Treadmill Running

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This topic contains 30 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 13 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #2052

    Anonymous

    I run on the treadmill 2 to 3 times a week to complement my track/road/trail running. Is it just me, or is running on the treadmill faster than the road or track? I think I’m capable of running possibly 5:10 to 5:20 on the track, but today I cranked the treadmill to 5′ pace and ran a mile and possibly could have done a bit more.

    I would imagine that you’re basically eliminating wind resistance so that may account for some extra treadmill speed. I also wonder if the fact that the running surface is moving under you, possibly accounts for some greater efficiency? Anybody have similar experience or comment?

    Ryan Robinson

  • #16962

    Anonymous

    You eliminate wind resistance, which makes it easier, but you also have less oxygen because you are indoor, which makes it harder.

    Ryan R. wrote:
    I also wonder if the fact that the running surface is moving under you, possibly accounts for some greater efficiency?

    From the point of physics it is not possible to say whether you are standing and the surface is moving or vice versa (isn’t the Earth moving ?).

  • #16862

    Anonymous

    You eliminate wind resistance, which makes it easier, but you also have less oxygen because you are indoor, which makes it harder.

    Ryan R. wrote:
    I also wonder if the fact that the running surface is moving under you, possibly accounts for some greater efficiency?

    From the point of physics it is not possible to say whether you are standing and the surface is moving or vice versa (isn’t the Earth moving ?).

  • #16963

    r-at-work
    Member

    another fun topic… check the training section on the sidebar of this site and check out the pace conversion for treadmills… it’s been calculated that a ‘flat’ treadmill is easier than the road so you’re supposed to increase the incline on the treadmill to make it closer to ‘road effort’

    but… it still depends on the treadmill being calibrated… plus besides wind resistance you have to consider the body heat build up if there is no air circulation..

    and if you have a wider stance or stride or clump along (instead of taking light steps) you can really have a difficult time even running on the ‘mill… while I did lots of my early training on one, my 17 year old has real problems and his stride changes to look (and sound) more like an elephant, not a pretty sight…

    one of the better articles I read (can’t remember where) talked about how it’s easier on your legs to run with the slight incline and with the ‘give’ of the treadmill you would be able to run with flats as opposed to trainers and not miss the cushioning… never tried that…

    -Rita

  • #16863

    r-at-work
    Member

    another fun topic… check the training section on the sidebar of this site and check out the pace conversion for treadmills… it’s been calculated that a ‘flat’ treadmill is easier than the road so you’re supposed to increase the incline on the treadmill to make it closer to ‘road effort’

    but… it still depends on the treadmill being calibrated… plus besides wind resistance you have to consider the body heat build up if there is no air circulation..

    and if you have a wider stance or stride or clump along (instead of taking light steps) you can really have a difficult time even running on the ‘mill… while I did lots of my early training on one, my 17 year old has real problems and his stride changes to look (and sound) more like an elephant, not a pretty sight…

    one of the better articles I read (can’t remember where) talked about how it’s easier on your legs to run with the slight incline and with the ‘give’ of the treadmill you would be able to run with flats as opposed to trainers and not miss the cushioning… never tried that…

    -Rita

  • #16964

    Zeke
    Member
    Anonymous wrote:
    but you also have less oxygen because you are indoor, which makes it harder.

    What if my treadmill is in my basement? Then the elevation is actually lower, so I’d have more oxygen.

  • #16864

    Zeke
    Member
    Anonymous wrote:
    but you also have less oxygen because you are indoor, which makes it harder.

    What if my treadmill is in my basement? Then the elevation is actually lower, so I’d have more oxygen.

  • #16965

    SwampTiger
    Member
    Zeke wrote:
    What if my treadmill is in my basement? Then the elevation is actually lower, so I’d have more oxygen.

    Unless the treadmill is too close to your furnace/water heater, then you might have even less oxygen. 😀

  • #16865

    SwampTiger
    Member
    Zeke wrote:
    What if my treadmill is in my basement? Then the elevation is actually lower, so I’d have more oxygen.

    Unless the treadmill is too close to your furnace/water heater, then you might have even less oxygen. 😀

  • #16966

    r-at-work
    Member

    if I worked out at a gym at the top of the Sears tower would that be altitude training? 😉

    -Rita

  • #16866

    r-at-work
    Member

    if I worked out at a gym at the top of the Sears tower would that be altitude training? 😉

    -Rita

  • #16967

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    The treadmill chart mentioned can be found here.

    I have never heard of the less oxygen claim. I have trouble believing that, even if there is less oxygen inside, it is enough to make a difference. As was already mentioned, how well the treadmill is calibrated can also make a big difference.

    While I have always believed that running on a treadmill should be mechanically the same as running on the ground because you are moving relative to the surface in the same way, I recently came across this article that states differently. Interesting to consider.

