Our experts answer real-life questions
Q Perhaps I’m odd, but I prefer running on treadmills to running outside. But is indoor running as effective as outdoor training?
A Absolutely. Many runners have trained exclusively on treadmills and then run brilliantly in races outdoors. While you know that you are running in a gym, your heart, lungs and muscles don’t. Running is running, and the physical reactions are nearly the same whether you’re on the road or on a treadmill. That said, many runners do find treadmill running easier than road running.
This could be due to lack of wind resistance, cosy indoor temperatures, cushioned footing, a smooth, flat surface and no chance of a downpour or a run-in with a dog. There’s also some debate on the differences in your gait on a treadmill, but that’s splitting hairs.
The time-tested remedy to make treadmill running more equivalent to road running is to increase the incline to one per cent. I’d also recommend running outside when the weather is good, to keep your body accustomed to the impact of harder surfaces and to stay in touch with the realities of varying weather and footing.
– Joe Henderson, RW USA Columnist
I've just come back to this forum after starting it all that time ago.
The good news: Georgia's Dad - thanks, that's exactly what I wanted
The bad news: I don't run as much as I used to, and don't run anywhere near as fast, so it's all fairly academic now - I can't hit 16kph in a 5k these days, where I used to looking at that sort of pace for a half-marathon.
Thanks for everyone's interest
RwandaMan (aka MisterP)
I'd be a bit careful of going at the flat out speed of a treadmill for too long, I find they shake disturbingly if you pound them too close to the max.
Tina, best advice is to train off-road as much as you can, as this will strengthen you and is far less stressful on the legs than road or even treadmill running, because the surface is uneven and so the leg isn't subjected to exactly the same forces on every step. You won't be able to go as fast as you can on the TM, but it will make you fitter and better able to cope with the HM.
I agree with JFB - off road running is far, far kinder on your legs and joints than pounding along the roads.
Get a decent pair of offroad shoes (for grip) and off you go!
Treadmill, I could not manage without. I am 66y old and suffer with quite a lot of arthritis and sore joints, I have an artificial hip which replaced the arthritic one ten years ago. Running on the road a lot really causes quite a lot of pain, any 'efforts' on the road cause a lot of pain and or injury. I find the best for me is to mix the treadmill work with the road or off-road. I do my long run on the road each week. I will jog/walk with my dog for about 3m once or twice a week or when the evenings are light I will run with my club. The remainder of my running is on the gym treadmill. I use a minimum of 2% gradient and do a mix of intervals, tempo runs and 'hills' some of which are in the 'fell runner' style. I do a Pilates session once or twice a week for the stretching and to help with mobility, and some core and (a little) upper body work. I walk the dog each day and we do agility (that's the dog not me). I find this keeps me fit enough to do a half marathon (sub 2h) or a 10K (sub 55m) each month so although very slow I get what I want from my sport and am able to enjoy running with other club members. I am also tired most of the time except when I rest for a few days before a race when I feel great. Older runners with similar problems might find that less road and more of the treadmill could keep them going for a few more years rather than give up.
Cam someone explain to me why my times are quicker on the road than the treadmill.. For example I do 40 minutes on the Treadmill I do 5 miles approx, but for example if I ran a 10km race I would complete that around 40 minutes... It seems the treadmill is slower than my road speed.
is this correct ?
am I going mad ?
Is the treadmill calibrated correctly?
Are you slower on any treadmill or one in particular?
I've only ever resorted to treadmill work when it was so snowy outside that I physically could not run on the roads.
I used to put it on the programme and at maximum, I'd run on a 4 - 5% gradient. I usually did a negative split and ended up running on a 1% gradient at speed. It's hilarious to watch all the other treadmill-goers go : 0 when you run really fast at the end like your life depends on it!
SO glad that I don't have to sweat it out in the gym anymore. Hooray for this lovely weather
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