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Treadmill vs. Running Outside

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Old 03-28-2006, 05:07 PM   #1
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Default Treadmill vs. Running Outside

I'm training to run a 5K event sometime this year. In fact, I've chosen a run on May 13. I've worked up from running about 3 minutes to running from 2 to 2.5 miles on the treadmill. Today is a beautiful day so I thought I'd run outside.

Well, I was completely demoralized when I could only run one lap around the track. I walked for another lap, then ran another lap. By the time I was done with those three laps, my chest was on fire and I was wheezing--am still kind of wheezing, which is kind of scary. I had no idea there was such a big difference between running on the treadmill and running outside. The wind was a factor, but only when it was a headwind, of course.

So I'm rather bummed. I'm sure I won't be ready for the May 13 run, and the way I feel now, I don't know if I'll ever be able to run 5K, and I really want to run it, not walk it.

Any suggestions or experiences to share? I need some hope!
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Old 03-28-2006, 05:12 PM   #2
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I don't know anything about running, but I do know this... you've lost 84 lb... did you know you could do that when you started? Don't give up!
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Old 03-28-2006, 05:19 PM   #3
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Runnning outside is different from a workout on the treadmill.

First of all.. if you live in an area with no hills or mountains.. You wouldn't get the incline outside that you could get on a mill. That is one of the reasons I choose to workout on the mill.

Also, running outside your balance is different. Since you have to turn, adjust yourself etc... Since you have more room and your body is constantly moving you use different muscles that you wouldn't on the mill. Especially muscles in your arms.

Outside you have to constantly be aware of your surroundings i.. listening, looking, etc for obstacles etc. On a mill you can pretty much let your mind wander or even watch a movie. Frankly, I think it is good for the mind to walk or run outside as you are constantly on your toes (in more ways than one).

Obviously traction is also different.
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Old 03-28-2006, 05:21 PM   #4
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Oh, at what speeds were you running outside. The treadmill can control that for you but outside you have to regulate it.. Do you think maybe you went faster than your usual speed?
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Old 03-28-2006, 05:51 PM   #5
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Hi Sheila!

I'm your polar opposite. I run outside all the time, but can't go nearly as for nor as fast on a treadmill. I'm constantly afraid of falling off. That said, I think it's all about what you're used to.

When I started running, I figured out a distance I wanted to go - like 5K, for example. And set off on that course. When I got to the point where I needed to ease up, I'd stop and walk the rest of the way. Each time I did it, I made it a little farther before I had to walk. I know there are lots of couch to 5K fans out there, but that's what worked for me.

As for May - I think you'll be surprised at how fast you build up endurance. You might not be super speedy, but I bet you'll still be running when you cross the finish line.

Good luck!!

cheers!
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Old 03-28-2006, 06:06 PM   #6
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I'm currently in the fourth week of a ten week couch to 5k training program. I've been walk/jogging at a track outside all this time but, due to the weather, I'll have to use a treadmill today. I'm thinking I may have the opposite problem that you do. It's taken me longer than I had hoped to build up running time, but I've been running outdoors and against the wind, so I'm trying to take that into consideration. I just keep thinking that I'll get better at it evenutally, it may just take more time.

As for your 5k, I think you'll do fine. If you are concerned, maybe change up your routine by gradually working in some days of running outdoors.
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Old 03-30-2006, 03:32 PM   #7
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I think I have a mental issue with running outside. It reminds me too much of my old track days. I hated running back then, we went out only to supplement other sports.

I have a comfort zone on the treadmill and could run for 40 minutes, yet put me outside and I'll struggle to get 4!
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Old 03-30-2006, 05:15 PM   #8
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Hi Sheila,

I'm also training to run my first 5k which will be on Memorial Day Monday (May 29th). I've been running on a treadmill so far and will take my first run outside next weekend.

Maybe we can post and keep each other encouraged?
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Old 03-30-2006, 05:37 PM   #9
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I don't know TOO much about this subject - but I DO know that (as someone else already said) - there is a HUGE difference from the treadmill & running outside.

On the treadmill, I can run at a 5 mph for 20 minutes straight...HOWEVER - when I'm outside - like today I went out and ran for the firstime outside...I was only able to run for 2 minute incriments. for a total of about 10 minutes (and walked for the other 20) - but I was able to run for 2, walk for 3 - run for 2, walk for 3 - run for 2, walk for 3 - then i was only able to run for 1 every couple of minutes and by 23 minutes I just walked the rest of the way.

I know that for me, using the treadmill is more just about getting my heartrate up at a constant rate for a constant amount of time. Whereas I WANT to start running outside to really increase my stamina and all that other good stuff.

But yeah, I know even though I CAN run on the mill for 20 minutes straight at 5 mph - there's no WAY i could do a marathon. seriously - 2 minutes here and there outside and i'm crying. :-(

but - again, I think it's all about the training. if you WANT to become a runner (like i eventually do) - you really have to do it outside.
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Old 03-30-2006, 05:49 PM   #10
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another treadmill tip: If you want to try and simulate running outside and the various factors (wind, humidity, etc) you have to put your treadmill on a minimum incline of 1... nowhere else in the world is as flat as your treadmill.

I have the same problem... i have to break into running outside, its not like i can just jump out the door and go.
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Old 03-30-2006, 07:02 PM   #11
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Oh, I hear ya Sheila treadmill and outside running are a different kettle of fish.... The first time I ran outside I thought WTF is this all about and like you say felt quite demoralized ... Then I ran back inside to the the treadmill ... But after a year on the treadmill I also wanted to do a race so I forced myself to go outside, I must say that the first few times I really really disliked it, then I got some good tunes and I liked it better. NOW, I HATE HATE HATE the dreadmill , I'll run in the rain before I get on that dreadmill, I can barely make a mile on the dang thing now. I also feel suffocated when I am inside running there never seems to be enough air or oxigen to breathe... It took me about 7 or 8 runs outside before I felt comfortable. Just take it easy, run a minute, walk a minute then up it the next time you go out. I don't even bring music with me anymore I just concentrate on my steps and breathing and my mantra and I'm on my way...

Just hang in there, and you'll be more than ready for your 5k race in May...
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Old 04-02-2006, 02:03 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the wonderful advice, everyone! I tried running outside today and ran a mile in the drizzle. I was psyched! I think my problem had to do with the timing of the previous run. Because I have some physical difficulties, I exercise in the morning because I'm not in great shape by the end of the day. The first time I ran outside was in the early afternoon, after I'd already exercised in the morning. Think I got a little cocky about my abilities!

I am going to put off my race until June, possibly July, but I'm not giving up the goal (which I felt like doing the other day!). Thanks for all your encouragement!
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Old 04-02-2006, 02:49 PM   #13
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sheila, i would stick with your may race... even if you walk half of it, or even all of it, its still a great experience and a lot of fun. Congrats on running your mile outside, thats a great start. I have heard (from a personal trainer friend) that any distance you can comfortable run on your own you can double for a race... something about the adrenaline and the "party on feet" type atmosphere keeps you going.
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