  • #16867

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    The treadmill chart mentioned can be found here.

    I have never heard of the less oxygen claim. I have trouble believing that, even if there is less oxygen inside, it is enough to make a difference. As was already mentioned, how well the treadmill is calibrated can also make a big difference.

    While I have always believed that running on a treadmill should be mechanically the same as running on the ground because you are moving relative to the surface in the same way, I recently came across this article that states differently. Interesting to consider.

  • #16968

    GTF
    Member
    Anonymous wrote:
    You eliminate wind resistance, which makes it easier, but you also have less oxygen because you are indoor (sic), which makes it harder.

    How so?

    Anonymous wrote:

    Ryan R. wrote:
    I also wonder if the fact that the running surface is moving under you, possibly accounts for some greater efficiency?

    From the point of physics it is not possible to say whether you are standing and the surface is moving or vice versa (isn’t the Earth moving ?).

    Although it mimics land running more closely than any other activity, treadmill running is a marginally different biomechanical experience. “Treadmill running requires a slightly different combination of muscle movements,” says Pfitzinger.

  • #16868

    GTF
    Member
    Anonymous wrote:
    You eliminate wind resistance, which makes it easier, but you also have less oxygen because you are indoor (sic), which makes it harder.

    How so?

    Anonymous wrote:

    Ryan R. wrote:
    I also wonder if the fact that the running surface is moving under you, possibly accounts for some greater efficiency?

    From the point of physics it is not possible to say whether you are standing and the surface is moving or vice versa (isn’t the Earth moving ?).

    Although it mimics land running more closely than any other activity, treadmill running is a marginally different biomechanical experience. “Treadmill running requires a slightly different combination of muscle movements,” says Pfitzinger.

  • #16969

    JCWrs
    Member

    I won’t get into the physics behind treadmill running because I don’t know enough about about physics to make a solid argument. However, those that say you don’t have to push off and propel yourself forward are kidding themselves. If you jump up in the air on a treadmill you will go backwards unless you try to propel yourself forward. That is a fact.

    Now, all this doesn’t really matter. The bottom line is you can get a very good workout on a treadmill. Comparing treadmill running paces and outdoor running paces is pointless, however. Because of calibration differences, style differences, temperature differences, and the previously mentioned bio-mechanical differences between the 2 it is impossible to say whether one is easier. I train every run on the treadmill and I make sure it is on the same model of treadmill at the gym every time. This allows me to compare workouts and judge improvement. It does not, however, convert directly to outdoor performance. Oct. 30th I did a 15K after having not run faster then 7:30 treadmill pace in over 3 weeks. I was running most of my mileage in the mid-8’s per mile on the treadmill as well (all at a 1% grade). I ran 1:04:53 or just under 7:00/mile for 9.3 miles. Obviously for me treadmill running is much slower then road running and has been consistently. The key to treadmill running to me is, forget about road pace and find your treadmill pace (and that treadmill pace is only accurate for that treadmill…another treadmill may be different). Then you can train all you want on them and you will improve on the roads. Is treadmill running better? I would say no, but for those of us with bad-knees it may allow us to run more often and more miles. More consistent training equals better results. Thats been my experience and I will continue to train exclusively on the tread until I can out-run its top speed.

  • #16869

    JCWrs
    Member

    I won’t get into the physics behind treadmill running because I don’t know enough about about physics to make a solid argument. However, those that say you don’t have to push off and propel yourself forward are kidding themselves. If you jump up in the air on a treadmill you will go backwards unless you try to propel yourself forward. That is a fact.

    Now, all this doesn’t really matter. The bottom line is you can get a very good workout on a treadmill. Comparing treadmill running paces and outdoor running paces is pointless, however. Because of calibration differences, style differences, temperature differences, and the previously mentioned bio-mechanical differences between the 2 it is impossible to say whether one is easier. I train every run on the treadmill and I make sure it is on the same model of treadmill at the gym every time. This allows me to compare workouts and judge improvement. It does not, however, convert directly to outdoor performance. Oct. 30th I did a 15K after having not run faster then 7:30 treadmill pace in over 3 weeks. I was running most of my mileage in the mid-8’s per mile on the treadmill as well (all at a 1% grade). I ran 1:04:53 or just under 7:00/mile for 9.3 miles. Obviously for me treadmill running is much slower then road running and has been consistently. The key to treadmill running to me is, forget about road pace and find your treadmill pace (and that treadmill pace is only accurate for that treadmill…another treadmill may be different). Then you can train all you want on them and you will improve on the roads. Is treadmill running better? I would say no, but for those of us with bad-knees it may allow us to run more often and more miles. More consistent training equals better results. Thats been my experience and I will continue to train exclusively on the tread until I can out-run its top speed.

