Monday, June 23, 2008

Why Is Running On a Treadmill Easier?

Q: Why does running on a treadmill seem easier than running on the road or on a track?

A: There are definite pros and cons that go along with using the “mill” for training.

You are right: running on a treadmill is easier (physically) than running outside because you are being propelled by the treadmill belt, a padded moving platform, and you are not running against any wind resistance. What’s more, treadmill running is weatherproof, so you can exercise in a controlled climate without concern for heat, humidity or frigidity.

While it may be easier on you physically, mentally it is a different story. Let’s face it, running like a hamster round-and-round on a wheel for long periods of time can be quite monotonous! Treadmill running is much more difficult psychologically than outdoor running due to the lack of visual distractions as well as variety in terrain. I generally recommend that those individuals training for an upcoming road race spend the bulk of their training outdoors on the road to acclimate to the environment as well as the twists and turns of the road and the variable terrain.

1 comment:

Jamie Atlas said...

Hi Dr Janet! Movement analysis is part of what I do and I can tell you that running on a treadmill actually uses less muscles and creates bad habits for real world running. I have written a blog post that explains this a bit more titled 'never run on a treadmill again'. It really gives an indepth explanation on how the ground and the treadmill create two very different reactions.

Thanks Dr Janet! Love your work :)

Jamie Atlas
My blog (if you would like to read the article on treadmill running)