T Nation

treadmill running vs. outdoor running

I hate winter. One of the main reasons being that there is no daylight to run in anymore. I never get quite the same feel off a treadmill as I do running on ground. Seeing as my gym doesn’t have a track, does anyone have any tips or knowledge on doing some of my runs inside on a treadmill? I.e., how much of a difference is it really calorie and effort wise, is 6.0 mph on the treadmill equivalent to 6.0 mph on a flat road…that sort of thing.
da elfling

The only thing really missing on the treadmill is wind resistance, but I’ve read that setting the slope on the treadmill to 1-2 degrees evens things out.

I actually prefer a treadmill to outside running, but am the opposite with the bike. Nothing I hate more than sitting on my trainer in the garage.

I’m like you, I prefer the outdoors. In my neighborhood we do have ample lighting here so it’s not too bad while running outside, even at night.

However, here’s something to toss your way. I find that running outdoors when it’s snowing (or when there’s snow covering the ground) to be a lot of fun! Of course, I don’t spend more than half an hour (it’s usually around 20 minutes), but those sessions turn out to be some of the best workouts. You’re basically trying so hard not to fall that it forces your whole body to function as one. I tell ya, I have never had my abs hurt so much after running before, until then.

Maybe give winter outdoor runs a try. You may like it.

There is a slight difference in outdoor v.s. indoor. When on a treadmill, the belt “propells” you forward and brings your foot back without much effort from the runner. Dont get me wrong, the treadmill is great, but when it comes down to calorie comparison, the outdoors wins. As previously stated, setting the incline will make the treadmill close in comparison to the outdoors. Another tip on electronic machines is to put in your DESIRED weight and not your current. This will give you a better idea what you are truly expending. Many machines are inaccurate when it comes to how many calories you are burning. I hope this helps a little?

I’m thinking you’re female, so the running alone inthe dark is a real danger for you. Carrying lights won’t help the danger part, but they can help you see. Do you have a dog? Or some one else you can run with? Myself, my runs are ALL in the dark from late September to late May (I usually hit the road around 5:15 am). I am fortunate that my routes have street lights to illuminate the way, but there are areas that are totally dark (a couple trails).

  1. If you’re going to run in the dark, make sure you are TOTALLY familiar with not just the route, but the surrounding area, in case you need to detour for whatever reason.

  2. Carry a flashlight at least. A large MagLite does great double duty as a light (duh!) and billy club. And though it’s not the most convenient to carry, it will increase your calorie expenditure.

  3. Don’t wear headphones, but carry a cell phone. Keep looking around you.

Oh yes, I love the outdoors…it’s just a matter of safety. I work in a pretty ghetto area and I live in the country, neither of which are conducive to dark winter evening/nights running alone as a chick, even a T-vixen :).
Wonder if I can convince them to change my work hours so I don’t get seasonal affective disorder? :slight_smile:

They are 2 different beasts and I can’t tell you why. I’ve run for over 20 years and do both but understand they are different. I can easily do an hour or more outside on a nice day, even an hour in oppressive DC summer.
On the treadmill I do more goal setting workouts and use HR monitoring a lot. I’d rather pick a pace and increase it by .2mph every 5 minutes for 5 miles…Takes away some of the boredom.

Of course at the health club there are always yound women to look at. I usually scare them when I start at 8mph and move toward 10 mph

FitNforty

Road running, esp on hills is good for your building up the anaerobic capacity of your muscles, especially if you practice a form of “leigionaires march” or “Fartlek running”, I think it’s also called. The better programmable tradmills can emulate this.

Treadmills are generally not as intensive as a good road run, but if your’e doing it in a room that doensn’t have a very good fresh air supply it will make your heart work faster and give you better cardio. Also, if you have a cardiograph or somehting, it’s easier to check your heart-rate for fat-burning purposes.

In my neck of the woods, it’s often too hot or too cold to run outside, so my treadmill and my bike are indispensible training aids… and theyr’e certainly better than a half-arse run in adverse conditions… or getting mugged.

I don’t really think that the only difference between the treadmill and normal road running is the wind resistance. I find that normal running is a lot harder.

As far as what you can do that’s really good exercise is to do intervals. Try a warm up of maybe incline walking or light jogging for a few minutes then alternate 30 second sprints with 2 minutes of jogging. Continue to do this maybe 6 times and then lightly jog as a cooldown for maybe 4-5 minutes. The intervals will give you a surprising workout; you will find that after your 2nd or 3rd sprint, your HR stays elevated for a good deal of your “cooldown” jog. This seems to be very effective at burning calories. The cooldown allows you to catch your breath and to “wind down” over time instead of having a steady expenditure of power and energy. Sprints seem to work best overall.

Check out the article “The Beast Evolves” in the previous issues section for an idea of a diet and workout program that seemed to work pretty good. An interval program was an integral part of this guy’s program. Good luck. Now, I’m off to do some intervals. :slight_smile: