Treadmill vs. The Real World …

I recently had a question from one of our community, thanks Zoe;

“Afternoon all, question from a gym bunny to you outdoor warriors.. everyday I do a 5k fast walk on the gym treadmill today I walked home from work also 5k it was about 15 mins quicker but the calorie burn was the same amount… is there a benefit to doing one over the other fitness wise?”

I thought I’d just take two minutes to give my view.

There are many ways to approach this question, however I am going to make an assumption.  In both treadmill and road the 5km is 5km!



Treadmills have a time and a place. If where you live is not safe or hospitable enough to train then use one. If you’re training to improve your speed or specific running goal then they can also be a great tool because they are very specific. Indeed if you also have an injury you may want to use a treadmill because the surface is very cushioned and consistent. Put in 10km per hour that is what you get. However … that is what you get!

Apologies for repeating myself but by being specific treadmills are also limiting when used on a long term basis without the context of actual outdoor real world running.

Running Outside

Running outside preferably away from roads, cars, fumes and the general hub bub of life is the best … ever. Funnily enough I don’t currently offer a specific “Running Session” maybe I should!

When you’re outside your body gains a whole host of health benefits and it is widely accepted that outdoor exercise is preferential generally, to being cooped up!

Anyways the difference, I think, in completing 5km is likely to be that for a steady state distance you’ll set a pace well within your capabilities.

If I’m popping out for 5km I always, always run the second half faster. whether that’s because I’m warmed up more thoroughly or my body gets in its groove I don’t know! I always lambaste myself for not pushing harder in the first half but I always complete the second half faster. That is tougher to do on a treadmill.

On a treadmill you’re watching the distance change by 0.01 of a km and it feels slow and demotivating. Outside you’re over half way home and flying! You’re nearing the finish and your whole being is focused on getting through as quickly as possible.

That’s how I quite believe you could have a significant difference between a treadmill and a real world run.

Anyways all anecdotal but my thought none the less! Let me know what you think?

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  1. Looks good. Will have a go especially if I get any sweet potatoes from plant in garden.

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