Jogging on Treadmill vs. Pavement Is it a mental thing?



  • sevsmom
    sevsmom Posts: 1,173 Member
    I'm faster, by far, outside. The treadmill makes my pace feel unbearable. But outside I can just chug right along. I USED to think running outside was harder, but turns out, at least for me, outside is way way WAY easier.

    I am not distracted by other machines. I'm not hitting my hands on the rails. I'm not staring at the little red dot wondering why it's not moving any faster.

    I see changing scenery, people, and wildlife while I run outdoors. I feel a breeze even on warm days. I feel the sun shining on me....much appreciated now that the temps are cooling off. Even when I run before sunrise, I see the stars and moon and enjoy the quiet.

    Perhaps for you it will just take time to adjust????
  • MicheleStitches
    MicheleStitches Posts: 306 Member
    The perception of difficulty may vary from person to person, but there is no doubt that the mechanics of running on a treadmill are different from running on outside terrain. Here is just one example I yanked from an article about it:

    "Hamstrings: Because a machine powers the treadmill belt, the mechanics of your running stride differ when you run outside. When running on the treadmill, you use your quads to push off. But, unlike outdoor running, where you would typically rely on your hamstrings to finish the stride cycle and lift your leg behind you, the propulsion of the belt does much of that work for you. This means your hamstrings aren't firing as much and don't get worked running inside as they would outside. The extra effort demanded of your quads is also a factor to keep in mind.
  • grillnchill
    grillnchill Posts: 772 Member
    Environmental conditions can also make a significant difference in your performance. Gyms have controlled climates, outdoor not so much.
  • contingencyplan
    contingencyplan Posts: 3,639 Member
    Treadmill running is different from pavement running. It demands a slightly different technique that doesn't necessarily translate from one medium to the other well. As far as which one is easier goes, the one you get the most practice at will be easier. Running on pavement is better in general because it translates more to other applications where you might be asked to run, such as in sporting applications, endurance races, or even having to run for your life from something/someone. Also, treadmill running magnifies the impact/wear & tear on the knees.

    In general cardiovascular endurance is just like strength--specific applications are not an accurate measure of capacity. What you practice at, you get good at, regardless of fitness. I know many runners who could run marathons but could not jump rope for a minute straight. I on the other hand can jump rope for 45 minutes but could not run a mile.

    Endurance can not be measured by a single activity. You get better at what you practice at.
  • kmoore02
    kmoore02 Posts: 167 Member
    I think when you first start running, you become obsessed with speed. You will be able to run further sooner than running faster, that takes time. I would focus on proper running, breathing and running slow to master the basics, speed will come over time. Running slow will allow you to condition your heart for exertion without elevating your heart rate to a pace that is difficult to maintain. Over time, your heart rate will remain lower and you will run faster and further without feeling exhausted. Your short runs will go from 5k's to 10k's or further.
  • umer76
    umer76 Posts: 1,272 Member
    Untill now outdoor running is winning and treadmill fans are losing:bigsmile:
  • rodneyderrick
    rodneyderrick Posts: 483 Member
    You should put the treadmill on a 2% incline and focus on your stride. Your treadmill speed and street speed should be pretty close if you have a good stride. The reason you want to incline the treadmill is because you need to close the disparity between treadmill running and street running. I use the treadmill in the wintery months because I hate the cold and the end of daylight saving time means it'll be dark or getting dark by the time I leave work. Running in the dark is dangerous for several obvious reasons. In my opinion, treadmill running is superior to street running because of the ability to incline the machine; and on the frigid days of winter or the hot, humid days of summer, it's a great way to still get in a quick run without enduring the elements. After Feb early March, I do a combination of treadmill and street running, and then by April, it's all street until the end of September. Some people favour the street over treadmill, but I think a combination of the street and treadmill will compliment your diet, give you a svelte appearance, and increase heart and lung function. Keep running.
  • gobonas99
    gobonas99 Posts: 1,049 Member
    I MUCH prefer running on the street. I *ABHOR* running on the dreadmill. I do nothing but stare at the time. Not to mention that the vast majority of the population does NOT run at a constant speed throughout their entire run (taking a look at my run details, I vary anywhere from a 7 minute mile to a 13 minute mile, averaging about 11 min miles, over the course of my runs). So treadmills, by forcing you to maintain an absolutely constant speed, are unnatural - this actually tires me more quickly.

