Treadmill Running vs. Actual Running

I have started running on my treadmill, and have ran a few times. My question is how this running compares, in your experience, to outside running. I would like to get to the point of going outdoors for my runs when the weather is a bit nicer and not so cold. But I'd like to know what I can expect when I head outdoors. TIA


  • Duck_Puddle
    Duck_Puddle Posts: 3,227 Member
    edited January 2019
    It’s not really ALL that different in my experience (on flat, even road). The road is a bit more difficult because you must pace yourself (which takes some time to learn), there are elevation changes, uneven surfaces and road camber, etc. There’s also traffic (and other people).

    You’ll also have scenery, fresh air, sunlight (maybe).

    I’ll take outside anytime.
  • 4bugsmama
    4bugsmama Posts: 2,875 Member
    Thank you for the input! We have great outside weather most of the year and I want to prime myself for when I can head outside. I love the sun too, so I am excited that running outside is a possibility for me for the first time in forever!
  • RoxieDawn
    RoxieDawn Posts: 15,490 Member
    I think if you enjoy running on the treadmill you will LOVE running outside even more.

    I have a love hate relationship with my treadmill. Only love that its there when weather is bad and that's all. :smile:
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,277 Member
    I'm not a runner anymore, but when I was I found outdoor running to be physically more difficult but mentally much easier because the dreadmill is boring and the time seems to stand still.

    Outdoors you have to contend with elements such as wind and weather, as well as uneven surfaces and harder surfaces among other things...but you also have wonderful scenery and fresh air and the time goes by so much faster. I usually put up better times outdoors even though it was physically more demanding simply because it was that much more enjoyable.
  • MonkeyMel21
    MonkeyMel21 Posts: 2,381 Member
    edited January 2019
    I like both. With my current treadmill, it is a lot easier to run outside. I think my hand me down treadmill is always at an incline, even at the lowest point, because it is really hard for me to run a full 5K without needing to walk. I thought I was just sucking at life when I started running on it. But then on my first run outside after getting it, I felt so energetic and ran that 5k so quickly that I immediately knew something was up with the treadmill.

    I really like running on my treadmill though because I have a sweet set up in my home gym and get to watch Netflix and have climate control and I can take my shirt off and look like a gross hag and none of that matters at all!

    ETA (because I just read some other replies): I'm never at a constant speed on the treadmill. I'm always switching from 3.5 to 3.8 to 5.5 to 6 to 5 back down to 3.5, adding incline, taking away incline, etc, etc. Always changing. And if I'm on a "long run", I always increase by .1 every quarter mile till I'm at my personal max.
  • azzeazsaleh5429
    azzeazsaleh5429 Posts: 77 Member
    I used to love outdoor running a while back but now I just getting back to exercising, I find the treadmill much easier to get started. Eventually I will get back outdoors because its very boring on a treadmill. I used to run in 20 degree temps outdoor as well it never bothered me.
  • cyndit1
    cyndit1 Posts: 167 Member
    I'm a distance runner and love running outdoors and do it as often as possible but will go inside when the weather just won't cooperate (and i mean usually just ice as I will run in the rain outside). My only suggestion to help transition to outside from inside is to run inside at a 1% incline and NOT flat. A consistent 1% helps your body adjust to the change in terrain even on flat roads (is a road ever really flat) as well as wind drag. You may want to google it so you don't think I'm nuts but running on a zero incline inside is not a good thing.
  • Running2Fit
    Running2Fit Posts: 702 Member
    In my experience, it hasn’t been that different. For whatever reason I feel like I’m going so much slower on the road but then my average pace at the end is pretty much what I set it to on the treadmill (I usually just set one pace and go) so it must be some kind of mental thing.

    It’s way too cold and icy for me to be running outside right now so I’ll be on the treadmill for the next couple months until it warms up again.
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,653 Member
    It's interesting... given that it's the same basic movement, they almost feel like completely different activities (indoor running vs outdoor running).

    For me, I'd so much rather be outside... so running outside is FAR easier than running indoors. Yes, most of this is mental, but it's enough to make the treadmill *seem* very difficult.

    Others will give you the opposite perspective, feeling like the weather or their safety or some other factor makes outdoor running much more "difficult", and that the treadmill is much easier for them.
  • girlwithcurls2
    girlwithcurls2 Posts: 2,257 Member
    I am so grateful to be able to run year round outside. Yes, it's cold and rainy, but I'll take that over a treadmill any day. Even just the sound of people's feet pounding drives me nuts. That said, I only run 1-2 times per week. The rest of the time is swimming or lifting. I LOVE trail running for so many reasons, that if I get on a treadmill, I usually just walk fast. I'm clumsy and don't do well with that belt moving under my feet.
  • Tacklewasher
    Tacklewasher Posts: 7,122 Member
    I run at the gym and it took me trying 3 treadmills before I settled on one. The one I usually run on (next to the wall) had someone on it. There was someone on the far end as well, so using the basic urinal rules, I grabbed the middle one. Nope. Too noisy. It clunked with each step. Moved one to the right next to the guy running and could not get the thing to start, so two to the left next to a lady running and finally settled in.

    Don't have that issue outside. :)
  • youngcaseyr
    youngcaseyr Posts: 303 Member
    Despite the science stating/supporting that running on the treadmill is easier, running outside feels easier for me both mentally and physically. I prefer to run outside, but I own a treadmill that I use during cold weather and dark early morning runs (which means November through March for me) and I typically pass the time watching Netflix.

    For you, If you don't have much or any experience running outside, I would recommend that you be prepared to do some run/walk intervals or be willing to take a walk break or two to allow your feet and muscles to acclimate to the terrain, elevation, and concrete that doesn't absorb shock like a treadmill might.
  • rodmelching
    rodmelching Posts: 69 Member
    @4bugsmama . . . sounds like your doing awesome! Running outside is WAY better, even in the elements. Temps in the 40's, watching the sun rise is running nirvana. I will say that a treadmill can be great for speed work and sprint intervals, 200's 400's and 800's . . . just set the pace and go. You'll either run at the pace or slide off the back . . . just kidding!
  • smcurtis1981
    smcurtis1981 Posts: 53 Member
    In my recent experience I can say that for me running outside is much harder on my body but better for my mind. I just finished 3 months of running only on the treadmill and could run 30 minutes at 6km/hr quite well, when I went for my first run outside I could not walk properly for 3 days due to the doms I suffered. I was shocked! I used to regularly run 30kms a week so my body had fallen back into the rhythm quite well now but that first run was torture.
    I'm selling my treadmill I hate it so much now!!