Treadmill vs. Outdoors

Hi All

I'm doing my first HM in October and have been training on treadmill and outdoors. Is it advisable to start making more of the training outdoors based in the 6 week lead up to the race? Starting to get a little worried about it all now. I'm following a plan and set to run a 7 mile run this weekend and not sure if I should go outdoors, or try inside on the treadmill so I can monitor speed and distance.



  • Is there any advantage to doing any of your training on the treadmill - why not get as much outdoors in as possible? If you're in an OCD mood about measuring time and distance, use a map (MapMyRun or Google Maps) and a stopwatch to keep track of things. And it's worth remembering that average speed on the treadmill doesn't correspond to minutes/mile on the road!

  • Can't remember which one it was, maybe Jack Daniels, but one of the top coaches said to do no more than 30% of miles on a treadmill because it doesn't give you the varied terrain training needed to run outdoors.

    So it's ok to do a few workouts indoors, but I'd get your longer runs moved outside as soon as possible.

  • Ditch the dreadmill as often as possible. There is absolutely no substitute for training on the surface you will race on.

  • If you are on the tready, set it to 1 % incline, and/ or vary it a bit, - I started that way, and it's OK if there's a good reason not to run outdoors ( lone female in dodgy part of town/ ice on roads, etc) , but you will need to do some outdoors runnig to get used to the unevenness/ kerbs/ pacing yourself/ how to cope with weather. Oh, and it's more interesting running outdoors.

    Get out as much as you can but don't imagine that the tready stuff is a wate of time0 it isn't , but it is definitely second best, except maybe for speed work if you don't have access to a suitable bit of track/ path, and you don't have a stop watch- better to measure out an appropiate bit and time yourself.

  • I think you're asking the question because you already know the answer...! I'm not going to slam the treadmill as I think it can have its place (I've been using it in the London heatwave the last few days, and also set very extended hill intervals from time to time that I couldn't emulate outside without a lot of travel).

    But, as others have said, it's best to run outside on the surface that you'll be running your event on, as much as you can.  Your feet land repetitively in the same way on a treadmill whereas outside, you're constantly having to adjust to tiny variations in the surface - that needs training in itself, and then there's wind resistance, the elements, you name it. 

    Also, I don't know how you fare dealing with boredome when running a long distance on a treadmill, but the repetiveness does get to you after a while - no such problem outside as you can switch your focus at will from outside to what's going on inside and back again.

    Maybe compromise if you really like the TM and keep one quality session a week or fortnight?

    Best of luck with your HM!



  • Get outdoors and in the fresh air! Treadmills are a great tool for increasing and maintaining a consistent pace. However, your legs will need to become conditioned to running on the roads as the surface is harder. Prepare yourself for the conditions you will be running in and you'll feel more confident on race day.

  • Get outside !!!!!! treadmlls are a last resort


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