Treadmill vs. Outside running. PLEASE answer, very curious

Welcome! Forums Running Forum Treadmill vs. Outside running. PLEASE answer, very curious

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    • #5019

      I have an amateur question. Is it really easier and QUICKER to run outside than on the treadmill? I’ve noticed that about my runs. I train inside for the winter and outside when it gets warmer. It’s always so much more demanding/difficult on the treadmill while outside I easily did 10 – 15 miles without noticing it. haha. I’ll give you an example. Is a 7 minute mile on the treadmill the same as a 7 min mile outside or is it quicker outside?

      Also, do you all run 10 – 15 minutes straight w/out walking or incorporate walking into the general run as a rest?

    • #20242

      I think unless you have a REALLY GOOD treadmill, youll find that youre faster outside. I do all my runs without stopping becuase that is how I plan my to run in races, for me, if I stop during a run or a race, i must be really hurting, but normally if Im out on a long run and not feeling so great Ill just back off the pace a bit until it feels ok

    • #20243

      I try to run every day outside, as long as it’s not raining. Being in northern Ohio the snow and wind during the winter seem to add alittle extra to the run. It’s a great workout. I think that if you slow the pace and continue the run you’ll enjoy it more and maybe get more out of it. I’ve just gotten back into running after being away for a long time but over a period of months things seem to be falling into place. Longer distances and more enjoyable runs. Work hard and reap the benefits. Ski

    • #20244

      Well, there are a lot of factors that go into this. Strictly by the numbers, running on the treadmill without an incline is easier than running outdoors because of many variables, especially the lack of wind resistance.

      However, other factors have a lot to do with how easy or hard treadmill running is compared to running outdoors. If you usually run outdoors, that will make running outdoors feel a little easier and the treadmill a little harder. The same happens in reverse if you usually run on the treadmill. Some treadmills are also notorious for not being well calibrated. Depending on the calibration, this could lead you to be running even more and faster or less and slower than you think you are, which would obviously make it seem easier or harder. There are other factors like these that could make a treadmill seem easier or harder than running outdoors but vary between person, treadmill, location, outdoor course, etc.

    • #20245

      It seems rather vague just how “easier and quicker” are supposed to factor in but running outdoors is certainly more specific for those who have competitive running aims — if it is merely a matter of calorie burning or the like then it may make no significant difference.

      For whatever it may be worth, I do not walk until after my run is completed, which tends to be upwards of an hour straight these days.

    • #20246

      Interesting replies. Thank you 🙂 It should be in the mid 40s tomorrow. Some sweats and a hat seem ok?

    • #20247

      I started on a treadmill when my kids were little and I couldn’t leave them alone… plus I had LOTS of problems and used that time to brainstorm… now that they are older and my life is smoother it is a real chore to run on the treadmill but going outside almost always is a joyous time… the comments about calibrated treadmills is important as well as realizing you will use the same muscles in exactly the same way on a treadmill while outside the terrain changes, and even the minimal ones give your muscles a break…

      so I think it’s mentally and physically easier to run outside, barring lightening or ice…

      about four years ago I tried the run-walk thing and it was okay but somehow not as great for me as some people find it to be… what has seemed to help me feel even better was upping my mileage and making some of the days easy (but not necessarily shorter)…

      find what works for you, but keep an open mind…


    • #20248

      Well, I have what I would consider a VERY good treadmill. At least it should be for what I paid and since it has a lifetime warranty. I still feel it’s much easier and yes faster to run outside. My treadmill came setup from the factory with a slight incline. In other words you are never running on a flat surface. Maybe that’s to mimic real world road conditions as closely as possible. I don’t know for sure.

      I like the treadmill for 2 reasons. First it’s always 68 degrees with a nice cooling breeze (fan). I have a TV and perfect running conditions. Second I can set my pace. When running outside I’m notorious for runnning easy days too fast. With the treadmillI can set my pace to EASY pace and not run faster.

      I have not run outside yet this week. I’ve run 5 easy, 9 miles with 4 @ LT mixed in, 14 miles, and 5 miles. We have received almost 20″ of snow so far this week and the roads have been TERRIBLE. Rather than risk injury and freeze I’d rather run where it’s always 68 and perfect! I will never set foot on the treadmill during the summer.

    • #20249
      GTF wrote:
      running outdoors is certainly more specific for those who have competitive running aims

      I think that is the key point. I went through a period when I starting running a lot on the treadmill because it was more convenient. However, when I ran a half marathon after doing a lot of treadmill running, I wilted in the heat because all of my hard workouts had been run inside on the treadmill. The treadmill can be a valuable tool, but there are so many things like a hard and/or uneven surface, downhill running, and weather conditions that the treadmill cannot prepare you for.


    • #20250

      I’m sure if you put your mind to it you can calibrate a treadmill workout to match the effort needed for an outdoor run.

      I’m more concerned with the experience of running.

      Usually I’m in a office or equipment room in front of a screen all day in a climate controlled environment. I want to get out there and feel some weather, maybe even get some dirt on my shoes or jump through fresh snow.

      Not that I will go run in any weather but I find the treadmill run a bit flat compared to the real world.



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