Treadmill to roads?

Good morning,

I'm very new at this after having done anything NOT to run for the last 30 odd years, I have now been doing the coach to 5k on a treadmill and am up to week 6.  A friend has asked me to join them on a 3 mile fun run in two weeks and  I wondered if anyone could tell me if it is do-able to change from a treadmill to the roads and what difficulties I am likely to encounter and what to do, to make it easier?

Many thanks in advance.



  • Thanks David that makes me feel better, someone panicked me by saying it was much harder and would kill my legs after a mile.

    I'm going to try my first outdoor one on Friday round holme pierrepont where its nice and flat and see how I go!

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    Hi Sara, another Notts runner? Holme Pierrepont can be a bit soul-destroying especially when windy (though nice and flat image). If you go up the river a bit to the Hook nature reserve the paths are a bit softer and might be kinder on the knees.

  • Cough.... its taking me a little bit longer than that to do 3 miles but am getting there.

    Thanks Literatin, I will give that a go, is it a loop and how far is it?  


  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    Don't know about a loop as I normally just run along the river path, but just thought of it as it's very near Holme Pierrepont, if that's local for you, but a bit more sheltered. It's some of the green space in between the residential bit of Lady Bay and the river. The path along there is a bit more compacted earth rather than tarmac.

  • One problem I found making the transition away from treadmill was the tendancy to go faster without realising it, which had the knock on effect of tiring me quicker or making my legs ache/hurt more, so it gave the impression it was harder. Learning how to pace seems more important than it being a harder surface or the treadmill doing it all for you. Most slow runners dont tend to push off hard anyway so the difference between mill and road is minimal IF you can keep a slow pace.

    ie SLOW DOWN when you first start off Mill and take it easy image

  • Thanks Cheesyrider will bare that in mind and look up garmin watch as well.

  • I use my iphone now, and have a prog that shouts at me which is great! When I made the mill/trail transition early last year, I was at the early stages of running and wasnt prepared to spend money on a facny watch, after all, I had already had to stop running years before, and didnt want to spend money on something 'just for running' 

    Of course now, its a totally different thing, once you get addicted to it, you can see the benifit of having the toys to help you. Early stages, you cant.

    A friend bought one of the small Garmins, and she swears by it now, wishing she had got it ages ago. Do try and get one with a heart rate monitor capability (extra strap needed I think?) as that will be as useful as the watch itself. I hate running without my HR monitor and iphone recording everything and keeping me on track. I am learning how to pace myself from that, whereas it isnt easy 'just to keep pace' when you dont know how to image 



  • stu jstu j ✭✭✭

    There are a couple of difference I find running outside vs. a treadmill:

    1) the undulation of the roads / pavements / inclines / declines etc etc... These may throw you off at first, however if it's a fully organised fun run then I'd half expect it to be a fairly flat running surface.

    2) and this is my biggest issue - holding the same pace.  So say I run at x mph on the treadmill, and that it always keeps me honest in that regard, I find that I run quicker outside. Always have done.

  • Wow just looked at the prices of the watches, so think I will leave that for now!

    Cheesy would be interested to know which app you used, as think something shouting at me to speed up or slow down, would be good.

  • I find it easier to run on a treadmill - but the time goes sooooo much slower - whereas outside it feels harder, but 30 minutes flies by image So pros and cons for both. Best of luck image

  • XX1XX1 ✭✭✭
    When I started running it was on pavements and roads... I found that my pace varied depending on whether I was going up-hill, down-hill, needed a breather, regained my breath, etc... I only gave a treadmill a shot when the pavements around my way were covered in ice... For me the treadmill felt harder as trying to maintain a consistent pace felt relentless and it seemed sooooo hot in the gym... But as DF3 has already said, if you'll be doing roughly the same distance then you should be ok.
  • I used runkeeper initially, but now use ismoothrun, which I think is better once you have learned how to make your own workouts!

    Runkeeper with audio cues on at every .25km should do it and its free.


  • I get so bored on a treadmill and admire anyone who can stick at it for 3 miles, I managed it once!  I would say that running on the road/trail is different, some say harder some say easier it is individual preference.  You'll find out when you try!

  • I did a 10k when I had done all my training on a treadmill and I did one 4k run outside and I found it tough! the 10k was awful however I did finally complete it in 1hr 7mins. I have just started running this week and have been outside and wish I had done it sooner, at least you go somewhere and see things outside x

  • If I start watching TV on a tradmill it's going to end up on You've Been Framed as I either fall off sideways or fly off the back! 

    It's the road or the trail for me, I love running outside and enjoy the changing scenery.  It was beautiful today!

  • I've been doing nothing but treadmill running for the last 4-5 weeks as I've been having to squeeze runs in between 9pm and 11pm and where I live running outside at that time isn't good for your health.

    My experience with it is that it's actually harder to run on a treadmill than outside. I can run 5k outside in 21 minutes with relative ease, but struggle to break 22 minutes on a treadmill (0.5% incline).

    It's also incredibly boring.

  • Treadmills and road running are equally as challenging in my book. The big difference that you need to take care of is on the lower legs. Road running is a far more unforgiving surface. Transition to the tarmac over time to avoid impact injuries such as shin splints
  • Thanks for all the advice, I am going to go out tonight and give it a go. If you don't hear back from me, you know I have forgotten I'm not on a treadmill and am running on the spot somewhere!

  • Well I did it. I did 2 circuits of my village which worked out to be 2.2 miles. I did it on week 4 day 2 of c2k. Felt ok and the only thing that aches, is my back a little bit.

  • Lol yes I do and have been given several copies as presents. Wish I looked like her but not bothered about sleeping with Russel Brand!

  • Furthest I have done at the gym was 20 miles. Although there is TV, I really do rely on other gym users to provide the entertainment. I'm sure there must be an Attenborough documentary in it.

    Back on line .... Well done on first road run. Swap treadmill for road every other run till you start feeling comfortable, and then build up
  • Thanks Also-ran, I went out again and did the same route last night but on week 5 day 1 c25k and it was ok, the time definitly goes faster but feels harder work at the moment. Will try and alternate as you have suggested. Mmmm our gym is quite boring no one falling off or anything!

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