How do treadmill times and speeds compare with running outside?

I decided to investigate my local authority gym tonight as by the tome I had finished work it was dark. It has a reasonable range of gym equipment nd a pool you can use on the same ticket. I haven't used a treadmill for over a year but I've been regularly managing a pace of 1km in 5'40" but to get back to my PB of last year I need to get up to 5:30/km. The treadmill was calibrated the other way round so I reckoned I needed to be doing 11/km/hr. However i really struggled to get above 10km/hr and was only really comfortable at around 9.5km. I had the slope set at 2% which didn't seem all that much. Only covered 3.5k in 25 minutes too.

10 Replies

  • 3.5 I dream of 3.5 in that time. I have the same issue I feel that the treadmill it is easier to keep a consistent run and work on stamina. I managed a run in dark today but not sure how long I will keep it up especially as it gets colder.

  • I've been running only on the treadmill but tried once on the road.....I thought I was going to die!!! It was terrible - so different to the treadmill and this is my worry. Anyone out there who can advise on a smooth transition from treadmill to road? Thanks - all suggestions welcome.

  • Sadly there is only one way I know of and that is to get out there and do it! you may find it easier to run on grass or trails as these are slightly softer than road or pavement, slow down from your treadmill speed and maybe go back to shorter times running with more walk breaks till you build up.

    Good Luck

  • I think most people run faster on the treadmill than on the road as you run at an even pace with no incline. It means that you never slow down or speed up as you would on the open road. However i have occasionally used the treadmill and can run further in 30 minutes on the road than on the treadmill. I put this down to my stride being shorter and less natural on the treadmill. Normally when i go on the treadmill i use a lot of different programmes which have variable speeds and inclines. This keeps me interested and is a far better fitness workout. My speed on the road normally improves after a few testing runs on the treadmill although possibly not my stamina.

  • Isn't it the case that running outside means that you are pushing air out of the way and that does involve more work (ask any cyclist!) so times / speeds when running outside are not going to be on a par with running on a treadmill?

  • There's been some research done on this and unless you're a top-end runner, wind resistance seems to make no difference. There is a 'gentlemans' agreement' that an incline of 2 degrees simulates the air resistance, but the research tested this and shows that it isn't the case. Another case for Mythbusters?

  • Hi Malcy, thanks for your reply, that's very interesting. Think it will be a while before I can consider myself to be a top-end runner so I can leave this thorny issue til then!

  • My general thoughts, as one who runs outside and on the 'mill, are that it's different for everyone. I find the treadmill much harder than outdoors - most people find the opposite. Most people find the treadmill boring - I like it ... doing various mental calculations on my progress, etc. seems to appeal to my inner self (:->). After a full year mixing between the two? I prefer running outside. But on a day when the rain is falling hard, and the temperature is hovering around freezing? No contest!

  • If you Google treadmill cheat sheet there's a dowloadable PDF document which shows MPH, KPH, MIN/MI, K/MI and times for 3MI, 8K, 10K, HM and marathon at every pace from 3MPH to 12MPH and also converts M/KM and vice versa. It's a really useful tool. I bought a second hand treadmill (no incline) before I started running as I thought I might need it in the winter months. I've never run on it but tried walking and hated it as I suffered from motion sickness after stepping off, even when I slowed down gradually. I just can't imagine running for 35 minutes on it so it's a pyschological barrier with me I think. On the other hand, a friend has done the entire programme running on the spot at home and she thinks she might struggle outside - horses for courses I suppose. I'm sure there will be times when I need to use it this winter and I'll just have to bite the bullet.

  • I am week8, all on a treadmill. I do get motion sickness when I get off so have to sit quietly for 10 mins or so. But that's no biggy. I cannot talk to anyone when I'm on the treadmill - I have done so once, slipped, fell & scuffed all my shin & knees! Funny but taught me a lesson.

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