Treadmill vs outside : I am on week 5 of c25k... - Couch to 5K

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Treadmill vs outside

bethanyb profile image

I am on week 5 of c25k and I have been using my treadmill at home to complete my runs since I don’t have the confidence to run outside, I have heard that people who complete it on a treadmill can’t run outside after for more than a few minutes because it is so much harder than on the treadmill. Is this true or will I be able to run outside when I have finished?

15 Replies
Greensky1888 profile image

Hi I found running outside and on a treadmill completely different. I thought that running outside a lot harder as I think the treadmill does a lot of the work for you. I ran on a treadmill for a while and then when I started on the road I found muscles where stiff after that weren’t on the treadmill.

bethanyb profile image
bethanybGraduate in reply to Greensky1888

Hi thats what i was worried about was it a big difference?

Greensky1888 profile image
Greensky1888Graduate in reply to bethanyb

I thought it was and really felt the positives when I started running outside. It was a lot more straining on the leg muscles but that soon passed the more I done it.

Well worth trying 👍🏻👍🏻

bethanyb profile image
bethanybGraduate in reply to Greensky1888

Okay i just hate the idea of seeing someone i know and i live in a small village so i most likely would :/ but i need to at some point!

I've been mixing it up between indoor treadmill and outdoor running and agree that the outdoor runs are harder. I am in week 8 now and repeated it because I l felt I needed the extra time to adjust to outdoors. It's a bit of a slog but I do manage to push through. Don't be intimidated by the outdoor runs, you just need time to adjust. Maybe try alternating if you can. It's a nice way to break up the monotony.

bethanyb profile image
bethanybGraduate in reply to 7seas

yes thats a good idea- thank you i will try that especially since we have nice weather atm

sTrongFuse profile image

It is apparently harder (having done all my running outdoors, I'm not the one to ask, I guess).

It's really just a slightly different technique as you are constantly having to adjust to changes in incline, surface, wind, other people, etc.) I suspect, however, that once you've done it a couple of times, you just adapt automatically.

As for others seeing you, if they are runners they will almost certainly be supportive, and if they aren't, they won't know any different. The only person who knows how far you've run and how much you are enduring is you. One advantage of the current "lockdown" is that there are fewer people out and about, so maybe now is the best time to make the transition.

Good luck in any event.

bethanyb profile image
bethanybGraduate in reply to sTrongFuse

thank you. I will try my week 5 run 2 outside and see how i go

Running outside is completely different. Increase the treadmill gradient to 1 or 1.5% to make treadmill running more challenging, but the best thing to do (in my opinion) would be to ditch the treadmill and get running outside.

bethanyb profile image
bethanybGraduate in reply to Johng237

thank you- yes i wanted to increase the incline slightly but my treadmill is really old aha so you can only do a couple of different settings. i think ill try and get outside.

Johng237 profile image
Johng237 in reply to bethanyb

Good for you ... go for it.

And if you see anyone you know, chances are you’re running and they’re not, so you hold the moral high ground 👍👍👍

2718281 profile image

I did c25k on a treadmill, I continued to use the treadmill until the lockdown began (I did one parkrun and a 10k race outdoors). Since the gym is closed and I don't have access to the treadmill anymore, I've been running outside. I haven't had any issues, the most difficult part at the beginning was sticking to a pace. The treadmill does it for you, but when you are outside, you might be running too fast without noticing, and then after 10 min cannot make it anymore. Also, you will probably be running uphill and downhill, so you need to adapt your pace... So in the beginning, I really focused on pacing myself (slow, slow, slow...) but now I can do an easy run and a long run without having to worry about it too much. The other difference I found is the surface. Outdoors you land on a surface that is not perfectly flat, so either you already have developed those muscles or you will need to adapt a bit, and will be sore at the beginning in places you never were on the treadmill. My advice would be to transition slowly. Take one run each week in the beginning, and go very slow.. after a couple of weeks, try to run outside twice, let your body adapt, and so on...

bethanyb profile image
bethanybGraduate in reply to 2718281

Thank you, nice to hear from someone who did it on the treadmill too. I used to be a swimmer and have always had relatively muscly legs also from walking lots as a toddler with my grandad so hopefully it wont take too long to adapt although i assume the muscles will be used differently in running. i have enjoyed the treadmill keeping pace for me but i guess i'll see how i go

IannodaTruffe profile image

Welcome to the forum and well done on your progress.

This guide to the plan is essential reading

and is full of tips.

Running is running, wherever you do it and transferring to outdoors may take a few runs to adjust to the differences, but certainly all the work you put in on the treadmill will stand you in good stead.

Enjoy your journey.

Roxdog profile image

I started the programme on a treadmill and moved outside around week 4. Nothing can beat outdoor running, but when you transition it feels slower. So there's a temptation to speed up to match the feeling you have on a treadmill. Good luck!

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