Couch to 5K
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Why do I find running on a treadmill so difficult compared to running outside?

Unfortunately I am a fair weather runner.As it was pouring with rain this morning I decided to do my scheduled 5km run on the treadmill at the gym.I find this so boring and monotonous that I can't help but keep pausing or stopping the treadmill for a break to get my breath and have a drink.I never feel the need to have a break when running outside.I did manage to run my 5km after stopping several times and adjusting my speed up and down accordingly but my time must have been awful due to all the breaks.

I am scared I am going to lose my new found stamina to run continuously for 40 mins + in the winter months if I have to rely on using treadmills in bad weather.Does anyone have any ideas/advice how I can overcome this please?

7 Replies

I did the whole of C25K on the treadmill and it was a few weeks after graduating before I ventured outside to run. Now I love being outside and am finding it really hard to get going on the treadmill again.

My plan is to use the treadmill for interval work to try and break up the monotony of the 30-40 mins and when the weather/light is on my side I'll go out for a good run.

Could you consider interval training and maybe go outside at the weekend or when the weather is favourable?


I did the first 4 weeks on the treadmill, outside since except for run1 in week8. The time seems so much slower on the treadmill than when running outside, and yes, it is more boring. However, having the option is better than not doing anything. Just get some good music and vary the speed/incline. Shame you don't get some good downhill bits though!


I have been running outside for best part of a year now and tried a treadmill twice before and had to come off it because it made me dizzy, oh well dizzier than usual! Got some good tips from lovely treadmill runners on here and tried again this week. Had one hiccup when I managed to pull my stop cord off my Tshirt so of course all systems down. Anyway I got running again and found it OK, I will use it for hill work when the pavements are icy in the winter. I don't mind a bit of rain or sleet now and again and I love the snow so if its snowing I'll just put my spikes on over my old trainers. There is I have to agree nothing more boring than a treadmill, I also hated seeing myself all the time in the mirror, whats that all about, mirrors in front of treadmills?!? The other thing I noticed was the noise, I sounded like a baby elephant stamping its feet along, now I'm not even over weight these days so I dread to think what I would have sounded like when I was 2 stone heavier, eeekkk :)


I imagine running on a treadmill would be mind numbingly boring!

Man up and get your feet wet!

Only kidding there's no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing.

Treat yourself to something new to wear! You can get water resistant trail running tops although for 40 mins or so you should be okay in a long sleeved top unless its absolutely pouring down.


I think the treadmill is ok for shorter distances or intervals but mind numbingly boring otherwise. Running in the rain is FUN ! It seems like a really bad idea while you're sat on the couch thinking you really should go for a run but, once you're out there, it feels great. I bought a running jacket at Aldi today so I had no excuse not to go for a run. After a mile, I was too warm and took it off to tie around my waist - I got soaked through and ran 5.43 miles. It felt great ! Try it - the worst that can happen is you hate it and turn round and go home for a hot bath ;-)

If you really have to use the treadmill, try the Speed podcast rather than aiming for a distance - it breaks the run up into intervals and stops it being so tedious.


I really like running in the rain! It keeps me from overheating! I put on a showerproof running jacket but take it off once I warm up. I really don't mind getting soaked through as long as I am running. And I LOVE splashing through puddles as I run, like a big kid (aged 51!). I do have to cover my car seat with loads of towels afterwards before I drive home tho.

I even went out this evening for a 30 min hill session despite the roads being like rivers.

I did weeks 1 to 7 on the treadmill and then ventured out in to the freezing cold in mid Feb, and havent been on a treadmill since! The only way I could tolerate it was to put a towel over the front of the treadmill to hide the timer display and try and watch something like football on the tv in the gym whilst listening ot Laura (not a fan of football but it was a distraction).

I might have to go back to the treadmill if it gets icy underfoot but NOT looking forward to it!


In an attempt to make the treadmill more interesting, I have gone back to the start of c25k and have been working through it again using two run speeds rather than walking and running. I knew I could do 5k on the treadmill at 8.5kph, so I set my 'walk' speed to 8kph and my run speed to 9kph (later readjusted to 8.2 and 9.2, because those were more comfortable speeds). At the end of the structured 20mins (between warm up and cool down), I then push to 30mins at the fast pace, then up the speed again (9.7kph) and go for the 5k.

This has had the added benefit that as I move through the weeks I am now running faster than I was, and I can feel that I am pushing myself. It really does make it more interesting and gives me something to follow.

When I get to the longer runs (I'm on week 5 again now) and it starts to get boring again, I'll go back to the start, but up the pace again. Plan is to get up to being able to run at 10kph for a 30min 5k. Then it will be time for a new challenge :)


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