road & gym

Hi all - I have been running for about six months and am looking/hoping to do a half marathon at the end of October. While I obviously enjoy training on the road I also enjoy the treadmill at my gym.Is this good/bad practice? anybody else experiencing this dilema? What proportion of each is advisable?


  • I use the treadmill and even with a 2% incline (suggested for imitating road running) I find it a bit easier than road running, probably due to the outside elements and the effect they have on my body (weather conditions mainly, breathing).

  • The general advice is that if you are racing a specific sport, then your training should match the racing conditions as closely as possible i.e. running outside.

    That said running inside is a reasonable substitute and certainly better than not running at all. After all Ingreid Kristiansen set a marathon world record after running through the Norwegian winter on a treadmill.
  • The treadmill is a good starting point and well done on running with it set at an incline. Remember though - the road is harder underfoot so you probably need more shock absorbsion in your shoes, the weather, as mentioned is also there to contend with, but then again, it's more interesting to run outdoors and watch the world go by instead of watching in the mirror/tele/video in a gym.
  • From my previous experience using treadmills I found that i often job pains in the front of my shins - I belive they're called "shin splints" - I found my way round this was to minimise use of treadmill to only days with snowy / icy conditions and to do about first mile run/brisk walk all on a 1% incline to add a touch of restriction.

    Hope this helps
  • I find treadmills great for longer interval sessions as it's easy to keep a tab on pace, and monitor improvements too. Also, when you do reps on a treadmill you are forced to keep at the pace you've set yourself so it's harder to cop out. It certainly good to do the more monotonous steady runs outside where there's a bit of scenery though. Off road has to be the best surface for me though.
  • i find treadmills good for recovery as the surface is soft,so the chances of injuries are reduced.However,i run faster on the road compared to the treadmill as the wind can cool down and so reduce the heart rate.The temperature set in the gym is a bit too high.Another good thing with treadmill is that you dont need to look where you put your foot compared to the wood where you have to be carefull of the holes all the time.All the best to all of you.
  • I will never be running on a treadmill again.. I did yesterday for the first time in absolutely ages and have now got the 'shin splints' pain in my right shin! That was the reason I gave up running on the treadmill initially and took to the great outdoors!! How I wished I hadn't done it yesterday.. don't know why I did..!!! Anyway, got a 10K tomorrow, so I'm hoping that the leg holds out!!
    Michelle x
  • I started my running on a treadmill and didn't venture outside for about 3 months.
    When i did finally take the plunge I gave myself a bit of a shock!
    The change in running surface made the the following few days pretty painful!
    I also found pacing my outside run to be quite difficult as on the machine this is taken out of your hands.
    one advantage I find with the treadmill is that after doing a few long runs at room/gym temeratures running outside when it is warmer becomes much easier.Hydration for treadmill runners is crucial as you will lose buckets of sweat during a long indoor effort(nice).
    I would say do a bit of both and like Mowgli says,speed sessions are much easier to control on the treadmill.
  • I actually have since found out that to train better for the road I should set the treadmill to a 3/4% incline, so now I set it at 4% for shorter runs and 3% for longer runs.
    I've got used to it now after only a week.
  • Never dogged by injuries/shin splits so can't comment on that aspect.
    However I use the t/mill once or twice a week (i run 5 or 6 times), for specific sessions, usually intervals.It is much easier to accurately run reps on the machine as it (a) measures distance and (b) measures speed.(This assumes you don't have easy access to a track).

    Also like to use the t/mill for short threshold runs (so maybe 3 miles at 5k pace)
    or sometimes do my hill programme on them.

    As I said I've not been injured and consequently feel the t/mill is a benefit to my training regimen.I do , however prefer the road for mixed pace,steady and long runs.(I couldn't stand more than an hour of treadmill training.....)
  • Treadmills are 'easier' to run on because when your foot lands - the belt moves it backwards - unlike in the real world when you have to propel yourself forwards - if you see what I mean. This is why sticking in an incline helps - only problem is I don't do hills !

  • Dustin t/mill?
    Is that the one there is trouble at?
  • 3% incline??
    Bloody hell ,im unfit
    I find 1% hard
  • EP - it's when you're inclined to do a work out but something gets in the way first, I think
  • I find treadmills boring and can only last 15 minutes without going ga-ga! The only thing that helps is by putting the treadmill on manual and doing intervals.

    By the way - shin splints are microfractures of the shin (tibia) and are bloody sore (can ruin any running for months!)

    However, muscles attach to these bones by tendons and you can get inflammation of these tendons, causing pain on the shin.

    If you are not sure if you have them or not, a sports physio will know. Shin splints can only be accurately diagnosed by MRI scan as these fractures rarely show up on x-ray.

  • Due to child care restaints some of my training has to be on the tread mill. I too find it useful for speed intervals I also do my recovery run on the treadmill. I would always do my long run ouyside tho.
  • I have run on the treadmill for three months and only ventured outside five weeks ago. Now do two runs a week outside but the other three onthe treadmill. I am horrified at the idea of setting a 4% incline!! Feeling pleased with myself today having done 40 mins t/mill - 10 mins warm up at 9.5kph, then 20 mins at 11kph, then 10 mins at 10kph - no incline. Am I kidding myself that I'm progressing? I find it difficult to know what pace I'm doing outside - but agree that it is not too hard to run for an hour outside with the varied scenery etc etc. I wish I could report the speedy progress that others seem to be making - having started running in June I felt quite pleased to now be managing an hour for my long runs, but seem to be stuck there. Any ideas?
  • 2 % is ok, for heavens sake!!
  • one tends to run faster outside, but its all good training anyway
    I try and do my speed sessions on the traedmill, and long sessions when im wussy about the weather or heckling
    Keep going diana
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