Can treadmill running hurt your speed?

treadmill vs. road running / a thousand threads
One-Mile Pace: 7:50
Long Run: 4 Miles
Weekly Mileage: 9 Miles

So we’re definitely still recovering, and taking it slowly as a result, but remember what I said about resting to run better? Well I might have some proof, because this week, on my 4 mile run, I broke my mile record! I was able to push the pace up by at least 10 seconds, and maybe even a little more since I took it down to 7:40 at the end.

But (ever the over-analyzer) as my pace begins to improve, I’m starting to worry about the amount of running we’ve been doing on the treadmill.

Usually this wouldn’t be a problem — since in my mind, there really is nothing worse than the ‘mill. But lately my hatred of the cold has managed to edge out my hatred of the hamster wheel enough to force me to suck it up and hop on board.

The truth is, for speedwork and tempo runs the treadmill can be great, since it’s so easy to keep an even tempo and push the pace. The problem is that at least a small part of that ease comes from the flat surface, lack of wind resistance, and help from the belt (it pulls your feet along at least a little).

Now that the weather has warmed up and I’m dying to be outside, but I can’t help but feel that it’s a little harder to keep up with the same faster pace I’ve been able to churn out at the gym.

I’m torn here. Some folks have trained for whole marathons using a treadmill, but it might be the case that they’re adjusting their incline to make up for a lack of other pressures (and I’ve been taking a little too much advantage of the break). Race times are almost always directly related to the way you train, so what do you think? Can the treadmill hurt your speed?

Either way, I think I’ll avoid the rat race for a bit… the sun is calling my name. Who could stay indoors?


  1. Posted April 8, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Serious props for breaking your mile record–that’s amazing! John always found that training with someone in the last few weeks before a race really helped keep us his pace and prepare him mentally for the distractions–maybe rustle up a running buddy (and a pair of earmuffs)?

  2. Posted April 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    don’t worry too much about t-mill running. i’ve always trained mostly on a t-mills and my race times have always been reflective of my training pace. so, wait until the weather gets better to incorporate the outdoor running 🙂 you are doing awesome!!!

    • Laicie
      Posted April 9, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Oh that’s awesome to hear! The weather is finally better so I don’t have to worry as much, but it’s good to hear that if I need to I can fall back on the ‘mill on a rainy day and not worry.

  3. Posted April 9, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I’m impressed– I can’t run on a treadmill for more than 3 miles. I find it harder! I think it is because I get so bored. I have been running outside lately and it has been beautiful. I ran along the Potomac for my 11 miles on Saturday and LOVED it!

    • Laicie
      Posted April 9, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Oh my gosh you rock! Good job on your 11 miles! The weather has been SO beautiful – finally! Perfect running weather. 🙂

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