Member Comments for the Article:

Are You Cheating Yourself by Choosing the Treadmill?

What's Better: the Treadmill or the Open Road?


  • Celestialaxis, do you have the option of running on a track as part of your indoor training? That might be one way to overcome some of the issues. Last year I was kind of the opposite - I ran on the indoor track at our Y, which needs 13 laps to make a mile. I had to overcome a hesitation to run outdoors, and then a fear of running on the treadmill. I still prefer the track to the treadmill if I can't run outdoors, but the pacing and incline features of a treadmill are pretty nifty!

    Just make sure you get a couple of outdoor runs in before the 5K event - maybe even at the course if possible, or something similar (e.g. on sidewalks and crossing roads, or on park trails - depends on your event). It is a different experience than the treadmill! - 2/23/2010 3:18:36 PM
  • I love the treadmill because it makes me really conscious of each step I am taking, my breath and my posture. When I am outside, I'm too busy looking around.

    The Privo athletic shoes I wear have extremely flexible soles with bumps on the insole.... the treadmill it helps with the whole heel to toe motion... so it feels like my feet are getting a massage as I walk. Additionally the belt is like walking on grass rather than concrete.

    Great article.
    Of course the better of the two is always the one you're gonna do.
    : ) - 2/23/2010 3:05:29 PM
  • I"m an outdoors person all the way, because I live in a "lucky" climate. Winter may get cold and wet here, but it's never snowy or icy, and since I overheat so easily winter is my best running time. Besides, the gym is always too hot. In our scorching summers, I run earlier or later to cope with the heat.

    For those in snow climates, treadmill-running may be a necessity.

    But I have found that the way your body moves is very different on the treadmill. You're not so much pushing off as pulling-and-hovering, and that change in stride really affects things like your hips and the groin muscles. If you run exclusively on the treadmill, you may not be as ready for outdoor running at first as you thought. - 2/23/2010 1:22:46 PM
    Celestial Axis, I trained entirely for a 5k once using only the treadmill except for one training run outdoors 2 days before the race. My legs felt weak and sluggish and I was way off my goal pace time. I've found that if I train for a race on the treadmill I will run about one minute per mile slower than if I train outside. I've never stared training on a treadmill though and switched to outdoors for the last 2 weeks. Since this is your first 5k I would try to get as much running time outdoors as you can before the race but if 2 weeks of outdoor training is all you have it beats my one outdoor run. You will finish the race it may just be slower than you had hoped and may require some walking brakes during the last mile. Hope this helps. Enjoy the race! - 2/23/2010 12:49:02 PM
  • I enjoy both,and thanks to Sparkpeople I actually run some of the time too..I do agree that all the bumps and different elevations when outdoors make a difference in the muscles that you use and after the treadmill it's something I really notice now when I'm outside.. for me, the downside of outside is that I worry about being attacked by dogs, which actually happened this month while I was on vacation and walking outside. - 2/23/2010 12:28:18 PM
  • This worries me because I am training for my first 5k, which is on April 11. I live in New England and it's very cold right now, and I have asthma so I can't train outside until it warms up. At best, I'll be running outside a couple of weeks before the race for the first time. Am I going to be completely unprepared because I'm using the treadmill till then? I vary the speed and use an incline, and I'm increasing my total time every week to help my stamina. Now I'm worried it won't be enough! - 2/23/2010 11:57:44 AM
    TINKER-SUKI-- Good question. All of this can be applied to both walking and running. - 2/23/2010 11:39:22 AM
  • JR5641
    I live in Chicago so unless it's from May - October, the treadmill can't be beat :D. - 2/23/2010 11:33:48 AM
    I have a question maybe I read the article too fast and missed it. Running is best outdoor for a better workout but, what about walking does this still apply? - 2/23/2010 10:46:37 AM
  • I have two bad feet with heel spurs and plantar fasciitis, and will only occasionally use a treadmill, for level walking (slow pace) and stop before I am limping in pain, of course. I once went to the health club tired, and nodded out while slow, level walking on a treadmill (I was weighing at below my goal weight at the time, so the question of being "overweight=constantly tired" is irrelevant) and fell off of it onto the skidding area, almost hurting myself. I think being outside would keep you from "treadmill hypnosis".

    --Tina - 2/23/2010 10:13:01 AM
  • I would much rather run or walk outside. Even though I have moved my treadmill near a window, it is still rather boring and I watch the clock. I love to bike and walk outdoors when the weather is nice.

    Since I plan on participating in a triathalon this summer, I am going to start running outdoors as soon as the weather cooperates. I was in track for a bit in high school, but was more into jumping, so running wasn't high on my priority. I never thought I would want to run, but now it might bring a new dimension to my workouts. - 2/23/2010 10:11:10 AM
    I think that this is a really great article and gives me a lot to think about since I'm planning on taking up running in the future. I currently walk exclusively on the treadmill, and do speed intervals which vary the incline and speed at which I'm working, so I am getting some benefits over walking at a steady pace with no incline. I don't enjoy walking outdoors as much, but now I can definitely see the benefits and, especially when the weather gets nicer, will try to vary my walks (and eventually my runs) to incorporate both indoor and outdoor exercises. - 2/23/2010 9:29:47 AM
  • DOPEY716
    I think running outside would be the best for those that can run.
    I have a bad knee and I have been using the treadmill,also 59 and won't take up running now.
    Being outside is good for the whole body & spirit - 2/23/2010 7:44:57 AM
  • The biggest difference I found between doing the two is that I go further when I'm walking outdoors. If I go a mile and I'm tired, I still have to get back home, which burns up another mile whereas if I'm at home I just get off the treadmill. - 2/23/2010 6:40:20 AM

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