The downside to treadmill running has always been that it can be quite boring. Depending on the setup and the ground surface, it can also be less absorbent than pavement.
On the other hand, there are a number of advantages including the fact that you can avoid wind resistance, and cold temperatures and allow the machine to maintain your pace for you which is almost like running with a partner.
Is treadmill running harder or easier than outdoor running? The science offers some mixed evidence but a treadmill can help you conveniently add elevation to simulate hills. Placing elevation at level 1 comes close to the resistance of road feel.
You can also use it effectively for speed training and many runners who train at a certain pace on a treadmill find their actual race pace may be faster.
Check out this great article originally published in Runners World on Treadmill running
Is Running on a Treadmill Harder or Easier Than Running Outside?
New research debunks some persistent ’mill myths.
Runner’s World Hailey Middlebrook
At some point, whether because of bad conditions or time restraints, we’ve all had to substitute miles on the treadmill in for our normal outdoor routes.
While there are plenty of differences between running on the belt versus the real road, to make indoor and outdoor efforts comparable, runners have traditionally practiced the “1 percent” rule: If you crank up the treadmill incline to a 1 percent grade, it will mirror the natural elevation of a flat road.
But is this minor change in incline really necessary to get an optimal treadmill workout? And how much does running inside really compare to running outdoors?