Treadmill or outside?: I was wondering how... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Treadmill or outside?


I was wondering how people do their couch 2 5k? Treadmill or outside?

I have tried both but prefer the treadmill as I am able to control my speed better and don't have to worry about weather. I also like having a watter bottle holder! The one thing that bugs me though is the clock - I cover it with my towel to stop me clock watching.

I do plan to start doing at least one run a week outside when the weather perks up. I plan to run outside when I 'graduate' so I feel it would be beneficial.

Oh, and my gym is right over the road from an office block and the drama that occurs outside is better than eastenders! So at least I am entertained!

14 Replies

Outside definately :)

I would find the treadmill toooo teadious

I love running outside though :)


have only ran outside in all weathers so far ,my one experience of a treadmill was having my Gait Analysis done, now that felt weird to me... each to the their own but running outside is wonderful :D

I'm firmly in the outside camp. Part of the joy of it for me is running a new or different route, smelling the flowers, seeing something different. I take my kit everywhere with me. I've run around the centre of Athens and Berlin, I've run in Florida (too hot!). I ran in some light snow this morning. I'd never done that before - it was lovely. I'm all warmed up after a few minutes, so the cold is no problem. Dont worry about the water bottle. In time you'll find that a drink half an hour before you start out is just fine for 5k.


I have a bit of a phobia with dogs, so running outside in the evening is pretty much out of the question. I'll try a parkrun when I graduate. Hopefully I'll be able to hide behind other runners!

So I've done all my running so far on a treadmill. Apparently it's easier on the joints which is a good thing for me. I put the incline up to 0.5% for half my run today. Apparently 1% incline on the treadmill is about equal to air resistance running outside.

christop in reply to rmnsuk

I like to put a 1% incline on the treadmill, and if I am struggling towards the end of the run I lower it rather than slow down. Found it to be quite a good trick as you don't get down feeling you get when you start to slow.


Each has benefits... but most people prefer to run outside. I run on a treadmill prob once every 2 weeks.

Outside or inside... better than doing none at all :-)


I have spent a year running on my treadmill and still enjoy it. Did my first run outside yesterday. I will continue to do both. You need to be outside if you plan on doing a park run, or organised event as I have found it feels completely different under foot and not just sign up to do an event thinking the switch is simple as its most definitely not.

Good luck

I prefer the treadmill myself, I get too distracted outside by dog walker's, vehicle's whizzing past me beeping their horns etc. At least in the gym im with like minded people & I can watch music videos. But hey that's my preference & I agree about the weather thing as well.


Definitely Outside. When running out side you will find your natural pace and not be controlled by a machine. Running outside is harder but very satisfying. As for the water bottle holder, you don't need water on a 30 min run. It's great to be outdoors and the weather doesn't matter, unless it's slippy underfoot. I've been running in really cold weather and always come back wet with sweat and feeling good. You can go to different places for a run so you're not looking at the same gym walls. Rocky didn't train on a treadmill. Lol.

I prefer to run outside. Even though you are running the treadmill is only measuring the distance that the belt has traveled no matter whether you take short strides or long strides. I can run faster on the treadmill but that's because it is doing some of the work for me. My suggestion for you is to do whichever keeps you motivated. Good luck!

Definitely running outside. The first time I did C25K (couple of years ago) I mostly did it on a treadmill - was very self-conscious and didn't want to run outside until I'd lost some weight. When I finished the 9 weeks I moved to running outside and while I had found the 30 minute runs on a treadmill fairly comfortable, running for that long outside was much more difficult, sometimes finding myself having to take walking breaks.

The trouble with a treadmill is the belt is constantly moving, dragging you along rather than you pulling/pushing yourself along the road - it is markedly easier even if you do adjust incline 'to compensate'. The other thing is, as you point out 'it helps control your speed better', wouldn't you be better learning how to control your speed yourself, rather than letting a machine do the work for you?

For me one of the best things about C25K is it's a learning experience, getting to know what you can do, how your body reacts and how to improve. I think the best way to do that is by running outside - it's a bit harder, but more beneficial and all the more rewarding when you do it.


Definitely outside for me. If I'd had to use a treadmill I would never have done it as it would have meant trips to the gym and that just doesn't fit in with where I'm at, at the moment. My son-in-law uses a treadmill and says it's wonderful but they apparently have screens and you can select what sort of location you want to be in. He says he went for a lovely walk through the forest the other day!

I agree with your plan. You are comfortable with the treadmill and enjoy it. I don't find it much fun running outside in cold depressing dark weather. If you do find the treadmill dull and uninteresting could you post what is happening outside the office as it sounds interesting. When the weather improves and you have graduated it has to be running outside. Apart from being more relaxing you feel far more satisfied after a run outside for no particular reason.


I do all my running on a treadmill as i don't fancy running around in the dark by time i get home! I just put my headphones on crank up the volume and run along to acdc for 40mins

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