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Treadmill vs. street running.

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So, I went for a run tonight outside. I ran about 1.75-2 miles on the sidewalk. I can easily run 3-3.5 miles on the treadmill without getting winded or ridiculously tired. In fact, I don't mind running on the treadmill. Running outside just killed me right away. My calves were burning from the start! What's going on here??? Why is it so much harder for me to run outside?

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There's a few factors at work that make it harder to run outside. 

If there was even a slight breeze, it causes resistance. Also, even if wherever you are running looks flat - its probably not. Your body can sense the slight changes in terrain. Concrete or ashphalt do not give as your foot strikes them - unlinke the treadmill which slightly gives to your heelstrike to lessen the impact a bit.

It also much harder to pace yourself outside. I can jog almost forever at a  10-12minute mile pace, but when i get outside and start to run, my nike+ shows me at an 8:00 pace!

People usually find that they can run about 3/4th the distance outside that they run inside.

Don't give up on running outside!

Hope that helps!

that's so weird! i'm totally opposite. i would much rather be running on uneven surface and different terrain or else i get so unbelievably bored and i start to hate running. i treadmill maybe once every couple weeks and the rest is all street.

i guess it just depends on your own preferences. as long as you're enjoying it, i suppose it doesn't really matter how you do it! :]

PICKLEBUG-the few times i was on a treadmill i hated it, same reasons as you, what do you do in the winter?


also, tredmils help to propel you forward, while the ground does not. When you are outside you need to do more work in orer to move forward.

with this being said, i am a collegiate runner and i think it is harder to run on the tredmil b/c its so boring and usually the air is staler.

even in the winter i am bundled up and outside, despite 0 or negative degrees :X

lol, its so cold here in the winter though and i hate the treadmill!  its so redundant and boring, hmm, bundling up, i dunno, its like 2 degrees!?

I usually like running outside, but when I do run inside I make sure to put the treadmill on an incline of at least .5 ... I heard that this somewhat simulates outside running!

i can't stand treadmills.  i don't understand running to get nowhere (can't stand stationary bikes for the same reason).  i'm actually looking forward to winter running, and got some good advice on winter gear in the fitness forum.

i suggest that you keep up the outdoor running, and don't compare your distance outside to what you do on the treadmill.  think of it as two different workouts.  it's about exertion anyway, right?  if you're working just as hard for the same length of time, what difference does the distance make?

i also recommend finding a trail system (and getting some good trail shoes).  road running is more interesting than a treadmill by a mile, but even that can get a little monotonous.  and using an mp3 player can be risky.  when you're trail running, your attention has to be on the terrain, so you tend to forget about your body (at least i do).

I had this same problem yesterday too ! I can easily run about 3 miles on the treadmill, but when I went outside for a run the other day, I could only run about 2 miles. However, the amount of calories I burned was probably about the same, since running outside is usually much harder. Many people tend to run a lot faster outside since they don't have the treadmill to keep them at a steady pace, which is probably what happened when you were running as well. Also, it depends on where you're running. If the terrain is pretty uneven this can cause you to become tired more easily. Third, when you're running on the treadmill, the treadmill does some of the work for you since the ground underneath you is moving, giving your feet an extra push. If you want to simulate running outside while running on the treadmill, I would recommend setting it to an incline of 1%.

Either way, don't stop running, its great exercise and it keeps your heart healthy! 

hmm, so when its winter, and i dont know where youre all from but it gets to be mostly in the teens where i am, do you just layer up if youre running outside?

agruskin, yep.  i posted this thread the other day.

i'm near the 54th parallel.  plenty cold, and snow from halloween 'til easter.

thanks so much!  im not a great runner, maybe some jogging, lol, and dont go out for that long, i think itd be maybe 20 mins or so, but its still freezing so thanks!

I get SO bored on a treadmill-even if I have a tv right in front of me....ugh.

However-I really wanted to comment on winter running! Keep one very important thing in mind when you're thinking about how cold it is in the winter:

When you're walking to/from your car/the store/ might be cold as hell, but when you're're going to be a whole heck of a lot warmer! When I walk my dog around the block during the winter-I'm frozen solid in 10 m minutes, but after the initial few minutes of cold at the beginning of a run I get so warmed up that I don't even notice the cold...and believe me, it gets cold here!

how long are you guys running for in the winter?

agruskin, right now i'm only up to about 28-30 minutes (5k), but i'm changing things up.  my plan is a short, fast run (maybe 3k) on monday, hills on wednesday, and a longer run friday or saturday.  i'm planning on 6k this saturday, and i'd like to get up to 10k by early spring so i'm ready for a race when the snow melts.

wow, that sounds really impressive.  as you can imagine, im not a runner, some slow jogging maybe but running, and i  dont even know, does that mean fast?, sounds really great, its just winter and cold for so long and treadmills are awful.  how far is 3k in miles?  i guess wahtever 10k would take a long time, thats awesome, you must be in amazing shape and have amazing stamina, really awesome!!

no, i'm not in amazing shape; i'm really just starting out ;)  i built up my stamina by walking and hiking daily, and i've just made the shift from walk-run combinations to straight-up running in the last three weeks.

3k is less than 2 miles; 5k is 3.1m.  a 28 minute 5k isn't embarrassing, but it isn't fast.

if you look in my journal, there's a good begin-to-run program that you're welcome to cut and paste.  it starts out with 20 minute workouts, and in the first week you only run 15 seconds out of every 2 minutes (you don't have to start at the beginning if it's too easy).  really good if you're starting from zero.

My winter running schedule is the same as my summer schedule:

3-9 miles per day (25- 100 minutes) depending on my pace.

I'm telling you though---after the first few minutes of cold, your body will warm up with the exercise and you won't even notice the cold! I usually layer clothing, but often times go out only in my leggings, dritec long sleeved shirt, and a vest (oh...hat and fingerless gloves too). Even if you're running very slowly, your body heat will get up there! Give it a's not nearly as bad as you think!

Actually, some of my favorite times to run are on very cold/snowy days in Central Park....beautiful and peaceful! In the summer, you've got to avoid the hundreds of other runners there....not so much in the winter, they all go into treadmill hibernation!

thank yo so much guys!

PGEORGIAN-im deff going to take a look in your journal for some guidance, ha, im deff excitied! im trying to get a bit healthier so this could be great motivation!

thank you!

Running on the sidewalk is sooooo hard on your joints and muscles.  I learned that the hard way.  Even asphalt is better than concrete.  I've been running in a local park around the reservoir and I'm not nearly as sore and I can run almost as far as on the treadmill (it's defintely harder though).  It has a paved (asphalt) walkway around it but I try to stick to running on the grass.  I know you obviously can't run in the middle of the road and risk getting hit by a car, but try not to run on concrete!

Original Post by frustrated11:

also, tredmils help to propel you forward, while the ground does not. When you are outside you need to do more work in order to move

Exactly. I'm not a fan of treadmills save for the fact that I can see how fast that pace would be, and I think it makes it harder to transfer your running to the road. Just run on the road. Cheap, easy, you get it out of the way.

DO NOT run on the sidewalks. Concrete is the worst surface to run on. If you value your joints (and your sanity - they are almost never level, and you could sprain your ankle one day), move to the shoulder of the road, against traffic. Sometimes that isn't feasible, but do it if you can. Asphalt isn't the best surface, but it's better than concrete. Asphalt gives more than concrete (which doesn' all.)

I tell all new runners to just get out there and run. I don't buy the time restriction bit - if you can haul your butt upstairs/downstairs/over to the gym to run, you can leave your house and run, too.

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