Running on Treadmill vs Outside: Does anyone... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

124,188 members153,647 posts

Running on Treadmill vs Outside

Joolez profile image

Does anyone know why I might find it easier to run on a treadmill than outside? I find I can go much longer on a treadmill. And does anyone else find this? Thanks

17 Replies
RainbowC profile image

It's not an uncommon experience. Theories vary as to why, but the general consensus is to do with the regular pace of the treadmill, the fact that because it's moving it's doing a little bit of the work for you, and the fact that it's so even compared to the ups and downs of outside.

One recommendation is to set the treadmill on a slight incline (2-3%) to build equivalence.

But don't worry about it - any running is good, whether a long run on the treadmill or a short trot outside! :)

Millsie-J profile image

I dont run on a treadmill but would think its different because there will no canver, no change in terrain, no changing conditions, no setting your own pace etc.

Lots of people on the forum run on a treadmill and outside so deal with these things as they progress their running.

As per the response above, you are running that is the important bit, enjoy!

Flossie22 profile image

I'm afraid I don't know, but bow to my superiors above. I only ran on a treadmill at the beginning up to week 6 or something, then I was frogmarched, or perhaps I should say cajoled, outside. I have not looked back. I just love the outdoors and I don't really mind whether the weather is dry or wet, warm, cool or cold, but then I think -2 or -6 is the coldest temperature I have run in, so I have not faced extremes. I like the fact that you can go at the pace you want and naturally speed up or slow down as and when you want, without having to use a switch or a button. I also love to appreciate nature in all it's glory. Is your running outside very hilly? Just a thought, if it is, then that's going to make it a lot harder than a treadmill and perhaps you could find a flatter route. But, maybe you just prefer running on a treadmill, nothing wrong with that! You're keeping fit, aren't you! 😊

davelinks profile image

Running on the treadmill is easier than running outdoors, for a variety of reasons. One reason is that the treadmill belt assists leg turnover, making it easier to run faster. So most runners find that their pace on the treadmill doesn’t correlate to their road pace. Also, some of the soft tissue conditioning or “hardening” that occurs with road running does not occur with treadmill running because the plate or base on the treadmill "gives" more than road surfaces. And, obviously there are no weather conditions to deal with when running indoors.

A 1% incline offsets the lack of air resistance most accurately, leaving the physiological demands between overground running and 1% incline treadmill running similar.😊

Joolez profile image
JoolezGraduate in reply to davelinks

That's really interesting Dave - I hadn't heard about hardening before but definitely find running on the treadmill is easier on my legs

ju-ju- profile image

I think the treadmill has a very stable terrain... I can't actually run on one I can't cope with not getting anywhere!!! As your runs get longer you may find its worth persevering with outside to keep you occupied....

I did the plan on the treadmill and then when it came to running outside it absolutely killed me. I only run on treadmill when it is really snowy or weather incredibly bad. Otherwise I just get my gear on and go out. Even this morning it was pretty cold but soon warmed up - it was lovely.

debze profile image

I recently purchased a treadmill so that i could run no matter what the weather or how dark it is outside. However I find it easier and more enjoyable running outside. I'm finding it's easier to run longer outside as I have the cool breeze, different terrain and scenery to look at. The treadmill gets me too hot and I find I keep looking at the timer which doesn't help lol.

Joolez profile image

Interesting - thanks everyone! My plan is to generally run outside but at my PT sessions we use the treadmill - it's quite gratifying to find it easier on there 😄

Millsie-J profile image
Millsie-JGraduate in reply to Joolez

Maybe aim for one run a week outside as a start?

Joolez profile image
JoolezGraduate in reply to Millsie-J

Thanks Jacs - I do run outside already, I just find it tougher than the treadmill

Millsie-J profile image
Millsie-JGraduate in reply to Joolez

You have a great combination then, enjoy! 😃

JoolieB1 profile image

This is a,ways a very popular question! I started out on the treadmill but it was so boring that I ventured outside in my running gear, expecting everyone to point and stare! I have been running now for a year and a half and I must say 99 percent of people out there are just not interested in me and they are kind enough to let me do what I enjoy without passing comment. The other 1 percent say "good morning" or "keep it up"! I find going from outside running to a treadmill hard because my legs have adjusted from the uneven surfaces of fields, woods and paths and I propel myself along. The mental stimulation of avoiding tree roots, pot holes, kerbs and cars I feel gives me a whole person workout. However, if treadmill running suits your lifestyle and you enjoy it and you can maintain that long term, go for it and well done

I interestingly, find it easier to run outside. I have done about 3 months in the gym on the treadmill and on Christmas Eve I went for a run outside. I found it far more enjoyable and easier. I think that you can go at your own pace, sometimes faster and sometimes slower(even in the wind from Barbara and Connor!) main thing is to keep running

Di-L profile image


Sadamski profile image

Being on a treadmill is kind of like being towed along at a constant pace, your legs are moving just to keep going, there is a part of the "Drive" motion that is missing when on a treadmill.

Outside you are controlling the speed and propelling yourself forward, on a treadmill it sets the speed and you are just keeping up with it.

Doodles123 profile image

I completed the programme outside then bought a treadmill. Use it 3 times a week & find it just as hard. I use the tv or music to combat the bordemn. That & trying to keep my dog & cat from jumping on with me & being hurled off the end in a tangle of all our legs!!!! I just work on the theory i find both tough so its got to be doing some good!!!

You may also like...