Feeling a fraud and a bit disheartened... - Couch to 5K

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Feeling a fraud and a bit disheartened...

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This is the second time I have attempted c25k and I have completed W4. However, I am doing it all at the gym on the treadmill. Today I read posts on here about running on the treadmill vs outside and the general consensus was it is better to run outside as it is more challenging. So now I feel a fraud for running on the treadmill and feel that I haven't actually achieved as much as I should, or indeed could, have. I appreciate that regardless I am in a better position now than I was 4 weeks ago, but still feel I am not really doing this 'properly'.

Anyone in a similar position or can offer any advice?

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You are absolutely NOT a fraud! Running on the treadmill IS running. I completed it on the treadmill and loved it. I have no excuse not to run outside as I live in the Channel Islands with plenty of lovely places to run and a great climate but I actually like using the treadmill. Plus it is more gentle on the knees!

Make sure you set gradient to 1 as this will simulate road running.

Many others have posted that they find road running easier than treadmill running and vice versa. Each to their own I say.

I do intend to do some outside running at some point and may get 'converted' but doubt I will give up the treadmill. There are plenty of excellent 'real' runners at my gym (I am not one of them- more of a jogging wobbler!) and they love the treadmills too.

Just enjoy the running, listen to Laura and keep it up.


Achievement is all relative to you. I don't enjoy the gym, it bores me. However, it's horses for courses.

It's about you. Keep doing what you feel is right for you. You have made changes by running, whether indoors or out. Be proud of that and celebrate it. We'll done!!


I have the same worry as you. I have completed the plan on my treadmill mainly because of the bad weather. I am a fair weather outdoors excerciser! But I am going to start going outdoors too as I have entered a race for life in July and want to run it. I need to get used to outdoor surfaces. But we are still jogging whatever surface we do it on. In a way the treadmill is better as you can pace yourself. Outdoors, you have no idea how fast you are jogging but you would gain experience of it. Maybe in the future like I plan to, try a few outdoor jogs but keep the main part on the treadmill. There are no rules!


I absolutely agree with Tintin - treadmill running is running. I am still not able to run for more than 10-15 minutes on a treadmill without giving up. It is just different and I think it is easy to get used to one and not the other. I wish I had had a gym membership whilst completing C25K as I would probably have alternated treadmill and road. However, each to their own and you may really enjoy it outside when you get there. Good luck.


Agree with all that has been said. There is no right way, or wrong way, to do this and one way doesn't make it better than another. The fact that you are exercising makes you a winner. Also there are people who, for various reasons(health issues, climate etc), cannot run outside doesn't make them less of a runner.

Just keep doing what is right for you. Good Luck with getting that well earned Graduate badge.


Well done you for going to the gym, that sounds super scary to me! I run outside as I have no other option, and some days it's not great running up hill into an oncoming gale. I don't think it matters where you do your C25k as long as you are enjoying it. I'm really enjoying spending time outside now that spring has made an appearance, why not give outside a try and see what works best for you personally?


I am on week 8 and all has been on tread mill. I got to week 9 before my knee gave out running outside, so opted for the treadmill 2nd time round just in case I hit problems again. Each have their benefits, but I do like keeping a record of my runs and can do this on the treadmill without having to get a fancy watch or download apps. Keep going, I don't feel a cheat, I feel fitter and better for the experience.


Hi Rebby,

I asked a similar question last week as I am relatively new to this re, outdoor and indoor benefits and truthfully I think once your running and training then anything is better than nothing.....

Yes outside may be a little more beneficial but we all need to start somewhere and sure we can always work towards outdoor training when we are a little fitter.

I am 45 now and I used to do a lot of running in school (long fecking time ago) but work, lifestyle etc etc etc means now I'm 14 and a half stone and unfit.

My ultimate goal is to run a full Marathon by the time I'm 50 so I have to start somewhere if that means starting on a treadmill then so be it.....

Keep up the good work..


