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Treadmill v. Outdoor running

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

When I first started the C25K, I was a treadmill girl. Of course, it was winter in Minnesota, so exercising indoors made sense. But as I approached my first 5K race, I was scared. I had done a lot of walking outdoors, but not running.

When I ran outdoors I realized--this is hard! Suddenly I had to deal with uneven pavement, regulating my own pace, propelling my body forward and wind resistance, not to mention the weather. I wanted to head back to the exercise room and embrace the treadmill and never let go!

But I forced myself to keep running outside, and before long, I preferred it. There were things to see, different routes to run, people to greet. It made me feel strong.

Today, I went back to the treadmill for the first time since about May. The weather was yucky, rainy and cold. I had a 4 mile run on my training plan for today, so I loaded up my audiobook on the MP3 player, and headed to the townhouse complex workout room. I set the incline up to 3.0 to increase the difficulty and, after my warmup, set the pace on the treadmill to faster than I would normally run outdoors.

Wow, that kicked my butt! The consistently faster pace made the treadmill workout more of a tempo run--I had to take three short (less than one minute) walk breaks during the 4 miles to catch my breath. I don't do that outdoors normally. I must subconsciously just slow down.

The treadmill is now back on my training plan for occasional runs. Until I get a Garmin to keep more accurate distance and pace during outdoor runs, I think the treadmill will prove useful for intervals or tempo runs.

Good thing my townhouse complex has one, and also a good thing that my DD just bought one, LOL.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm glad you've found a way to get the workout you want with it!! I think there's great advantage to variety in our workouts, so even when I don't particularly like to do something all the time, I'll throw it in once in a while just to mix things up & challenge my body & mind in a different way.
    I like to use the treadmill for my speed work, especially if it's one I can set for a programmed interval workout. Otherwise, it's a necessary evil for me: generally only when the weather prohibits running outdoors (ice, electrical storms) or my schedule makes it unsafe to run at the time of day I can fit it in.
    3441 days ago
    running outdoors is way harder than running inside! This website has tons of pace conversions (treadmill v. outside): http://www.hillrunner.com/training/

    Good luck!
    3442 days ago
    This is interesting to me, even though I cannot run. I learned something by reading your blog and the responses!
    3442 days ago
    Put my mark in the not liking the tread mill camp, in general, but I will probably have to go with one once in a while for training too....my new gym does have an indoor track, it's 12 times around for a mile! I'm sure I'd lose count!
    3443 days ago
  • OCTOBER2842
    I am a walker not a runner but I do like the treadmill because it can be set at different levels and times. emoticon emoticon
    3443 days ago
    Elisel took the words right out of my mouth! My treadmill is a very cheap model and not alot of cushioning. For some reason, I do feel I get a better workout on the treadmill than outdoors (which is odd because most people say the opposite). Winter running in Minnesota can be pretty treacherous, especially since my town is built on hills, so boring or not, the treadmill keeps me on track during those snowy, icy times.
    3443 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8692920
    I am an outdoor runner. I only occasionally run on the treadmill when I go to the gym with my husband. I prefer outdoor running over indoor. I feel like a gerbil on a wheel. HOwever, the treadmill does allow you to pick up a good tempo which I find difficult running outside.

    emoticon emoticon
    3443 days ago
    Dr. Christine Clark, who won the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in 2000, did half of her training on a treadmill. That was a smart move considering that she lives in Alaska. Dr. Jack T. Daniels (the famous running coach, not the whiskey) recommends using an incline of 1 or 2 degrees when running on a treadmill to compensate for the lack of wind resistance.
    3443 days ago
    I don't currently use a treadmill (I've been on one once since starting running a year ago!) but that's only because I don't have access to one. It would be nice to have the option in bad weather! Have fun running (and staying warm) this winter on the treadmill!
    3443 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7133412
    I started running last winter in the cold MN weather. I too had to start my c25k on the treadmill. I was actually kind of scared try outdoor running and now, like you, I actually prefer it. Sometimes I even think it's faster.

    Great going!
    3443 days ago
    Nice to embrace the mill! I always feel like it's kicking me in the rear - I use it for speed/tempo sometimes to simply monitor.
    3443 days ago
    I feel that way with bicycling vs. indoor cycling. I'm hoping to get 1-2 more rides in this season, but it's not looking very optimistic.

    Kudos to you for running today!

    3443 days ago
    I hate, hate, hate the treadmill, but during the winter I have to use it for some runs. It is easier physically, but mentally much harder. I feel like I'm losing my mind running on it even with watching TV or listening to music. It's just so boring compared to running outside. But, it does keep me going through the darker and colder months so I'll keep doing it.
    3444 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1035627
    Yep - it's a killer to switch part way through. I'm going through the same thing as you right now. I like the idea or practicing both! I'm doing a hill run at lunch today, and then a short indoor track run this evening. LOL. Get the best of both worlds!
    3444 days ago
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