For those wondering about Treadmill vs Outdoor running

I ran 5 k this morning on the treadmill in 33 minutes. At least my watch says so . The treadmill display said 4.04k which is way off. There is little way of knowing which device is the correct or at least more accurate. However if i was outside id be tracked by GPS which would e a lot more accurate . Never mind stride and pace. Distance covered wouldn't be disputed. So bare that in mind when running indoor. Just enjoy your time . :)


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11 Replies

  • Hi

    On a treadmill you can set the pace you run at, which will give the distance you have covered. i.e. 5mph @ 36 mins = 3 miles? or am I missing something?

  • Well a treadmill will only ever measure belt speed. And if that hasnt been calibrated or tightened lately even thatll be out. Treadmills also don't or can't calculate stride. A watch will measure arm swings and calculate using your programmed height , weight and a collection of measurements using recent runs to pretty much guess your stride. Neither are perfect or super accurate. But put two pieces of equipment together using different means to measure distance and youre gonna have a tough time working out which is right . However as I said if youre running outdoor you are being tracked by your GPS device which is far more accurate.

  • as I said , my treadmill read me as almost 1KM behind my watch this morning.

  • You should have some idea by now of what sort of distance you can cover in that time. I'm not sure of how accurate a watch would be indoors, unless you have one that uses acceleration to estimate your distance. Even GPS isn't spot on, I have two watches, if I run with them both I will get a slightly different distance from each.

  • This is the problem though. If both devices are so wildly different how do you get an accurate idea of distance. A treadmill can set a belt speed but it can't tell your stride which can make up so much more or less speed than the set belt speed.

  • The devices aren't wildly different, just a small amount. I think the difference comes from how often the watch talks to the satellites, one does so every second, the other every 10 seconds. That would possibly make the second one cut off corners etc.

    I can't see how your stride length can make a difference on a belt, surely the machine counts how many times the belt revolves past a fixed point? Knowing the length of the belt makes it easy to measure distance traveled.

    These things are never going to be spot on, I think of them as a guide to the distances I am running, not absolute truth!

  • of course you can run faster or slower on a belt lol. Thats obvious. You can take long strides or many small ones . Ive done a lot of reading up on this. IF the belt isnt tightened also this is another factor. It isn't as black and white as you might think. ;) The amount of times ive been on one speed and almost fell off the back or out ran the belt speed and ended up humping the control panel haha. But yeah its very possible for your speed / stride to be very different to the belt. :)

    I will say this however ... I just ran 30 mins outdoors slow as hell and I ran 4 more mins its likely id match the 5k i ran on the treadmill ... so there we go haha. And thats going by the watch not treadmill display. I guess its like a weekly weigh in . Use the same equipment and stick to it. :)

  • Yes, of course you can run faster or slower, I'm not so silly as all that! I just done see how that change the distance traveled...yes, of course different treadmills will give different distances, same as watches.

  • But if you've set your watch you 30 minutes then you can only run as far as either your watch or treadmill tracks. See my point ;)

  • Umm... no...

  • Then move along :)

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