I completed the programme mostly on the treadmill for safety reasons - I wasn't going to run on country roads with no pavements in the dark. I did/do run outside when I am able to and I'm one of the people who find running outside easier - there are no mental battles with the display, I just run and listen to my body and my music! I think that maybe there is a bit of "snobbery" about treadmill versus outside and I even saw a post from someone who said running on the treadmill was easy because it does all the work!! That made me cross - if it did all the work you'd be standing on the floor at the back of it after the first stride! I didn't reply to the post as I couldn't think of a way of saying what I wanted without it sounding rude! I certainly work hard wherever I run and I'd argue with anyone who said I didn't!

So put your mind at rest, get on your machine and go for it! Well done and good luck!!


Ignore silly comments. You are running. Thats ithe gd bit!

I did 2 mile fun run at school where I work this week.

I was so slow cf fit male pe teachers and only 1 or 2 female staff who r v fit. I was oldest fattest greyest ( few teachers are grey, they all dye their hair) and slowest. It took me all morning to get courage to do it in front of school community. For me, it was faster than normal. With stepping stones and laura I do that in 25 mins but no one has said anything to me since. Perhaps watching was too embarrassing? I dont care.

Do what you feel comfotable with! Better than that couch anyday!


Running is running, wherever it is. Personally, I find running outside more interesting (note, note necessarily more or less challenging, just more interesting). I take my kit wherever I go and plan a 5k route to do while I'm there. Was lucky enough to go to both Berlin and Athens on business recently and have run past the Brandenburg Gate and the Parthenon. Now that made me feel great to be a runner!


I don't know if you are referring to the thread I started on here a few weeks ago - treadmill or the great outdoors - and I certainly felt second class as I always run on a treadmill. However several lovely people jumped to my defence and made me feel better. As others have said, it's what works for you. I love being able to set it at a certain speed and it being constant. Also having the safety of a gym is important to me. Hold your head up high, be proud of what you are achieving!


I'm inclined to agree with all that has been said here - do what works for you. I run outside, mainly because I have a lovely country park to run in, and also because I cannot justify the cost of a gym. I ran on a treadmill for a very short time when I had gait analysis for my running shoes and found it quite okay - next winter I may look for a reasonably priced gym if the weather is bad. I don't think someone running mainly on a treadmill is in any way a fraud, inferior, or anything else less than an outside runner. There is, as already mentioned, the safety aspect of it, especially during the dark winter evenings. Enjoy your treadmill running. Best wishes.


I agree with everything said here. I'm only running in the gym at the moment and have just finished week 2, so I'm well behind you.

Just think back to what you could do pre week 1 and compare that with where you are now. It must be a huge difference so no you're not a fraud. Just an indoor runner.

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I'm the opposite, I've only run on treadmill once and found it difficult so for me it's way easier running outside. I don't think it matters at all, just what works/suits you best. Don't knock your achievements, you are fitter however you run.

in reply to notbad

I'm the very same. Struggled running on treadmill getting my gait analysis for new trainers. For me running outdoors is easier just one foot in front of the other however fast I can manage.


I know of an ultra-marathoner who does all his training on a treadmill, so don't believe the gremlins.


I am on week 8 run 2 and all of it done on treadmill because I don't always feel safe running outside and feel there is less stress on my knees - I also set the treadmill incline at 1. I am absolutely loving it but am sure I would never have got so far so soon if I was doing it outside. Once I graduate then I can think about moving it outside! Good luck.


In the dark rain with the wind in my face, I'd give anything for a treadmill but I know it would be too easy to get off as soon as I started tiring. I give in too easily. Outside, I have to get back home, which when I'm tired is the motivation I need. Deep respect to you for not getting off when the going gets tough. Both have their benefits and challenges, you do what is right for you and ignore the naysayers!

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Thank you so much for all your replies and reassurance. Definitely has made me feel better about running at the gym! I don't dislike doing the programme on the treadmill and will change the gradient to make it closer to road running as suggested. Just hope I can make it through to week 9.

Really do feel reassured now and less of a fraud ... thank you.


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