Treadmills and knee impact ?

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 13 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #4865

    Is running on a treadmill especially hard on the knees or is relatively comparable to other road surfaces?

    How about running on a treadmill versus hallways?

  • #20012

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    It depends very much on the treadmill. Most treadmills have some cushioning in them that make them probably best comparable to a solid but unpaved surface like packed dirt. Some, though, have very poor cushioning and feel more like a paved surface and people I know well and trust have described some top of the line treadmills as like running on relatively long grass or wood chips.

    I think I would prefer anything to hallways, as I would picture that involving lots of sharp turns.

  • #20013

    Also depends on your footstrike.

  • #20014

    Its true that some treadmills have cushioning. My problem with mills is with the repetitive nature of the footstrike. Streets, paths and trails are irregular and force your muscle/joint combinations to adapt to changing terrain, uphills, downhills etc. Also if there is any weakness in your gait, repeating exactly the same stride will soon expose it, resulting in injury.

    That being said, I’ve heard of elite runners who have used treadmills in their training, either because their local weather was terrible or because you could precisely calibrate the pace of the workout.

    regards,

    Scott

  • #20015

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    ScottP wrote:
    That being said, I’ve heard of elite runners who have used treadmills in their training, either because their local weather was terrible or because you could precisely calibrate the pace of the workout.

    I just want to voice a word of caution on this. Yes, some elites do at times use treadmills and have benefitted from occasional workouts on them, mostly by using them to acclimate to warm conditions while training in a cold climate. However, the most frequently used example was a gross exaggeration. One would hope that, by now, people would understand that Christine Clark, winner of the 2000 Olympic Trials marathon and the only American woman to run in the 2000 Olympic marathon only did a relative handful of her runs on the treadmill going into the Olympic Trials. Instead, some people have grabbed onto a couple of quotes that, taken out of context, make it sound like she did almost all of her training on the treadmill and have built up the rumor mill to the point that most people believe she did nearly all of her training on the treadmill. I even believed that for a short period of time until I read an interview where she explicitly stated otherwise.

  • #20016

    Anonymous

    Greetings from Norway. I know some elites do a lot of running on treadmills. For instanse this time of year in Norway. Ingrid Kristiansen writes about some weeks with up to around 180 km per week only on the mill when she was at her best. And she was good. (remember this is in winter in Norway).

  • #20017

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Indeed, Kristiansen did do a lot of winter training in her prime on the treadmill before transitioning to outdoor running in the spring. I’m not aware of another runner at that level of performance who did use treadmills as much as her and it’s worth noting that, from what I have read about her, she only used the treadmill during the winter. She did run outdoors during most of the year. Interestingly, those who talk about elites training on treadmills very rarely use her as an example. Their usual examples almost exclusively revolve around Chris Clark, whose own treadmill usage was greatly exaggerated. Occasionally, references of Rod DeHaven come up but his use was also infrequent and was focused on acclimating himself to warm temperatures while training in a cold climate for a late winter race in a warmer climate.

    If anyone took my comment as a suggestion that the elites never use treadmills or that no elite has ever made significant use of treadmills, that’s not what I meant. My only point was that the most frequently referenced examples of treadmill usage by elites are greatly exaggerated stories.

  • #20018

    Anonymous

    My point was that “occasional workouts” on the treadmill is not at all describing it for elite runners in Norway. It is not only a matter of cold and warm conditions; it is a snow and ice surface problem.

    The example of Ingrid Kristiansen is not unique. Our best runner nowadays Marius Bakken also writes about running on treadmill. It is more a regular training than “occasional workouts” in winter.

    There are a lot of myths about running on treadmill (what a lot of crap and bad physical understanding belonging to ancient times). The truth is that there is no big difference from running outside: The surface is moving relatively to your running body and a simple physical treatment says that it is the same thing. Athletes performing at top level with a lot of running on mills prove that it is no big difference.

  • #20019

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    I actually think we agree more than you realize. Treadmills can be used effectively, I wasn’t trying to disagree with that. What I was warning against was using embellished stories, which interestingly are the most commonly used stories, as examples of how they can be used. There is no doubt that there are examples of elite athletes who use treadmills at a fairly regular basis at certain times and they prove that it can be done. Of course, for every example of an elite who at times uses treadmills regularly, I could offer 10 examples of runners who use treadmills no more than 1% of the time. Pointing to the exception to the rule shows that something can be possible but it doesn’t give the full picture.

