I am readjusting my workout from biking to running to prepare for the CVS Downtown 5k in Providence, Rhode Island on September 16th.
I ran a 5k on the treadmill this morning and started to think…What’s the Difference Between Running on a Treadmill and Running Outside? An article on About.com says “Running on a treadmill feels somewhat easier physically because the ground is being pulled underneath your feet and there’s no wind resistance. Running outside demands more from your body because you’re propelling your body forward stride for stride. Many treadmills are padded, making them a good option if you’re overweight or are injury-prone (especially with knee issues) and want to decrease the impact. You can better simulate outdoor running by setting your treadmill at 1% incline.
Mentally, you may have a tougher time dealing with the monotony of the treadmill. (Here are some tricks for beating boredom on the treadmill.) It’s easier to distract yourself when running outside. The bottom line: If you’re training for a specific outdoor race, try to train outside as much as possible to get prepared for race conditions.” Runners World says that the treadmill is a great tool for speed work. Use the treadmill to help you run faster by speeding up the pace for short intervals and then slow it down for recovery intervals. This is a very convenient way to get in some speed work or tempo runs in a controlled setting.
In conclusion, every article I came across states the treadmill is a great tool but to truly train for a race, you have to run outdoors. I ran the treadmill 5k in 36:32 and I wasn’t very winded afterwards. Just gotta protect the knee though! 17+ years of supporting 500 pounds haven’t helped anything! Get the weight off while you can! GOOD LUCK!