Why Do I Run Slower On A Treadmill?

As compared to running in the wilderness, walking on a treadmill feels a lot different. When you’re running outside, there are continuous changes in landscapes and you are running on different paths especially if you’re opting for a hiking track.

When you’re running outdoors, there is usually a cool breeze and wind going around to keep you slow and steady. But many runners say that when they run on treadmills, they run slow. Is that really true? Let’s find out.

For the longest time, we truly enjoyed treadmill running. We absolutely love treadmills because they are compact and can be kept at home so you can continue your fitness regime without having to step out of the house. This is excellent equipment for 100s of reasons. We can literally go on and on about the advantages of treadmills but here, let’s just address your simple question, “why do I run slower on a treadmill?”.

Following are some of the most important reasons why you might be running slower on a treadmill,

  • Change in your running style
  • Making use of the same muscles when running
  • No variation in pace
  • Incorrect treadmill calibration
  • Emotional disconnection from the treadmill

Why do I run slower on a treadmill?

If you just do a random search on the internet, you will see how so many people come and complain that running treadmills is harder than what they thought. However, people who own treadmills recommend running on the equipment over outdoor runs for various reasons. But, we also cannot neglect the fact that people still complain running on the treadmill is harder and that is what we are here to address.

In fact, there is also a world record for this. For an instance, the world record for an outdoor marathon is 2:02 whereas the world record for running on a treadmill is 2:21. So, even though science suggests otherwise. People who run frequently on treadmills have a different account to give. So, we have to consider all the consequences that affect the running of any fitness enthusiast.

Reasons affecting your treadmill running!

The very first thing that affects your run on the treadmill is heat. Regardless of how good the temperature is indoors, running on a treadmill inside the house causes a lot of heat which makes it difficult for the runner.

Even if there is no wind outside, you still feel cooler when you run. So basically, the heat has the most potential to slow you down and it does.

Next, doesn’t matter how tall you’re, when you’re running on a treadmill, you’re afraid of slipping which evidently affects your stride. It might be because the distance calibration and speed are wrong. Also, over the years, the readings on the treadmill also become faulty so you have to get it repaired.

So, as a runner, it is important for you to set the pace right. It’s very common for runners to set calibration and then not be able to maintain their run according to the speed settings. This is why they usually run slower and we suggest when you’re selecting a speed, make sure you’re able to maintain your pace.

Ways to Improve Your Treadmill Performance

Treadmill workouts are a great way to improve your fitness level and lose weight, but only if you do them correctly. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your treadmill workout:

1. Set the incline

Most treadmills have an adjustable incline, which allows you to simulate walking or running uphill. This can help you burn more calories and build more muscle.

2. Increase the speed gradually

You shouldn’t try to run as fast as you can from the start. Instead, gradually increase the speed over the course of your workout. This will help you avoid injuries and get your heart rate up without overexerting yourself.

3. Interval training

Alternating between periods of high and low intensity is a great way to improve your fitness level and burn more calories. For example, you could walk at a moderate pace for two minutes, then jog for one minute, and repeat this pattern for the duration of your workout.

4. Use the handrails

If you need to, hold on to the handrails for balance. But don’t lean on them too much, as this will take away from the workout.

5. Cool down

Once you’re done with your workout, cool down by walking at a slower pace for a few minutes. This will help your body recover and prevent injuries.

Tips for staying motivated to run on a treadmill?

It can be tough to stay motivated when running on a treadmill, especially if you’re used to running outdoors. Here are a few tips that may help:

Find a challenging workout: If you’re doing the same easy treadmill workout day after day, it’s no wonder you’re getting bored. Find a more challenging workout that will make you push yourself.

Add some variety: If you’re running on a treadmill, try adding in some hills or intervals to mix things up. You can also try running backward or sideways to change things up.

Think about your goals: Why did you start running in the first place? What are your goals? Reminding yourself of your goals can help you stay motivated to keep running, even on a treadmill.

Make it fun: Try listening to music or watching TV while you run. Or, bring a friend along and chat while you jog. Making treadmill running more enjoyable will help you stay motivated.

Road pace vs Treadmill pace

When you’re running on the road, your pace automatically starts varying depending on the trail you’re running on whether it is downhill or uphill. The wind that is blowing also keeps you cool so it makes working out a whole lot easier.

So, when you’re running on the treadmill, you need to adjust your incline so that when you’re running, you’re able to maintain a steady pace. Trust us when we say, if you figure out the correct way to calibrate your incline, you will be able to run smoothly without affecting your speed.

Here is what you can do to adjust your pace,

  • Adjust your incline
  • Keep in mind that an incline of 1% matches exactly to outdoor running
  • You can also try temp runs by increasing your pace gradually

Treadmill calibration

If you are going to a gym, then this might not be a viable option for you but you need to bear in mind that treadmills need to be calibrated.

When a treadmill maintains 0 incline, we use a certain level to make sure the platform is even from side to side and front to back. You sometimes even have to change the back legs to keep your platform steady. If the legs are changes from side to side, you will have trouble running. The run will be even more difficult if the platform has been tilted up before you add the incline.

Why it should be easy to run on a treadmill?

The very first reason why running on the treadmill should be easier is because of the smooth platform belt you work out on. When you’re running outdoors, you constantly have to vary your footstep because you have no idea when you end up hitting a rock as the surface is constantly changing. You need to be more mindful about your next step which isn’t the case with a treadmill.

You will also not be interrupted or slowed down by the wind. Though the heat will add to your exertion a fan and open windows can take care of that. There is no wind resistance which means you will be consuming less energy.


Bottom line:

The facts stated by science say one thing but as far as we have gone, everyone’s experience states a different story.

On a whole, running on a treadmill should be easier but if it’s slowing you down, there are possible reasons for it, all of which we have mentioned above. You just need to calibrate your pace according to the level of speed you can maintain.

So, this is everything we had on why do I run slower on a treadmill. We hope we have answered all your questions.

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