reply to PaulaGullett

Running in the heat isn’t pleasant at all


It is said that treadmill running is easier. You should set it to 1% incline to simulate outdoor.

To me outdoor is much nicer and can go longer distances.

But the treadmill has the advantage that you can set it for higher speed and is weather independent.

Haven't been on one for at least two years I think but looking forward to go in January when we may rejoin the gym.

I will probably look forward to go outdoor again even more.

Thanks this is interesting. I was hoping treadmill was harder so I found outdoors easier.

Elisabeth3Graduate10 in reply to PaulaGullett

Most people find treadmill easier. Mind, every transition feels somewhat difficult, whether from or to treadmill.


I did all of c25k and bridge to 10k on treadmill.

Then once allergy season was over I transitioned outside.

I did have my incline on 1.5 and music blaring on the treadmill lol.

My outside transition I did gradually iver 2 weeks but at the end of those 2 weeks I was running the same distances as on the treadmill. I chose a nice flatish route for my first few runs.

Thanks for the advice! I’ll do the same


Depends. I have kids so when they are at things near the gym it’s treadmill set at incline 1 and when not it’s outside. About half half at the mo. Observations are if I have leg pains the treadmill is Easier to keep a steady soft landing going and it’s very controlled. But for me I feel unsteady. On the road it’s harder and more challenging. I like both but after 30 mins on a treadmill I do tend to get very bored unless I listen to a podcast show rather than music. But that does not help my keeping a good form. Soooo my view is shorter runs ok on treadmill or if you want to rest the legs but otherwise out in the interesting world. 👍🏼 no bad outcomes either way. A run on a treadmill is better than no run.

Elisabeth3Graduate10 in reply to Brooko

True, treadmill run is still a better run than no run.

I share what you wrote.

I also run on the treadmill, I put the screen on to look as if am outside, but don’t have any of the mud, rain or looking out for dog poo!

I just put my music on and I know what speed I can go up to

Wouldn’t have it any other way

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