Maintaining your training when schedules and weather won’t cooperate is often a challenge. In these times of need, many runners turn to the treadmill. But is running on the treadmill as effective as running outdoors, especially when you’re training for a race? Runner’s World gave us some insight on this frequently asked question.
Treadmill running and road running are not quite the same. Running on the treadmill is easier than running outdoors, for a variety of reasons. One reason is that the treadmill belt assists leg turnover, making it easier to run faster. So most runners find that their pace on the treadmill doesn’t correlate to their road pace. Also, some of the soft tissue conditioning or “hardening” that occurs with road running does not occur with treadmill running because the plate or base on the treadmill “gives” more than road surfaces. And, obviously there are no weather conditions to deal with when running indoors.
However, the treadmill can be a great training tool. Because treadmill running is easier, use it 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.