From Treadmill to the Great Outdoors? - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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From Treadmill to the Great Outdoors?

FocusChar profile image

Hello, first time commenting on here. I downloaded the Couch to 5K app way back in February and have tried to be consistent as I can with running three times a week. I started out using the treadmill, easy to control the speed and I didn't have to worry about people seeing my bright red face. It was a challenge but I got to week 6 and with the good weather I thought it was about time to face my fear and just run outside. Well I went for my first outdoor run and had to fall back all the way to week 3? I was just wondering if anybody else has found that running outdoors is more exhausting than on a treadmill. I'm slightly downhearted at thinking I'll have to start building up all over again. I'm going to stick to it. It really is refreshing to run outdoors with the scenic views but right now it's kicking my ass!

EDIT: Thank you all for the comments, they have boosted my confidence levels, especial to know I haven't been alone in the struggle! I've got a few things to think about and pacing, well it seems to be the key element! Thank you all again! x

20 Replies
Oldfloss profile image

It is different... that is all..:) Because inside... you have control..outside.. no control... weather, surface...different routes.. and even the same routes are never the same run.. concentration and care are needed and it takes a toll... get used to it and then..


Just carry on from where you feel comfortable and take it really slowly.... choose a route you enjoy.. relax and look around... you will soon settle into it :)

Yep.. I love the outdoors:)

FocusChar profile image
FocusChar in reply to Oldfloss

Thank you, I'll keep this in mind when I try again tomorrow! I completely get the same routes not being the same run! It's like a new challenge each time.

Saartjie profile image

Well done for getting to week 6! I find I looked forward to running much more once I ventured outside. I did realise though that I tended to go out much faster than on a treadmill and then be unable to carry on. You have to really concentrate on going as slowly as possible. You can always step it up towards the end if you need to. Now I have got the hang of pacing myself I can't go back to the treadmill...Especially while the weather is nice 😀

FocusChar profile image
FocusChar in reply to Saartjie

Thank you, I have to admit I don't put off going for a run outside as much as I can do with running on the treadmill! I tried really focusing on my pacing today and the last run really showed a different result! It surprising how much difference it made! I think i've got a long way to go with learning to pace myself outside but it really did change my thinking!

Queeny1969 profile image

Hi the same thing happened to me. I just found it so hard. Yesterday I graduated but in a treadmill. I’m now going back to week 4/5 to start again out doors. I’m not seeing it as a failure but just a new challenge on my way to becoming fit. It took me 5 months to do c25k do I don’t mind as long as I’m exercising


_SimonT_ profile image
_SimonT_Graduate in reply to Queeny1969

Great outlook! If you did the week 9 runs on a treadmill you still deserve your graduate badge! Don’t forget to claim it!

FocusChar profile image
FocusChar in reply to Queeny1969

Congratulations on graduating!

I admire you outlook & i think i just shocked myself. You are 100% right its a new challenge but if we've done it once we can do it again right! :-) x

EmmaRunning profile image

I found it v hard too. I worked my way through c25k on a treadmill and loved it. Then I started running outside and found it much harder. Ultimately I don’t want to be running on a treadmill always so I am running outside now but the difference is huge. Mostly cooler tho which is nice. I’m not able to run a full 5 outside yet and am thinking it’s probably a good idea to go back to the app and start out again. Ive tried to do it on my own ie run/walk but I’m not disciplined enough. I need someone bossing me around. Good luck anyway - I can totally sympathise - I think if we’ve managed the app on a treadmill then we can do it outside too. 😀

I'm in the same boat, I'm not disciplined enough to do this without the app just yet, I need someone to tell when when to start and stop 😂, and running outside has also looked so much better of an experience than running on a treadmill facing a wall 😂 I felt like maybe I was the only one how'd faced this but I can see now that the community that's been built here is a very supportive one and it's comforting to hear I'm not alone. Thank you all for your comments it's boosted me back up! Best of Luck to you as well Emma, Like Queeny said up there, it's just a new challenge! x

EmmaRunning profile image
EmmaRunningGraduate in reply to FocusChar

We will be fine. It’s just a case of slow and steady and some grit and determination. 😀😀

We will! 💪

Running outside is different but you're probably running too fast. On the treadmill you forget about pace as you just hit a button and away you go. Try consciously running very slowly and it will feel better. You don't have to go back and start again, just carry on with the programme.

When I made the transition I eased in gradually, running outside for one run and on the treadmill the other two, then the next week I ran twice outside, etc.

I hadn't been back on the treadmill for years until the recent snow and was forced to go on it again and I found it so hard! But as you've already found, outside is so much nicer and fresher. Good luck.

I think you hit the nail on the head there, I defiantly feel like I was running harder and faster than what I'm physically capable of right now. I tried running slower and more aware of my pace in my run today and I noticed a big difference when I completed the run! Transitioning in outdoors running with treadmill sounds like a great idea I'll be sure to mix it up as well! Thank you 😄

lollytwist profile image

I started this programme on my treadmill til the stupid machine broke. I have been running outside since week 2 and I much prefer it. I did start off slower outside but ha e soon built it up. I was never that fast to begin with. Keep at it 😄

FocusChar profile image
FocusChar in reply to lollytwist

Kinda why I moved outside, my treadmill began making some strange noises, gave me the push to put my nerves aside and just run outdoors. Pacing is a lot more work I've found but the advise to slow it down defiantly worked for me today! Thank you 😄

I’ve been running on the treadmill since the app. Did try for 3 years on the road but always gave up after a few runs as I would have to start or finish on a hill or drive somewhere flat. So kinda dreading the outdoors myself

There isn't many places for me to run by my house just a small playing field where I would have to run around it far to many times for me to count whilst doing one of the run days or a wide country road. Plus side has been I've got to see more of whats around me and turns out theres a little wooded area by the side of the road with donkeys! Made my morning run, although there seemed a little bit wary of the red faced girl!

HoagyM profile image

I graduated this morning, with my third outdoor run, all the rest were on the treadmill. I found going outdoors was not too difficult (bear in mind I have my treadmill set on 5 deg incline), but I did find my legs were aching much, much more afterwards - so much so I had to revert to the treadmill again on the next runs to let them recover, that sort of thing.

Right now I love having the luxury of choosing whether to run outside or on the treadmill. I enjoy both in different ways.

_SimonT_ profile image
_SimonT_Graduate in reply to HoagyM

5% incline?! You’re practically a fell runner! 😂

FocusChar profile image
FocusChar in reply to HoagyM

Congratulations on graduating!!

wow 5%?! Trooper! I did notice for the first time since I moved here that the road I've been jogging on does have quiet a few ups and downs. How I never noticed before I've no idea, I think I've just been too much in my own head hating how much harder the run felt to notice 😂

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