Treadmill vs. Real Running Times

#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?

J.
 
#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
wellyhead said:
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
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.

J.
 
#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 runningAHEAD.com or mapmyrun.com 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
keano said:
Why don't you measure out 1.5 miles from your house on the runningAHEAD.com or mapmyrun.com websites then run the route timed and see the difference.
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.

J.
 
#9
either that or www.runningahead.com , 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!
 
#12
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)?

ps.
obviously i mean run on imperfect terrain, not run barefoot.
 
#13
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.
 
#14
The big thing that a treadmill does is increase your "dwell time" (apparently). I think I read this in an article on www.pponline.co.uk

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.
 
#15
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?
 
#17
Agree with everything said so far.

I'm pushing forty so I use treadmills when I'm suffering from more than the usual aches and pains. That said, it's never more than a couple of times a week and I try to get out every day.

I find that even slightly crocked I knock nearly a minute off my usual 1.5 run time. I'm basically doing a Fartlek without slowing down to a jog. It fcuking hurts, but I know it's helping at least psychologically towards improving my real life times.

You really need to get outside to do it properly. I've got a flattish measured mile that I use. Run halfway in five mins as a warm-up and then 'best effort' to the full mile, round the tree and back to the start.

Unless you're in the Himalayas, there must be somewhere pretty flat to be able to train. Council playing fields, industrial estate, shopping-centre car park?

Also, don't just concentrate on the half-mile warm up and 1.5 mile 'best effort'. You need to be running for stamina as well as speed. Don't get hung up about distance early on, run for about the same time and you'll naturally begin to run further and so faster.

Good luck.
 
#18
freedomman said:
Also, don't just concentrate on the half-mile warm up and 1.5 mile 'best effort'. You need to be running for stamina as well as speed. Don't get hung up about distance early on, run for about the same time and you'll naturally begin to run further and so faster.

Good luck.
Thanks for the advice. I do also do longer runs (usually on a Sunday) of 4 miles or more with plenty of hills which I find is great for stamina. I have also recruited an athletics coach to beast me until I can run the 1.5 in 9:30 and reach lvl 13 on the bleep test.

Its quite exciting in this final stage before selection (hoping to go for AOSB in Feb). I have quit my job, am living off saving and spend every spare moment training or surfing arrse lol.

J.
 
#19
"Gobbyidiot, how long did you do your speed march training for?"

We have a new load of treadmills which seem harder so I do 7.5kph at 15% for 22 minutes and then 8 minutes at 7.2kph, and then 15 minutes on the limit on the bike. I'm saturated at the end of that.

Treadmills do vary a lot, particularly after a lot of use - the calibration goes. On some of them I can sit at the above effort for an hour no problem, on others 20 minutes seems like a fortnight.

Level 13 on the beep test is not bad. I've managed a little less than that and on another day I nearly died to do 14/9 (ie a step away from level 15).

If you look inside the beep test box you should see a table, or a a couple of tables, to convert your score into a VO2 max score. If there are two tables (20m and 15m protocols) be sure you use the right table. I've had people tell me they can complete the beep test - well, if you can you should be going to the Olympics with your 90ml VO2 max. Usually they manage their fantastic result it by using a stretched tape, placing the cones too close, leaving the line before the beep and using the wrong table. Often all of the above. Level 13 is about 54 (I think) VO2 and there are tables on the web that will give you a predicted time for that. Over a mile and a half the relationship between beep test results and running is very close.

Having said that, on beep test 14/9 fitness I could go a good bit under eight minutes for a mile and a half so you might have quite a bit more in you.
 
#20
On the same subject, do people reckon I could get a decent 1.5 mile time with just once running session a week?

I don't mean to suggest on just one training session a week, but being one of those odd individuals that likes to spend their time going backwards up and down the river I don't have any running sessions specifically in my training programme, but we do have thursdays as a day when we are given free choice over what session to choose, so I could go for a run then.

Not really keen on putting another session into the rest of my week as I have 2 sessions a day for the rest of the week, a mixture of circuits/weights/rowing machine sessions and actual rowing sessions on the water. Plenty of balance between pure strength work, core stability stuff and lots and lots of mileage (typical rowing session or erg is 16km's). So fitness and strength training is taken care of, I'm just wary of not being used to using the muscles in a different way for running.

Last year I was out for a week or so with a hand injury and went for a 10mile run instead of the water session.......... fitness meant I could bang out the ten miles ok, just the not being used to it meant that for the next three days I could hardly walk as muscles in my leg seized up.


So..........my waffling does actually have a point, which is what session would you reccommend for running training bearing in mind I can only do one a week?
 

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