Why Can I Run Longer on a Treadmill Than Outside?

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Running on a treadmill is easier than running outside because the treadmill surface is soft, indoor climatic conditions are controlled, the belt assists your leg turnover.

Also, there are some biomechanical and physiological differences along with the condition of the air.

Individuals who can run for 30 to 40 minutes outdoors can run for an hour on the treadmill. If you are interested in understanding this difference, then keep reading.

You will get to know how running outdoors is completely different from running on a treadmill.

If you plan to run and are trying to decide which would be best for you, you are at the right place.

Check out the below information for clearing all your doubts about running on a treadmill and outdoors.

Why Running On A Treadmill Is Easier Than Running Outside?

For several reasons running on a treadmill is easier than running on the road. The number one reason is that treadmills are made to run and are equipped with all comfort options and the facility to reduce the impact on your joints.

You have a better calorie burn rate on a treadmill, making it easier to work out and shed more calories. It is evident when you compare your treadmill running speed with your outdoor running speed. You will observe that your leg turnover on a treadmill is significantly higher than what is clocked outside.

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When you compare the surfaces in question, outdoor running requires you to run on a harder surface than a treadmill. Soft tissue plays a major role here. It hardens significantly more than when you run on a treadmill.

As there is no proper cushioning when running outdoors, your soft tissue hardens more. It is not the case with the treadmill. As your feet touch a softer surface, the soft tissue on your soles doesn’t harden as much as it does outdoors.

Also, the air quality and weather are important factors to consider. When you’re running outdoors, you might encounter different weather conditions that vary in humidity, temperature, and wind direction, which significantly impact your performance.

For instance, a highly humid atmosphere slows you down, which tires you easily. Similarly, when you have to run against the wind, you need to exert greater force, and you get tired quickly due to the fiction you encounter while running against it.

On the other hand, such effects are negligible when you are running indoors on a treadmill. The climatic effect is of little consequence. This is one of the important reasons why you can run longer on a treadmill than outdoors.

While it is agreeable that running on a treadmill is easier, you can add a little challenge to simulate outdoor conditions by adding 1 to 2% of incline. This helps you exert the similar force you require while running outside, minus the adverse climatic conditions.

Biomechanical Differences Between Running On A Treadmill And Running Outside

While the differences discussed above are general, let us get more specific by checking out each criterion in detail. To know the fundamental difference between running on a treadmill and running outside when concerned with your body, you need to check out the below information.

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Stride Length

On a treadmill, you run on a moving belt that keeps ongoing, and you land in the same place as you try to run. This gets you habituated to a constant stride length which is not the case when you run outside as you lengthen and shorten the stride length based on where you’re going to land.

Also, treadmills do not have any obstacles like in the natural environment, where you need to balance yourself based on the terrain you face. You can control the challengingness or easiness by changing your stride length when on a treadmill.

Constant Pace

You can set a certain speed on a treadmill and maintain that constant speed to keep up with the running belt, otherwise resulting in falling from a treadmill. When running outdoors, you can vary the speed as you require based on the terrain.

You might encounter obstacles such as potholes or turns where you may need to slow down, and you can speed up where there is a plain surface. This sudden change and constant variation in speed are more stressful on your body.

Hamstrings vs. Quads

Our body moves differently when on a treadmill and when running outdoors. While running on a treadmill, you are forced to use quads and not hamstrings, whereas while running outside, you use both hamstrings and quads.

If you use hamstrings while running on a treadmill, you will move forward with the belt.

Is Running On A Treadmill Better Than Running Outside?

It is not correct to conclude that any one of them is better than the other form of running as each has different advantages. Based on the results you desire, you need to choose which one suits you better.

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If you are looking for a low-impact exercise that is safer for your joints, running on a treadmill is preferable. As the treadmill belt is designed to absorb shock and has a softer surface, your joints are much safer than outside running.

Another useful advantage of the treadmill is convenience. You can work out at any time regardless of the weather and light conditions.

Moreover, you can get a similar workout as you run outside but done much easier on a treadmill.

The benefits of running outside include excellent scenic views, fresh air, lots of vitamin D, and a more challenging workout.

The unexpected obstacles make the workouts seem lively and stimulating in comparison to the monotonous treadmill running.

The reason that you can run longer on a treadmill is simple. It is easier when compared with outdoor running. Some people enjoy running outdoors, and few people find the convenience of the treadmill more welcoming.

While both forms of running are beneficial for your health, you need to choose based on your personal preference. The only thing you need to keep in mind is to choose the method that makes you look forward to returning to the workout consistently.