  • #16970

    Run
    Member

    I have a treadmill at home that I use for short runs when its just too crappy to go out for a 4 or 5 mile run. I dont even look at the distance or the pace, because I know niether is accurate. I just find a pace that feels similar to the effort used to run outside, and I run for time. At the end, I usually find that my mill is short. If I run for about 42 minutes, it usually says I have gone about 4.75 miles, where I would it to be 5.

    Just feel it out and run for time.

  • #16870

    Run
    Member

    I have a treadmill at home that I use for short runs when its just too crappy to go out for a 4 or 5 mile run. I dont even look at the distance or the pace, because I know niether is accurate. I just find a pace that feels similar to the effort used to run outside, and I run for time. At the end, I usually find that my mill is short. If I run for about 42 minutes, it usually says I have gone about 4.75 miles, where I would it to be 5.

    Just feel it out and run for time.

  • #16971

    Anonymous

    My 2 cents on the t-mill. Being a YMCA member I can tell the t-mill can get stifling. In the lower cardio room where it gets crowded, I can’t go as nearly as well as I can on the same t-mill up on the open air gym track. Then I can go on the little track with all the turns but you can really feel the difference moving air makes. I always run faster on the track more comfortably, then the tmill next to this same track. Downstairs in the little room, I’m gassed in a hurry and the more people the there the worse it gets. Especially over the winter or training for Boston, I’ve used a lot of t-mill training for the sole purpose that I recover easier off the thing. Makes sense, the trails are more forgiving than the track to me and the track more forgiving than asphalt, asphalt more than concrete. End analysis, while easier on the legs for their recovery, the tmill is tougher on the lungs as your body temp soars in place. PSKI

  • #16871

    Anonymous

    My 2 cents on the t-mill. Being a YMCA member I can tell the t-mill can get stifling. In the lower cardio room where it gets crowded, I can’t go as nearly as well as I can on the same t-mill up on the open air gym track. Then I can go on the little track with all the turns but you can really feel the difference moving air makes. I always run faster on the track more comfortably, then the tmill next to this same track. Downstairs in the little room, I’m gassed in a hurry and the more people the there the worse it gets. Especially over the winter or training for Boston, I’ve used a lot of t-mill training for the sole purpose that I recover easier off the thing. Makes sense, the trails are more forgiving than the track to me and the track more forgiving than asphalt, asphalt more than concrete. End analysis, while easier on the legs for their recovery, the tmill is tougher on the lungs as your body temp soars in place. PSKI

  • #16972

    GTF
    Member
    JCWrs wrote:
    However, those that say you don’t have to push off and propel yourself forward are kidding themselves.

    You have heard or seen this where?

  • #16872

    GTF
    Member
    JCWrs wrote:
    However, those that say you don’t have to push off and propel yourself forward are kidding themselves.

    You have heard or seen this where?

  • #16973

    JCWrs
    Member

    In the article Ryan posted it states

    “The key function of the leg muscles during treadmill running is not to produce propulsive forces but to re-position the legs so as to keep the centre of mass stable.”

    I also heard this claim in a similair thread on another running board.

  • #16873

    JCWrs
    Member

    In the article Ryan posted it states

    “The key function of the leg muscles during treadmill running is not to produce propulsive forces but to re-position the legs so as to keep the centre of mass stable.”

    I also heard this claim in a similair thread on another running board.

  • #16974

    PeppoMiles
    Member

    Sorry I did not log in when I posted there is less oxygen.

    I am convinced there is less oxygen for two reasons :

    1) I feel it, very much

    2) in a gym normally there are many people doing exercise, breathing and sweating. People breathing take oxygen away and increase CO, sweat evaporating increase humidity (which I also feel, very much).

    Of course, if the room has very good ventilation the effect is not as bad.

    You are welcome to have your own opinion. Unless someone measure the air composition of the treadmill-room we could wast time argueing for ever and never settle it. I won’t measure it, and I guess you too have much better things to do…

    Peppo

  • #16975

    Anonymous

    The Owen Anderson article posted by Ryan (the other one) was very enlightening. It supports a scientific basis for running economy on and off the treadmill. “Feel” is one thing, and variables such as air temp., ventilation, etc. are all valid, but as Mr. Anderson has shown through actual scientific study, the treadmill allows the runner to go faster, particularly at high speed. The economy is less significant at lower speeds. Anderson showed that the stride length effectively increases, simulating a sort of downhill run stride. To us runners, this may be useful in simulating the sort of downhill speeds, especially with a tail-wind, that can occur. Raising the incline to 1 or 2% would more closely resemble level road running.

    Ryan R.

