Treadmill vs. Real Running Times

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by JayCam, Oct 14, 2007.

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  1. I have been using a treadmill for timing my 1.5mile runs simply because it allows me to time myself along an exact distance. Appart from the old 1% elevation thing, how would treadmill times generally compare to real running times? I dont have access to a running track or a 1.5mile stretch of level ground (where I live is very hilly).

    I am running 1.5 miles consistantly a few seconds under 10:00 on the treadmill, any idea if this translates to road running?

  2. I always find that I run faster in real life than on a treadmill, they are good for stamina training and fartleks but I wouldn't go simply on the timer.

    mark a route out on gmap and then try it out, its the only real way to know.

    gmap-pedometer link
  3. I found that I take longer to run 1.5 on a treadmill, There have been other posts on here where people have found the opposite, the trouble is that a treadmill is sort of propelling along, which taking gradients, and other things like weather conditions into account isnt at all like running on the ground, different things work for different people, I find mine very handy for when Im on sprog duty and cant get out for a run.
  4. When I was in Ireland early 90's, I used the treadmill to get the BFT down those last few seconds. I went from 8.30 to 7.42 in 4 months of smashing the treadmill (incline min 2 degree's) good thing about treadmill is injury recovery, you are not stuck in the cuds if you have a relapse.
  5. Cheers for that link! I used to use google earth but I have moved and my new area is not covered in any kind of detail so can't do that anymore. Will check that site out! That is if I can find 1.5 solid miles of flat ground around here lol.

  6. For a start you should be looking at 3% really when you factor in wind resistance etc.

    Why don't you measure out 1.5 miles from your house on the or websites then run the route timed and see the difference.

    Oh and don't forget to factor in the 800m warm up or it'll catch you out :D
  7. Treadmills are easier than the real thing. If your doing a squadded 1.5mile you will be quicker as you will competition and will have more focus. Once a treadmill is up to speed you have the inertia of the belt, basically you are bouncing of it and it does help. That said they are excellnt bits of kit. I do almost all my training indoors. The fact that there is eye candy, lovely bums in lycra and you can flirt is far better than running solo with an iPod. I row 3500meters a day on a Concept 2 followed by a 1.5 miler on the treadmill followed by 100 situps backwards on a swiss ball. Takes about 40 minutes and my GP assures me I am in great health.

    But have always been a sucker for lovely sporty girlies and we have a good social life at out healthclub.
  8. Well the problem is that the area where I live is extremely hilly. So all my times will be skewed by having to go up and down steep hills. Its great for training but makes trying to get an accurate BFT time a nightmare.

  9. either that or , strangely I did a 1.5 on a running track once, I found those 6 laps soul destroying, give me running on the road any day!
  10. Cheers, very useful!

  11. personally, used to find treadmill improves my time. i think it depends on your running style as much as anything as to how it affects you. i havent used a treadmill for ages, since ill never be in iraqistan on a treadmill try to get to cover.

    personally, what t does is simply propel my legs backwards as opposed to my legs pushing me forwards. obviously this gives a poor return, as your not working running muscles as well.

    since im quite light, i simply dont get the level of grip a heavier guy would, so the treadmill pushs me rather then the opposite.
    also, if you run a lot on a treadmill your CV system doesnt get used to different temperatures etc. a treadmill is in a room, and its usually fairly ok temp. if you train like that for 3 months, then go for an early morning run, it will feel like somebody just ripped out your lungs, because your body isnt used to exercising with cold air.

    running outside is also good because it stresses bones more. now unless you have shin splints, controlled bone stress is good as it promotes hardening of the shin bones, making impact injuries less common.

    at the end of the day we have evolved for millions of years running bare foot for hours on end with pointy sticks chasing some animal. we have evolved to travel over uneven ground at speed, so surely, that will give the most gains (as it does)?

    obviously i mean run on imperfect terrain, not run barefoot.
  12. Quick point. I currently use two different treadmills. There's quite a big difference in the reported speed between the two, showing that the speed indicated on treadmills is not always accurate. What with that and all the above comments I would only count a practice BFT time if it's out on the road.
  13. The big thing that a treadmill does is increase your "dwell time" (apparently). I think I read this in an article on

    In other words your foot stays in contact with the ground for longer than it would in the real world, so it is a little more like running uphill in that respect.

    Experiments show similar oxygen consumption on the treadmill and the road, so in terms of training your CV system a treadmill works well, the question is whether it is biomechanically the same - and it is obviously not. The question then is given your particular strengths and weaknesses does the biomechanical difference help or hinder - and it might do either. Generally you want the training to be like the event, but it is at least theoretically possible that there might be a difference in your favour in the real world.

    I did my treadmill speedmarch yesterday (7.5kph up 15%). 'kin horrible, really busts your heart, lungs, backside and hamstrings without damaging your knees. I'd recommend it for variety.
  14. I find my 1.5 quicker on the road than treadmill. I think the reasoning for mine, is that 12-14kmh seems fast (when reading the display), and so mentally I struggle to maintain this speed for any length of time. However, when out on the road, I've no idea how fast I'm going, so just run at my natural pace.

    Gobbyidiot, how long did you do your speed march training for?