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Treadmill vs. Track - opinions?

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  • Treadmill vs. Track - opinions?

    Curious as to what people think of the two. Because the weather has been crappy around here I've been regulated to running on a treadmill. I ran the 1/8th track at my local gym and had some problems in the legs. I think due to unevenness, and the severity of the turns were hindering me. Anyways, I'm going this weekend to run outdoors on the 1/4 track and was wondering what everyone thought of the differences in the two in their experiences.

  • #2
    +1

    I'm glad someone brought this up. I too is curious. For some reason, I run better on a treadmill than concerte. I dont want to develope a habit of running on treadmill, and fracture my ankles running track at the academy.
    WadsonF 10-4's the above statement.

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    • #3
      There are a few reasons that running on a treadmill is easier than running on a track (outside or inside).

      Probably the biggest reason is with a treadmill your legs aren't pushing you near as much. The first 2 parts of the stride are the same either way, you pick your foot up and move it forward. The difference though is in the 3rd part. On a treadmill your foot is moved back and your body stays stationary, where as on a track (or on a road, whatever) your foot stays stationary and your leg pushes your body forward.

      Also if you're running outside you have the weather that takes whatever effect on your body, and also the gradual ( very gradual where I am) slopes.

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      • #4
        Running on a treadmill is obviously better than nothing, however, I recommend running outside whether it be through a neighborhood or on a track.

        Everyone always runs better (further, longer) on a treadmill but running outside will really give you a good idea of how well you really do.
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        • #5
          Running on a treadmill is a suitable substitute, if nothing better is available. The stressors are different on a treadmill then when running for real. StudChris hit the nail on the head with his post. To expand a bit further, the treadmill also provides a cushioned surface that "gives" as your running further reducing the stress on your legs.

          Many people notice a definate drop off in speed when they transition from treadmill work to road (or track) work. I always recommend taking a couple weeks of slower base miles on the road/track to build up your tendons, ligaments and joints if you've been running on a treadmill for any length of time. The good news is your speed and times will recover rapidly since your already in decent running shape from the treadmill workouts.
          Originally posted by kontemplerande
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          • #6
            Personally, I much prefer running outside. I feel that I deffinatly get a better workout when I run outside (I run on the road). I enjoy being able to run different routes and look around outside instead of being stationary in a gym staring at whatever is in front of me. I do think that running on a treadmill has its advantages too. I find that when I run outside my initial pace is always quicker than the pace I finish at. So occasionally I run on a treadmill so that I maintain a steady pace through out the entire run ( I usually run a mile or so further on a treadmill though). I've found that this really helps me maintain a steady pace for my entire run when running outside.
            Last edited by willeck; 04-21-2007, 02:37 PM.

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            • #7
              I run on the road. I have tried running on treadmills before but I always cramp up not too mention the shin splints. I guess it is just a different style of running.
              It's a CERT thing. You wouldn't understand.

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              • #8
                Based on 2 friend's experiences, I say running outside is far superior and a more true test of running ability.
                experience #1- A friend of mine runs 2-3 times a week on the treadmill for about 30 minutes (and has done this for almost a year). He went to run outside with me and did not last but 1/3 of a mile. I mean, he just gave up and walked. I did not have an extremely fast pace and was only planning to run 1 mile, so to me, it showed that his true running ability was not worth much.
                experience #2- Another friend was training to run for a certain group at work, one of the requirements was to run 1 mile in 8min, 30 sec (very average if you ask me). He ran on treadmill for distance, for time, intervals, etc to train for this, but when it came time to run for the test, he almost died. He said that his strides were shorter b/c of the limits of the treadmill and his stabilizer muscles to negotiate uneven ground were not developed. He did make the time, but said it was very very difficult.
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                • #9
                  Oh and I didn't really answer this part, but I also prefer running outside. I am NOT a good runner at all, but I have found that when I start getting tired (after a whole mile or so.... believe it or not I'm in good shape... just not the running part) I start to kind of just focus on how much it sucks and get a little bit of tunnel vision. I have also found that if I'm outside, if I can break that I get some extra energy and get back to positive self talk... and I can usually break it by just looking around.

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                  • #10
                    I prefer to run on a track.

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                    • #11
                      To be honest I prefer to run on dirt trails, but out of the options I will go with the track because the treadmill is just way to boring and redundant to me. I've got a short attention span, so 400m to play with works much better. You can do more workouts, and intervals on tracks too rather than indoors. Also the weather doesn't matter too much (to me personally) because the worse the conditions, the better training you're getting!
                      --"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift."
                      --"Run XC"

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                      • #12
                        I started to use a 1% incline on my treadmill runs. I've heard that it helps to compensate for the lack of pushing your legs would do on a track. But it's still not as good.

                        I do like treadmills. It's good on your body. And cadio is cardio. Plus convenience.

                        Running outside is nice, the scenery and you can run with other people.

                        It all depends on how much you run and what your training for, and of course your climate. I have to run inside all winter. So I'm treadmill conditioned.
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                        • #13
                          Deleted by me.
                          Last edited by Melinda in TN; 04-25-2007, 05:47 PM.
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                          • #14
                            I hear most people say that running on a treadmill is easier for them, but I run much better on a track. I wonder if it isn't that my speed isn't that consistent, and the treadmill is pretty unforgiving in that area.

                            But, when it is raining or too cold, a treadmill is about the only way to go unless you are Ironman.

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                            • #15
                              I like running on a treadmill, but I find that the running on a track helps me prepare better.

                              The main reason I like the treadmill better is that the testing is never done on a treadmill, always on a track. So it's a different environment to me, doesn't have the negative connotation of the testing process.

                              Mainly though, I've never been a runner - it is NOT something I enjoy. The track I run on, one corner is near a river, so that occupies my attention for half of my laps.

                              Like someone said, cardio is cardio. If it works for you, keep doing it! And if you are fortunate enough to actually LIKE doing it - I salute you!
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