Treadmill v road

just moved on to week 3. First 2 weeks were on the treadmill and found it hard but did it. Tried to do wk3 on the road but really struggled and started to get pains down the side of my shins so unfortunately had to give up. I am a big bloke and find it easier on the treadmill. Enjoyed the outside world and wondered is there a good way to build it up so not stuck in the gym?


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  • I did c25k on the treadmill.Then did parkrun to graduate. Running outside was very different. I think you run faster outside so try to run really slowly especially at first so you don't end up shattered after the first K. I quickly found running outside so much better and discovered a good pace.

  • First of all, well done on getting the first two weeks done. At the end of the day it doesn't matter where you run as long as you run. But, as you've probably already noticed, running outside is much nicer than the gym!

    I did most of the programme on the treadmill and found the transition outside different, not harder. The secret is, like rmnsuk says, to run very, very slowly as it's harder to pace yourself. I eased myself into it by alternating a treadmill run with an outside run. Your body does run a bit differently on a treadmill and it has to get used to the different surfaces outside so slowly does it.

    Regarding your shin pain, have you been fitted with proper running shoes? Make sure you stretch too. Good luck and let us know how you get on.

  • I'm actually going to do the opposite....I'm in week 8 and have been doing the whole lot outdoors. However, in my final week I'm at a conference and will be staying in a hotel with a gym but nowhere suitable outdoors to run. Planning on doing my final week on a treadmill and v. nervous about this transition because I adore the outdoors....however, at least thenI will know how fast I am running by the treadmill settings!

  • Running in the countryside is kinder on your joints, although you may need to get trail trainers to cope with all the mud (at this time of year). Plus, it's easy to turn an ankle if you're not careful. I always run along the top of hills on relatively flat and compact grass.

    You can also get shin supports/calf supports/compression sleeve things, which I got from my local sports shop to help my shins.

    Apparently it's slightly less impact on roads than pavements (?), although you have to wear high-vis stuff and be careful.

    There are many more experienced runners on this forum than me, so I'm sure there's lots more advice about how to get your body used to the impact. It's something I"m interested in too, so I may start a topic about it. Good luck!!

  • Hi

    If your getting shin pain another point could be that your are pushing too much, your pins may not be quite used to the extra stress yet, so would advise backing off a tad. Also, running on the road you are starting to use muscles that you don't use on treadmill, so take it steady first off out on the road

    But, I prefer being out on the road or park/trail running.

    I considered using the treadmill at my local gym for the winter, but on my first visit I was put off by the busy gym and having to wait to use the machine, so walked out. But saying that, if you've been into the treadmill to do the programme, then as it's winter carry on using it for now, then gradually go over to the outside.

    Remember to always stretch well after running, just have a bit of a limber up before running.

    When you start running you'll find you will get little niggles with muscles, which you will get from time to time. Stretch is the word!

    Good luck on the rest of the programme, take it easy.

  • I found that running outside was harder but much more fun than a treadmill. Got all sorts of random aches and pains at first. Our pavements tend to slope quite sharply towards the road so i tried to mix left and right-hand pavements. Sounds daft but my calves complained otherwise. Maybe try a mix of treadmill sometimes and outside sometimes. Helped me and I still like to go back to the gym for a change sometimes.

    And take it slow like everyone says!

  • I am the opposite I do most of my running on the road and love it recently got access to a really cheap gym and thought I might use the treadmill on really bad weather days. I hate the treadmill harder work, boring and hotter than lovely fresh air ! I was advised to put it on 1% gradient but I prefer 0.5%. I have now done a few 5ks on the treadmill but am faster and my running style is easier on roads :) Maybe see if you can find a leisure trail to run on, we have one that has a surface which doesn't get muddy and is more forgiving than roads or stick with the treadmill for now it doesn't matter where you run as long as you run and are pain free :) Good luck :)

  • i started on the treadmill and got to week 7. When I went outside i went back to week 3 as I found the breathing outside so much harder - my lungs felt like they were on fire. don't worry about repeating a week or going back a week to transition outside - just keep going and you'll get there. Well done!

  • What everyone else says. Just another couple of points:

    1. Are you doing anything on your rest days? It might help to build those muscles that are complaining and struggling by doing some low impact exercises, like swimming or cycling. There are also some Strength and Flexibility podcasts you can download from

    2. Sometimes when doing something that is tougher on your body than your previous workouts it is worth adding in extra rest days - perhaps running every 3rd day instead of every 2nd day - your body is having to make a huge adjustment whilst learning to run, being damaged and repairing itself stronger and better. It is the rest days that make those repairs possible. Perhaps giving yourself a bit more rest time at this stage will help your body adapt and stave off injury.

    Good luck with this and let us know how it goes.

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