    Pretty much the only time I use the treadmill is for some speedwork and "hills", where I'm changing the speed/incline every 30-60 seconds (I'd do hills outside, but don't have any in my area). I ran outside after work yesterday in 45 degree temps with drizzle/rain, in the dark with a headlamp and blinkies. I will take that (and colder/with snow) ANY day over the dreadmill.
  • Altruista75
    Altruista75 Posts: 409 Member
    I am a much bigger fan of actually running outside rather than on a treadmill! I can go so much further and faster I find. Not sure if it actually being able to distract myself with the view or not but I'll take running outside any day!! Treadmill is used when needed though!
  • syk731
    syk731 Posts: 34 Member
    I also much prefer running outside than on the treadmill. I also need to run on the treadmill half the time because on those days, I run in the morning before my kids are awake and I can't leave the house (and it's too dark now anyway), and when winter gets here with ice and snow all over the place, I'll be running on the treadmill even more.

    I run about the same pace inside and outside, but I feel like I'm putting in a lot more effort to run that pace inside. I think it's because my stride is a little messed up and unnatural on the treadmill. Or something.
  • hmjohnson25
    hmjohnson25 Posts: 100 Member
    I only run outside. The treadmill freaks me out. It is tough to run on pavement, but at least I feel like I'm getting somewhere!
  • mnardi123
    mnardi123 Posts: 59 Member
    The treadmill is motorized and is always in motion. Your forward motion is not propelling you, and therefore, it's a little easier. The other thing is pace. Are you running at the same pace for your miles as you are for the TM? I found that an incline of about 2 was more equivalent to the effort of a reasonably flat run at the the track or around the neighborhood.

    Incline varies from 1 to 3 so I guess it would be similar to outside. As for boredom I don't find any, my gym has tv's for each treadmill and an ipod connector so I watch a show or have cc on while playing music and I lose myself.
  • _Pseudonymous_
    _Pseudonymous_ Posts: 1,671 Member
    I am totally the opposite! Treadmills terrify me, I can't run/walk straight and feel almost claustrophobic. It's super stressful!!!

    However, when I am outside I feel so relaxed and can go for a much longer time and distance because I am not stressing out. I think it's different from person to person. I think what I like with being outside is however far I go I HAVE to go back, whether I walk it or run it, while a treadmill it's easier to give up for me.

    Just have to find what brings you zen and go with it. :)
  • joannadalina
    joannadalina Posts: 112 Member
    I love to jog outside.

    I hate running on a treadmill.

    I personally think running on a treadmill is easier. Since the "ground" is moving under you, all you have to do is play catch-up in a sense. Just make sure you are keeping up with the treadmill.

    When you're running outside, the pavement isn't moving underneath you. It's up to you to propel your body forward and to maintain speed. Plus you are dealing with the elements.

    Especially this time of year, when it's getting cold, your breathing is different, all the cold air in your lungs.

    I don't know it if is actually easier or not, but in my opinion, pavement is way harder then treadmill. I think that's why I love it so much.

    Best of luck,
  • spatulathumbs
    spatulathumbs Posts: 125 Member
    I am the complete opposite. Treadmill running is much more challenging for me, because I have dreadful balance and long legs and (whether it's all in my head or not) I feel so precarious on one. On the ground, I can adjust my body just the way I need it. They feel very claustrophobic to me.
  • I HATE the treadmill. It's totally a mental thing for me. I love getting outside and feeling the fresh air and exerting myself. I don't get that freedom on a treadmill, and I need something that's extremely engaging in front of me to keep my eyes off the time and mileage. It's the same with the elliptical. I just tried that for the first time in a while because I was visiting my parents and had never run outside there before, and they have an elliptical at home. I was on it for 10 minutes before I had to get off. The next day I got up and ran almost 7 miles outside and was a million times happier!
  • I hate the treadmill so much. I last like 5 minutes before I go crazy and fear I'm going to trip, fall, and end up on YouTube.
  • I hate treadmills, but walking/jogging is my main exercise.
    Someone tell me that it's not just me that gets extremely dizzy on a treadmill. Within 5 minutes I feel like I'm going to fall over and faint.
    Also being outside is nice because you get a change of scenery and fresh air. And it's amazing to jog when it's raining.
  • Reevsie123
    Reevsie123 Posts: 35 Member
    Treadmill every time for me, incline 2 controlled environment I-Pad on covering time elapsed and away I go
    No uneven pavements, kerbs, cars, fumes, pedestrians - and you can do it in whatever clothing you chose.
    If you live in beautiful countryside and can run during the day then I can see the attraction, however, for me being in a town in winter there really is no choice
    It's good we all like different things as long as you are burning calories and getting fitter I don't think it matters which one you chose
  • Add me to the list of the treadmill haters. I don't feel as stable on a treadmill, even at a slower pace. As a result, I can only run a mile or two on a treadmill as compared to 10 - 12 with ease outside. Other indoor equipment is less troubling to me, but I have still only exercised indoors a handful of times in the past year vs. probably 300 workouts outdoors. Unless the weather conditions are truly awful, I'll take the pavement or grass or trails any day.