Treadmill or not to Treadmill

So how is it that last night I ran 3 x 5.5 mins 1 x 3.5 mins on a treadmill, felt exhausted but really chuffed but if I try and run off a treadmill I feel like crying in about 3 mins?! Leader of the C25K says its because the treadmill is flat - fair enough. She also says its because the treadmill is moving my feet - ok I could understand that argument if I was basing my runs on distance but running for 20 mins is running for 20 mins in my book! Put it this way, 6 weeks ago I could barely have run for 30 secs on a treadmill so I have definitely improved, but worried I will suffer when we do the real life 5k which clearly wont be on a treadmill... any advice?!

14 Replies

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  • I've never used a treadmill, but I'd think it's very different because it's doing at least some of the work for you - at the very least, it's setting your pace, and although you're putting in the work, you're basically riding it. For all runners, the beginning of a run is the hardest part, when you're finding a rhythm and getting going.

    I'd persist with running outside. Don't try to run too fast - in fact, try to go slow.

  • my advice...get out there to the beautiful outdoors and run. Yes its hard, challenging etc, but the rewards are far greater than being indoors looking at 4 walls!! Good luck

  • It's all about the pace. When you are running on a treadmill this is controlled for you - as soon as you step outside, it can all go to pot. Do you use the downloads? If you do, you will already be running to music. On your next treadmill run, focus on how your pace/footfall fits with the music and try to keep to this rhythm next time you run outside. Also, when you do start running outside, try to take smaller steps than you would do on the treadmill. As your leader says, the treadmill is doing some of the work and you will be feeling that your stride length is longer than it really is. When you try to replicate this outside, you will be over striding, which is both tiring and could lead to injury.

  • Don't worry about it. I did almost all c25k on a treadmill. If you think it's cheating add a 0.5 - 1% incline to compensate for wind resistance etc. The treadmill is brilliant for run/walk where it helps if the time and speed are to hand, but for long runs it's BORING.

    When it came time for me to leave the nest and run in the real world (parkrun) the only problems were hills, uneven surfaces, hills, mud, hills, people, hills, dogs etc So don't worry it's exactly the same just a bit more complicated.

  • Thanks for all the comments - it definitely helps with pace as I know I am comfortable at 7.2 kmph (I know I am snail like but I am definitely running! :) ) and I know that 'Happy' is the exactly right beats to run to. I run / walk for 25 mins in addition to the warm up and cool down 10 mins to compensate for it being easier but I will add the gradient too and see how I get on!

  • It is very different running outside to running on a treadmill. I have only ever used the treadmill for a gait analysis and I found it unbelievably hard! So I'm sure the same goes for the other way round

  • I've not tried C25K on the treadmill but I went through a cycling phase a few years ago where I did a mixture of being on my bike and in the gym and it's just not the same when you're on the spot staring at a TV screen/clock/wall/mirror. Running outside has its challenges as everyone says - other people, bikes, dogs, cars, tree branches, mud, inclines, dodgy pavements, stones etc.... but the rewards are magnificent. I have one favourite route that I use to know if I'm improving in speed on the longer runs and sometimes mix it up a bit (even got a bit lost last night, which keeps you going in itself!) Even the obstacles break the monotony up. Why not try a mixture of both and see how you get on? At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter where you do it, because you're doing it nonetheless, and you can be proud of that!

  • Give running outside another go. So what if it feels different when you run outside. It is different. Don't worry about it apparently setting you back in a couple of weeks when you switch to outside running. In the long run you'll enjoy the change of scenery, the weather, being able to adjust your pace without dialling things in and just generally the feel of being able to run unencumbered that a change to outdoors will be worth it.

    I'm not saying that running on a treadmill is wrong. It's just that I feel that you are missing out on so much by exclusively running on the treadmill.

  • I know I should get out but the gym I have been going to is in a hotel, very under subscribed and quiet so I don't have to see anyone I know while doing a panting beetroot impression! But I will have to bite the external bullet as membership runs out shortly! May go first thing while people still asleep!

  • It's very easy to go off too fast outside, and the surface (and possibly terrain) is less forgiving. There are also the elements (particularly wind) to contend with. You have improved and you will keep on improving. I much prefer being outside, the fresh air, the scenery, the feeling of being alive, the interaction with other runners etc. I find I get very bored on a treadmill (I spent a few weeks in SE Asia just after graduation where it was impossible to run outside, and 40 minutes was a real torture). Don't worry about it, it will come together if you keep slow and plan your routes.

  • And I should have added, don't worry about what other people are thinking of you. They are either neutral, or are thinking good on her for getting out there. Get yourself some brightly coloured Lycra and go strut your stuff! 7.2kph is not snail pace, whatever pace you can work at is just right for you.

  • 20 minutes of running is great wherever you do it. If you're enjoying the treadmill don't stop. Might be nice to throw in an outside run every week or so. It's different, and it takes some learning to master both so don't be worried if you need to step back to an earlier week.

  • Well I had planned to run outside this morning but the dog had other ideas when he started barking at a hedgehog at 4am :( Planning to try tomorrow morning instead! I do run outside each Saturday for the session with the trainer running the course but I do find it much harder I think because there's a slope involved!

  • Hmm so now I know the answer to my question. I ran the same routine this morning on the lanes as on Monday night on a treadmill and it wasn't really any more or less difficult but my GOD my poor knee and hip are giving me some pain! Definitely need new trainers to do that again! Still I ran for 21 mins total and am knackered!

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