    As for the differences between treadmills and running on solid ground, science, my personal experience, and numerous examples I have seen from people who trained exclusively on treadmills for a period of time before trying to transition to outdoor running, either immediately for a race or to get outdoors as the weather improves, suggest that the differences are not insignificant.

  • #20020

    Well everyone…I’m looking at my log for the last 12 days of running and there are 3 days of running outside…9 days on the mill for the late person 😆 It hasn’t even been cold here with highs around 30F.

    My point here is that I’m more comfortable running on the mill. I have been injured twice on ice (not because of falls) and that’s enough for me to head indoors. I spent good $$ on a good mill. Very cushioned. I actually feel like running outside at a faster pace is easier than on my (calibrated) treadmill. I can’t figure that one out. As of now I feel 6:30 pace on the road is 7:00 effort on the mill.

    I’ll keep looking into this debate until March when I hit the road 100%, but so far so good and I’m looking forward to doing 15+ miles on the mill sometime.

  • #20021

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    Chris wrote:
    My point here is that I’m more comfortable running on the mill. I have been injured twice on ice (not because of falls) and that’s enough for me to head indoors.

    Very good reason and one I would never question. Now, I might question some of your other motivations you have told me offline, especially given other things I know you do outdoors in winter, but that’s a different story. 😉

    Chris wrote:
    I actually feel like running outside at a faster pace is easier than on my (calibrated) treadmill. I can’t figure that one out. As of now I feel 6:30 pace on the road is 7:00 effort on the mill.

    Given the fact that you are most likely still more used to running outdoors than running on the treadmill, this doesn’t surprise me at all. When I use a treadmill, it always feels harder than outdoors because I’m not used to the slightly different mechanics. I also usually feel it after the run with sore muscles, especially in the lower legs.

    Chris, if I can offer one word of advice, just keep getting some outdoor runs in. Your legs will thank you in the spring. The transition to outdoor running will go much better if you haven’t gone exclusively to the treadmill.

  • #20022

    Yes Ryan, the mill is only for winter. I just absolutely hate running outside. Remember those days of running repeats at the tech park when it was below zero and windy?? That’s why I hate it. I like getting home and taking off clothes to run instead of bundling up.

    My long runs are at this point still on the road. Hopefully when the medium long run is introduced I will be able to get that in out on the road also.

    Honestly though, with the treadmill planted in front of a TV and fan it’s a pretty nice place to run. 😆

  • #20023

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    Chris wrote:
    Remember those days of running repeats at the tech park when it was below zero and windy??

    Ahh, yes. The good old days. I miss those workouts. 😉

  • #20024

    Anonymous

    As the weather in Canada can be a lot like Norway… I do about 3 runs a week on the treadmill, I have had my mill for a couple of years and my wife thinks its a little fast, I dont. Anyone know how I can calibrate it?

  • #20025

    I do a bunch of runs on the mill and the way to calibrate it is measure the length of the belt. you can do that by marking it with a chalk line- then keep moving the belt as you measure it until the chalk line has done a full revolution. once you have the belt measured.

    Mark it again at one point or use the same mark and and get someone to count the revolutions while you are running at a set pace. Multiply the revs in one minute by the length of the belt to see how “far” you have traveled in a minute and calculate the pace—- then see if it matches what the treadmill says.

    Let me know how it goes!

    Woody

  • #20026

    Anonymous

    We sell a bunch of those GPS forerunners 201 and 301 –the latter has a HR monitor with it. They have a new one called the 305 which is suppose to really get dialed in. I have to be honest with you though . Over new year I was in Florida and ran 40 mins out and 40 mins back . Told the guy at the bar I would bet I ran 10 miles just by feel. We took a car out and measured the loop and it was 9.8 miles. The next day I ran with the forerunner 201 and it said 9.95 on the same loop. So I feel I can get within a 10th of mile by feel — I rarely wear anything but a watch for total time now a days– then every now and then jump in a race or do a time trial on the track .

    Dan stopped by tonight so I had him count revolutions for me on my treadmill.

    My Precor 956c


    The belt length is 129 inches or 10.75 feet . At 8:00 min pace –I did 63 Revolutions in a minute .

    so – 10.75 feet x 63 = 677.25

    there is 5280 feet in a mile so 677.25 / 5280 = .128

    my treadmill measured .13

    Nice –very accurate.

    There is your math lesson for today .

    by the way

    1760 yrds =mile

    1609 meters= mile

    You anal running geeks already knew that anyway:)

    Woody

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