C25k treadmill to outdoors, much harder! - Couch to 5K

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C25k treadmill to outdoors, much harder!


I have just restarted week 6 as I decided to retreat from the treadmill back to the great outdoors. Wowzers, what a shock! I managed a straight 20 min run on the treadmill and can just about manage 5min straight pounding the pavements! Anyone else had this problem? Would be grateful for any advice from all you runners! I do want to continue outdoors now and move forward. Perhaps I will need to start back at week 5. I have been outdoors twice this week mixing fast walking with jogging. Would much appreciate your advice going forward as I want to get to graduation running outdoors :-)

17 Replies

I have done a few runs on the treadmill and have found it very different to running outside. This was at the beginning of the programme for me. I think if it were me I would start back at week 5, take it slow and steady and build up again from there. I think its because you have other elements that come into play such as wind, rain, sun, traffic- depending on where you run and different surfaces which all have an effect. Main thing is, don't get despondent, I can understand how you feel, but stick with it, you are doing really well and it *will* get more comfortable for you. Good luck x

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, it means a lot to me. I will definitely continue and I agree - start at week 5 and build up again! I think it's the harshness of the pavements, sapping my energy. The treadmill has give, so not so harsh on the legs! Onwards and upwards! I will graduate outdoors, it will just take a few weeks longer :-)

no-excuseGraduate in reply to NatC25Kiskillingme

You will be fine, just slow right down if you have to so that you can complete the intervals-its the only way I could do it anyway- you will find that speed comes later. I do enjoy running outdoors though, and the rain is fantastic x


I would also go back a week. You are not running a race - yet. Be kind to yourself, I say, and definitely cut yourself a little slack as you make the transition to road running. The thing I most like about road running or outdoor running is you can do it anywhere. And you discover places you might not have seen otherwise. I have seen waterfalls, canals, weirs and things I didn't know existed locally (I move around a lot) and am always brightened by the discovery of these "new" places. I think running stretches us to seek new places too.

I have done a few runs on a treadmill but I find it so monotonous and sterile. Plus I still feel as if I am in motion for about half an hour afterwards!

Good luck! Xxx


We have a treadmill but I have never ran on it! Always to scared I'd fall! Only used it for brisk walking during last winter. I enjoy running outside.


It may be that you need to think a bit about your running style and make sure that you are landing as lightly as possible and on the balls of your feet. The pavement is not as forgiving as the treadmill and you may need a slightly different technique. It's well worth persevering though as the rewards for running outside are so great. Good luck!


I agree with others, start at week 5 and just enjoy being outdoors. Don't be hard on yourself, it is very different but so much more rewarding to run outside. You are making the right decision I think treadmills are awful!! Good luck and keep us posted.... :)

I had the same problem although it was much earlier on that I decided to ditch the treadmill. I found that my problem was that I'd grown so used to running at the 7.2km/h that I'd been settin the treadmill to that I suddenly tried going a lot faster outside. I struggled to judge my speed a lot. I'd suggest just really slowing down and bearing in mind that the great outdoors has quite a few more hills than a treadmill but much better scenery! Good luck!


I totally agree with what's been said. I still find it so much harder to keep up the sustained pace outside. It is much more enjoyable though and worth persevering. I have done the vast majority of my running on the treadmill and really want to do Parkrun but keep chickening out as I feel I don't have enough experience of outdoor running.

Thank you all so much, great advice. I am going back to start week 5 again on Monday and will go from there and I WILL graduate outdoors!! I am doing the race for life in Cambridge on 20th July and intend to run the whole 5ks, so I have nearly 2 months to get ready!!

Seethelight, please book your parkrun, you will be just fine. It will give you something to sim for too :-)

Once again, thanks all - your advice is invaluable :-) xx

I set the incline on the treadmill to 1% to mimic outdoor running more. Definitely guve parkrun a try. I do most of my running indoors but have done 2 parkruns and loved them. I managed my best time ever yesterday ;-) good luck x

Brilliant haze2512...keep up the good work :-) x


You are to be commended for you decision to stick with outdoor running. A treadmill has it's place in certain circumstances but it does make running deceptively easier. I much prefer to run outdoors and the weather is warm and dry most of the time so no excuse really. Good luck with your running - it may be harder in the great blue yonder but so much more satisfying and a far greater achievement. Enjoy. Best wishes.

Thank you Fitmo! I am definitely staying outdoors. I think my fitness will improve too outdoors :-)

I am an outdoorsy person, gyms are not for me, at all. I love being outside in the weather (pretty much regardless of the weather), running through fresh air, in green open spaces. I find it far more sociable than a treadmill, saying hello to people, smiling at the cute dogs (or occasional cute guy!), enjoying the smells of freshly cut grass, birdsomg etc - I'm prattling on now, lol. I have used a treadmill once, and that was when I away on business and couldn't find a route that was sensible and safe to run on but needed to get my kicks - didn't enjoy it though!

People have mentioned the surface wrt running outside - running on tarmac is not supposed to be good for you, and your body will probably notice it more as you are used to a treadmill. I would suggest, if you have the option, of running on grass, eg around a park or something, or what I do is run along the local cycle paths, and most of the route has grass to the side so I run on grass for most of the time.

As people have said, it is different, don't expect to transition just like that, go easy on yourself and take your time. Most of all enjoy! :)

Thank you the magical pixie :-) I started off first 2 weeks outdoors, but got really self conscious and retreated to the comfort of our barn where our treadmill lives. I have got really bored being indoors and thought, stuff the looks I get...& went back outdoors 5 weeks later. Very hard going, but I'm not going back indoors now unless the weAther is way too bad to be outside! I will persevere and graduate outdoors! Back to start week 5 again tomorrow :-) thanks for your advice x


I’ve done exactly the same, started on the treadmill and ventured outside at week 5. I managed the 3 x 5 mins ok- ish on the treadmill so I repeated W5R1 on the road and it was much harder. My legs ached and my breathing was heavier. I managed the run but the last 5 mins was mind over matter. I’m going to stick at this for one note run before I decide whether to move onto W5R2 (8 mins!) my legs are aching more afterwards too. I think it’s worth building up strength and stamina before increasing the distance and I don’t want to be falling in a heap in the road 😂

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