Is running on a treadmill same as running outdoors?

One of the most common questions that runners are asked is whether or not running on a treadmill is the same as running outdoors. Answer to that question is a bit more complicated, but running on a treadmill is essentially not the same like running outdoors. It can be pretty close to running outdoors, but there’s things you need to know in order to make it so. Let’s see what sets apart running on a treadmill from running outdoors.

Is running on a treadmill same as running outdoors?

Wind resistance – most obvious difference when running on a treadmill is that you can run in a climate controlled room that doesn’t have wind resistance. Even though wind resistance is minimal, both it and the weather play an important role when running and if you use a treadmill you’re basically cheating. You could offset the effects of wind resistance by putting the treadmill on a °1 incline, which can act as wind resistance.

Pacing and weather – running indoors, on a treadmill closes you off from the elements. When running a race for example, it’s going to be sunny, hot, windy, colder, etc. It’s not going to be climate controlled. Similarly to that, running outdoors has random inclines, downhill running, etc. On a treadmill running is pretty even all the time, so don’t learn how to pace yourself. Any good runner will tell you this. If you have a treadmill that can change inclines, speeds of running randomly, then great for you. But most treadmills don’t have this, and runners who use only them don’t learn proper pacing and how running in actual weather is like.

Missing out on the view – now here’s one advantage that running outdoors has over treadmills that treadmills can’t easily make up for. They lack the scenery, the view that runners running outdoors get. If you run through a park, forest, countryside, you enjoy fresh air, and amazing views along your route. Heck, even running through the city has a certain appeal, if you love the urban life. We don’t have much of that here in Eccleshill, but we do have beautiful countryside and we can’t see it if we are cooked up inside on a treadmill.

However, running on a treadmill has its advantage when the weather outside is rainy, cold or snowy. I don’t have a treadmill and it’s currently about a foot of snow outside, cold and I don’t want to go out running right now. Paths I normally take are not clean so I just boost my exercise routine. All in all, running on a treadmill comes very close to running outdoors, but you have to know the pitfalls that we mentioned above and make up for them. Keep that in mind when using a treadmill and you’re good to go.