  • #16976

    GTF
    Member
    JCWrs wrote:
    In the article Ryan posted it states

    “The key function of the leg muscles during treadmill running is not to produce propulsive forces but to re-position the legs so as to keep the centre of mass stable.”

    I also heard this claim in a similair thread on another running board.

    This is not to be taken as necessarily an endorsement of the content of the article or its author – and certainly not unknown message posts on another, unknown message board – but if one reads “key” and interprets that to mean “only” then I can see why there would be an issue.

  • #16977

    GTF
    Member
    PeppoMiles wrote:
    Sorry I did not log in when I posted there is less oxygen.

    I am convinced there is less oxygen for two reasons :

    1) I feel it, very much

    2) in a gym normally there are many people doing exercise, breathing and sweating. People breathing take oxygen away and increase CO, sweat evaporating increase humidity (which I also feel, very much).

    Of course, if the room has very good ventilation the effect is not as bad.

    You are welcome to have your own opinion. Unless someone measure the air composition of the treadmill-room we could wast time argueing for ever and never settle it. I won’t measure it, and I guess you too have much better things to do…

    Peppo

    This ignores basic physics. Even locked inside an unventilated car or closet for hours and hours, unless it is hermetically sealed one will not experience an appreciable dip in the level of oxygen (provided there is no CO leak in the car, etc.) Increased humidity does not displace oxygen from air in any measurable quantity, either. What is felt is increased difficulty due chiefly to an aerobic effort in a warm, humid space without the benefit of an evaporative breeze, self-made or otherwise. You would feel the same way if you were on a treadmill in a warehouse with equal temperature and humidity settings or running outdoors in identical temperature and humidity with a tailwind that were identical to your pace. There is no need to do any measuring if physical reality is used as the basis for one’s belief and arguing to the contrary is indeed pointless.

  • #16978

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    JCWrs wrote:
    Comparing treadmill running paces and outdoor running paces is pointless, however. Because of calibration differences, style differences, temperature differences, and the previously mentioned bio-mechanical differences between the 2 it is impossible to say whether one is easier.

    Exactly. Because of variables that may be different from one treadmill to the next, it is really impossible to come up with one formula that will work on every treadmill. I do find the question of how effective treadmill training is for solid ground racing to be interesting, though. I do think there are some valid questions about whether the training would effectively carry over to racing.

    JCWrs wrote:
    Oct. 30th I did a 15K after having not run faster then 7:30 treadmill pace in over 3 weeks. I was running most of my mileage in the mid-8’s per mile on the treadmill as well (all at a 1% grade). I ran 1:04:53 or just under 7:00/mile for 9.3 miles. Obviously for me treadmill running is much slower then road running and has been consistently.

    If you’re using that as your single basis for this statement, I could return with “Obviously, for me road running is much slower than road running and has been consistently.” This past spring, I ran a half marathon at just over 6:00/mile after not having run faster than 6:45/mile and infrequently running faster than 7:00/mile.

    pski p wrote:
    In the lower cardio room where it gets crowded, I can’t go as nearly as well as I can on the same t-mill up on the open air gym track. Then I can go on the little track with all the turns but you can really feel the difference moving air makes.

    In other words, the environment the treadmill is in gets stifling, not the treadmill itself. This makes sense. In a small room, the temperature and humidity will be more stifling.

    pski p wrote:
    End analysis, while easier on the legs for their recovery, the tmill is tougher on the lungs as your body temp soars in place.

    If I could offer an end analysis, it would be that a treadmill in a bad environment is tougher on your cooling system as your body temp soars, which leads to it being tougher on your cardiovascular system since sweat and redirection of blood flow are two primary methods of cooling.

    PeppoMiles wrote:
    I am convinced there is less oxygen for two reasons :

    1) I feel it, very much

    2) in a gym normally there are many people doing exercise, breathing and sweating. People breathing take oxygen away and increase CO, sweat evaporating increase humidity (which I also feel, very much).

    1) How do you know it is “less oxygen” you are feeling?

    2) Outdoors, normally there are many cars driving by and other pollution sources. These pollution sources take oxygen away and increase CO, CO2, and other pollutants. Humidity can be even worse but, as heat and humidity have virtually nothing to do with the oxygen content of air, I don’t see how this makes a difference. Bottom line, I have never seen any evidence that there is less oxygen in a fitness center/gym than outodors and I have trouble understanding why this would be the case.

  • #16979

    JCWrs
    Member

    Ryan, I should have been more clear in my statement. I had not run (according to treadmill paces) under 7:30/mile in the 3 weeks leading up to the race despite doing 2 workouts that were at what I felt were “race pace” efforts. It has been my experience that, even when I run very hard on the treadmill, I can go faster outdoors. I should have clarified that statement more. Must you find holes in every argument? 😉

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