Running on a treadmill can never replicate the conditions you will find in races as the incline and surface doesn't change in the same way. Also there will never be a corner to turn and this means that your muscles used for supporting you during such are not strengthened sufficiently. As an earlier post mentioned, the treadmill is moving and you are simply keeping up with it and not fully propelling yourself as you would be during normal running.
They are a useful aid to fitness but they have a limited ability to improve your real running ability. (in my opinion!)
I'm sure one of the top womens marathonners won London after almost exclusively running on treadmills.
If it was a choice of tready or no running - I'd do the tready, but clearly a bit of both would be better than just indoor running. Fresh air ! Scenery ! Bunny Rabbits !
Hi, i'm new to this site, but find it really helpful. I use to do most of my running in winter on a treadmill and run outside in the summer, and I agree, it is much harder running outside than on a treadmill. I felt that the time on the treadmill had been wasted as when I started running outside, it felt like I had never run before in my life. Now I have ditched the treadmill, bought proper all weather running gear and run outside whatever the weather. After a few weeks of persevering, road running comes like second nature now, I am running between 7 and 12 miles on training days and finding it comfortable. You just have to grit you teeth, listen to your body and don't push yourself too hard and it will all come together.
Thank g*d for another sane person on the subject of treadmill running. I have tried for years to counter the prevailing theory that treadmill running is easier because the treadmill is doing the work for you as the belt is going backwards of its own volition and so you don't have to push yourself forward.
I have two favoutite analogies. One is whether you can run from the front to the back of a train carriage at around 30-90 mph quicker that it would take you to run from the back to the front. After all the floor of the train is moving very rapidly in one direction and you are only moving relative to the floor.
The other which is more extreme is the question of whether the world record for the 100 metres is always set running east to west on the equator when you have to ground moving at severall hundred/thousand miles per hour under your feet and thau helping you more than considerably.
All said I find treadmill running much harder than running outside as the need to maintain a constant speed at all times stops one easing back for hills or merely to allow ones breathing to recover etc or to stumble to on side or the other as occasionally occurs in real life.
Wolfy, Burnt Out, I've been saying the same on a few threads recently too! Thankyou.
Paul F, 15 secs a mile sounds about right as a rule of thumb to account for wind resistance. That's roughly equivalent to 0.5 kph or an incline of 1%, according to various sources.
Good luck! Galileo proved the equivalence of motion in non-accelerating frames of reference in a famous thought-experiment several hundred years ago (search Wikipedia for ‘Galileo's ship’). The fact that the same misconceptions about treadmill walking/running are still held shows that these concepts are probably counter-intuitive for a lot of people.
You are right in trying to come-up with an analogy that is better understood - I think one of the issues is that the belt surface is not perceived as a constant velocity reference, possibly because it is so small and vision tells us we are stationary. My favourite analogies include increasing the belt size to that of large airport moving-walkways or bigger. I’ve also tried asking what would happen if you were running at 10 mph on a treadmill, which was itself on the back of a lorry driving at 10mph; in this case the treadmill belt would be stationary relative to the ground, and you would be running at 10 mph overground. If people understand this to be equivalent to overground running, then they should appreciate that there will be no difference if the lorry moves at a different (constant) speed, or is stationary.
As to the ACTUAL differences between treadmills and overground running (beyond air resistance), in some recent experiments we showed that treadmill belts can decelerate by 10% or more on foot contact – this reduces the effective speed of the treadmill by the same amount, and the fact that the treadmill accelerates to maintain its average speed when the foot is in the air has no bearing on the treadmill user. These decelerations vary greatly from treadmill to treadmill, so my advice is to stick to the same treadmill, and treat the indicated speed as being a rough approximation to outdoor speeds.
Just to add my two pence. I run on road and treadmill.Run on treadmill at more than one gym.
I get the feeling not all tread mills are calibrated accurately, for example 10 km feels harder on some than on thers, at same incline. So, I would not take the actual speed as gospel. Think this may account for some people finding it easier others harder than running on road, at what is thought to be same speed.
From a personal point of view I find it tougher after about 40 mins on tread mill, due to lack of cooling/looking at same wall all time.But, as someone else pointed out I think it is good doing long times on one for mental training.
I have a tougher time on the treadmill than I do outdoors. I love running outdoors even below 0 degrees.
I agree with NiftyAMP. I think the machines are calibrated differently. Being petite and a competitive racer, I have a tougher time on the treadmills than my friends who are taller and absolutely out of shape! Maybe its the monotony or the dizziness from 40 min + on the machines, but I need to get outside unless it is icy.
I thought it was Ingrid Kristiansen who did the majority of her training on the treadmill, perhaps both Ingrid and Grete Waitz did!
And I wish I could add 15 seconds a mile to my treadmill time to equal my outdoor time. My 10km best on the treadmill is 33m 34s, and my outdoor best is 38m 29s! Both of these were within a few weeks of each other last year. I was probably doing 75% of my training on the treadmill though...
(Waves hello to BO)
Wolfy, I've had similar discussions over the years but I'm not so confident when it comes to an incline. My rudimentary physics tells me that this is the same as running uphill but when I run up a hill outdoors it does feel as though I'm using my quads more than when I set an incline on the treadmill. I suspect that the hills I run up are much steeper than the incline of a treadmill - what do you think?
I use a gym once a week but probably would never have bothered if it hadn't have been for snow and ice stopping me running for about a week and a half a couple of winters back. I have kept it up because I end up doing a greater range of stuff in the gym which can't be a bad thing. I use it more in winter than summer although the weather has to be pretty evil to keep me indoors.
Treadmill running is dull and hot but I like that it's flat and paces me, which becomes a transferable skill and helps me to be more "metronomic" outside.
In comparison to running outdoors I think it depends where you live. I'm lucky that I have a beautiful country park to run in (Sutton), but when I lived in inner Birmingham I think I might have preferred the treadmill!
One thought that occurs to me reading this thread is the complaint about treadmills being placed opposite mirrors. I have always thought this is an attempt to combat the psychological impact of "running into a wall" as it were. If the treadmill is in the middle of the room thats fine, but if it faces a wall, give me a mirror every time!
Deffo outside, unless it is absolutely chucking it down, then go for the treadie.
Outside rain or shine. Do a rural route and watch the nature/seasons change. No apologies, I'm a definite tree-hugger.
Treadmills are only ever good if you absolutely can't get out - i.e pitch dark and dangerous.
Best run = freezing cold, virgin snow, out in the countryside - what a buzz.
Roll on a proper Winter !
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