Why Do I Run Slower On A Treadmill?

Running is one of the most popular aerobic exercises. Running on a treadmill is a great way to get in shape and stay healthy. You may have noticed that when you run on a treadmill, your pace seems slower than running outside or on the track.

The following are some of the most common causes:

  • Change in running style
  • Lack of variation in pace
  • Using the same muscles for the entire run
  • Poor calibration of treadmill
  • Mental aversion to a treadmill

Many People Believe Treadmill Running Is More Difficult

According to a quick internet search, many people believe that running on a treadmill is more difficult than running outside. People who own a treadmill swear by it and prefer running on one to running outside. There must be a reason why so many people believe it is more difficult.

It’s also backed up by records. The world records for an outdoor marathon is 2:02, whereas the world records for a treadmill running is 2:21. So, while science says it’s faster, evidence from people who’ve run the distance shows it’s not. As a result, we need to think about why it might be more challenging.

Reasons Why Treadmill Running Could Be Difficult

First and foremost, the heat; no matter what you do, jogging indoors is always uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter if you have a fan or not. Even if there is little wind, you feel cooler outside. Heat has a significant effect on your speed. Next, whether you’re afraid of slipping off or you’re too tall for the deck, a treadmill changes your stride length. It’s something you should consider.

The speed or distance calibration may be incorrect. Also, the measurements may not be as exact as they once were if you’ve had the treadmill for a long time or if it’s been used frequently. It’s weird since many runners need to set the speed they know they can maintain but find it too difficult to maintain. As a result, they appear to be running slower on a treadmill.

Change in Running Style

While your running form should be the same on the treadmill as it is outside, many runners run too far forward. As a result, changes occur in your stride length and movement pattern.

  • Tendency to keep yourself in the middle of the belt.
  • If your arms are striking the console, you’re leaning too far forward.
  • Maintain a tall posture by keeping your shoulders back. You might be hunching over if you’re looking down at a screen.                                                                                                                                                    
  • Consider your strides in terms of running cadence; you want to turn over quick.    

Lack of Variety in Your Pace

When you run outside, your pace will naturally fluctuate from mile to mile depending on whether you are running uphill or downhill, whether there is wind, or whether you are simply stopping to cross a path.

You’ll be running at a regular speed and exercising the same muscles the entire time you’re on the treadmill if you adjust the incline. Although we think it’s a terrific method to learn how to pace yourself, it can make the run feel tougher or slower if you’re used to only jogging outdoors.

  • Play around with the incline.
  • Keep in mind that a 1% incline is the most similar to outside running.
  • Try practicing “tempo runs” with gradual speed increases.

Treadmill Calibration

The process of adjusting a treadmill’s speed and elevation such that it accurately reflects outdoor running is known as treadmill calibration.

If you’re going to the gym, you won’t be able to do much about it, but treadmills must be calibrated.

We use a level to ensure the treadmill is level from side to side and front to rear when it is set at 0 incline. Sometimes, to get things right, you have to change the back legs. Your stride will change whether it is shifted to one side or another side. If the treadmill is still inclined up before adding inclination, the runs will be more difficult.

The vast majority of treadmills are preset to an incline between 0%  and 12%, which corresponds with rates from about 150 steps per minute (spm) up to 200 spm for most runners. This is because at higher speeds, your body must work harder to keep up with your pace.

Around 180 spm, or a 12% slope on the treadmill’s surface, is the most efficient rate for running. This puts you at roughly 60 steps per minute, which corresponds to 60-120 minutes per mile for outdoor running (mph). Measure the incline of your outdoor route to ensure that your treadmill is properly calibrated.

The speed calibration takes a little longer time. Overuse in an uncalibrated state can cause the treadmill to squeak. So, keep in mind to calibrate it correctly.

Mental Aversion to a Treadmill

Why would you expect to have a good run if you’ve begun calling it the treadmill? But, unfortunately, you’ve already taught your brain and body that you’re going to hate the workout before you even start.

Running is a very mental sport, and you must change your mindset towards the treadmill. It’s a fantastic tool to have, and you’re quite fortunate to have it. I know because I get a lot of emails from people asking me what the best treadmill to buy is all the time….so these are in high demand! Do something to assist you in modifying your mind around that training session.

There are a few other things that can help:

  • Can you design or do something at home to make the place more inviting?  
  • Just like triathletes name their costly bikes, give your treadmill a name.  
  • Have a show that you can only watch while you’re on the treadmill.  
  • Have a run nibble that you exclusively use for long treadmill sessions, never for outside runs. 

Why Running On a Treadmill Should Be Easier?

First and foremost, there’s the wonderful padded belt that cushions and propels every step. Outside, you can be running on hard concrete, and you don’t get any energy back. With a treadmill, you can set your speed, so you can be sure you’re going faster than you are outside.

The wind will not slow you down. That is why it is scientifically easier to run on a treadmill than it is outside. According to the study, the wind resistance on a treadmill causes you to expend less energy. To achieve the same “energetic cost,” they recommend increasing the gradient by 1%. As a result, a treadmill with a zero slope will make it easy for you.

Final Thoughts

The study says one thing, but people’s perceptions say something completely different. We prefer to believe in science because it appears to be more transparent.

The truth is that it’s far too popular to dismiss the treadmill as tedious and difficult. Forum, like any other article on the internet, explains why the treadmill is boring and slow. As a result, more research may be required before we can address this fascinating topic. Do you run at a slower pace on a treadmill?


Why do I run so much slower on a treadmills?

The speed of a treadmill belt is the same as you wish. If you run on it and then slow down to walk or entirely stop, the belt will continue to move while your foot remains in position for a period of time before drawing back after passing under the body part. This makes it appear as if you’re jogging at a slower rate on the treadmill since you’re not.

Is it bad to Run in socks?

Foot sores, corns, and other hygiene difficulties can be caused by wearing the wrong kind of socks. Some runners run in the wrong socks for years before realizing how much better their feet would feel if they wore the proper socks. Running socks come in a variety of styles and materials.

How effective is treadmill running compared to running outside?

Exercise, whether on a treadmill or outside, is one of the most effective strategies to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Treadmill running can be effective for cardio-related workouts. If you can run on a treadmill at the same pace as you do outside, you’ll get plenty of cardiovascular benefits, including calorie and fat burn. You will be able to run as fast as you would outside, with lighter feet and more relaxed calves.

By avoiding these thoughts and feelings, outdoor runners tend to run faster because they are not restricted by the height of a belt. So, if you want to increase your speed, I recommend running on an outside track or in the forests, where your feet will have more space to move around.

Do I have to wear shoes during running on a treadmill?

No, but wearing shoes will help to protect your and legs. One of the unique features of treadmills is that the surface heads towards you. This varies from outside running, in which your feet search for a surface and you propel yourself forward. Running barefoot on a treadmill is generally more stressful for the toes.

Can pilates helps to prevent injury and improve performance?

Pilates is a form of exercise that combines a sequence of physical motions with breathing exercises. It is similar to yoga in that it focuses on entire body training through slow, controlled movement. Pilates focuses on strengthening your core muscles and stretching your spine, which is the primary distinction between the two activities. Some exercises will work the same muscle areas, although they are less popular in this discipline. 

This is especially beneficial for persons with pre-existing ailments or injuries because these things provide a softer surface to work on and can even help people with weaker core muscles move more easily.

Pilates does not need weight lifting, so all you’ll need to get started is your own body weight.

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