Couch to 5K
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How/when should I transition from treadmill to outdoors?

Had a LOONG day at work today, but still completed W6R3 so very proud of myself - I was really dreading it!

I do my C25K programme on a treadmill, and my speeds are NOT fast. I tried doing it outdoors (roundabout W4R1) and found it really, really difficult, so I've stuck to the treadmill since. Now I'm starting to wonder, should I try outdoors again? What about going back to W4 outdoors and interspersing that with my treadmill sessions? Or should I continue to W9, and then see if I can transition?

7 Replies

Hi. I mix the mill and outdoors. Which Indo depends mostly on how I feel at the time (well, mostly on the weather ...) Most people find outdoor harder than the mill, but personally I find it the other way round - my times outside are better than when treadmilling.

So I'd say to suck it & see, then do what feels right for yourself. Doing it is the main thing ... what you do & how you do it is secondary. Best of luck!


I am a 55 year old female. I started this program by running outside. I am now on week 5 and have done the last 2 weeks on the treadmill as I feel safer. I don't feel confident running on the uneven pavements and as I'm doing this program to get fit for a holiday, I don't want to injure myself by tripping up on the pavements outside.


What Malcy says! Suck it and see. One day when you've plenty of time and the weather's good go out and run round the roads. If it seems too hard slow down, that may be the problem with outdoor running for people used to the treadmill, I know my treadmill speed is slower than my 'natural' outdoor pace. Good luck!


I run outside and use my local parks, lucky have two a short drive away one quite hilly and the other a lovely park. If I do a figure of eight round it I can run about 3.19km but very slow, but hey out there running . Tried a treadmill but found it very boring. Good Luke with rest of the program. Pat :-)


I did all of c25k apart from one week 3 run on the treadmill. I found running outside really hard as there is nothing to keep you on an even pace & I ran too fast, getting out of puff & hating it. once Id finished c25k my teenage girls decided to give it a go. they would do 2 runs on the treadmill at home & one run a week outside, which I ran with them. that was up until week 5 where the runs are different & we did all of those & week 6 outside together, then carrying on to complete the plan.

personally I would carry on with the treadmill & complete the program & then perhaps try running outside from about week 2, etc, maybe even just doing one run of each week until you can build up to 30mins outside. not just that, the weather should hopefully be nicer then & you may even find that running outside is alot easier for you & run for 30mins straight off.

good luck with the rest of the plan. shelley x


I didn't use a dreadmill for the first 2 years of running and now really regret it as I find them so darn hard compared with outdoor running. I would suggest mixing up as soon as you are comfortable with your running stride and breathing, that way you won't have the hang ups that I seem to have, albeit mine are difficulties with dreadmills. (hence my name for them). Good luck with the rest of the program, in a few weeks you could be a graduate twice, 1 = treadmill, 2 = outdoors, wow that would be worth a big celebration.


When I started the program, I hadn't run outside in about 10 years but was an on-off treadmill runner. I decided to test out outdoor running slowly after completing week 3, just to make sure I didn't accidentally die from an asthma attack. Here's what I did: For week 3 and 4, I added an incline of 1% to my regular speed. At W5R3, I ran outside (successfully!) and found that I had to make a conscious effort to slow down. It turns out I run much faster outside (hah, not that fast!), so to keep from injuring myself, I just take it as slow as possible to match my treadmill speed. From then on, I'd run once or twice a week outside and keep one day for the treadmill, always with a 1% incline. I find that doing a mix keeps me from speeding up too much too fast. Good luck with the change!


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