Treadmill running v road running Watch
Anyway my mate has convinced me to sign up for a 10K with him in December, it will be my first 10K since September last year. Due to the race obviously being on the roads I am thinking that I need to start running on the roads again to get myself ready. I have done a few road runs (about 4 in the last 2 months) but these have only been a maximum of 20 minutes long whereas on the treadmill I am managing to run for 45 minutes. Should I continue to run on the roads for about 20 minutes at a time and will it get me ready for the 10K?
1. Studies have show that for most people, the biomechanics of running on a treadmill are very similar to those of running on a road, although people tend to take slightly shorter strides on a treadmill.
2. One difference which may make a treadmill feel easier is the lack of wind resistance. However studies have shown that this is negligible for endurance running unless you are a reasonably quick runner. 1 degree incline is probably “equivalent” to running outdoors on flat surface at 12km/h, ie finishing a 10k in 50 mins.(Going from memory here. You can find tables on the internet which will show the incline required for various running speeds)
3. Although running on a treadmill is “equivalent” to running outdoors, you are repeating exactly the same movements all the time whereas outdoors running is likely to give some slight variations which will bring other muscles into use. However I’ve been told that you don’t need a lot of outdoors running to improve these muscles - 15% of your running volume should be enough. (However I have prepared for a marathon where 97% of my training was on a treadmill, with no problems.)
4. Most treadmills don’t allow a negative incline. If your race included significant hills, you’d probably want try and get some hill training for the eccentric muscle contractions that occur in downhill running.
5. Treadmills are often not very accurately calibrated so you might think that you are running a bit faster (or slower) than you really are which can lead to the perception that treadmill running is easier (or more difficult!)
In short, I think you can continue to do the majority of your training on a treadmill but some outdoor running would be beneficial.
This is just from my own experience and reading. I’m definitely not a coach and am a mediocre runner.