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Why does my body respond differently when I run on a treadmill as to when I run outside?

My THR should be 148 bpm fine. When I run outside my HR jumps to 178+ BUT at the Gym on the Treadmill it rarely gets above 155! I’m just wondering why there is such a difference. Any ideas??

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9 Responses to “Why does my body respond differently when I run on a treadmill as to when I run outside?”

  1. Taffi said :

    When you run on a treadmill, it’s doing part of the work for you. When you run outside, you’re doing all the work yourself.

  2. Sam N said :

    Maybe because when your running on a treadmill your running on a flat surface that never changes when you run outside the surfaces are different and the gradiant is always changing this makes it harder!


  3. Jack Hoff said :

    Your body may react differently because of the environment. When you’re outside you’re passing different locations, seeing different things and also heading towards a destination.

    When you’re on a treadmill you’re always stuck in one place with nowhere to go and you’re forced to look around the same area. This could mean that you get more stressed out or uneasy, bored etc

    On a treadmill you might not be given enough things to distract you from the tiredness of your body, so your brain will focus on other things, or maybe even just the pain.

    Different feelings and moods can be created from this and therefore make changes in your body.

  4. themonkeyjuggles said :

    Quite simple really.
    When you run on a treadmill your muscles work to propel you upwards so that you stay above the running surface.
    When you run outside your muscles work to propel you upwards and forwards at the same time. So instead of just bouncing up and down, you have to thrust the weight of your body forwards. This uses more energy which in turn increases your heart rate.

  5. john d said :

    There is a BIG difference from running outside to running on a treadmill. On a treadmill, you are basically running in place with no forward motion. So you dont push yourself forward compared to running outside. You push forward to move your body from point A to point B. As for a treadmill, they are doing the forward motion for you so all you have to do is jump up and down.

  6. AZNYC said :

    I have the same experience. I think I’m a great runner based on the treadmill, but when I go outside I’m slow and have little endurance. Treadmill is just easier–I’m not sure why. When I run on the treadmill I always try to use some incline (at least 1) to approximate the difficulty of actual conditions. Many people set the incline on 0, which is very easy.

  7. Richard W said :

    You people and your treadmills….they do wonders at ruining your running form and crystallizing bad habits. When you run on treadmill, you don’t utilize your hip flexors to propel yourself forwards because the machine’s doing it for you. When this translates outdoors, you will run with a stiff and awkward gait because you got used to something driving you forward. My advice is ditch the treadmills and do some real running. It’s the only way you’ll get better at actual running on hard ground.

  8. Biedronka said :

    You have no moving surface outside – treadmill is continuously moving. Also, landscape changes outside. I like to run once or twice a week on treadmill (for tempo-training and to avoid laziness) and get long millage into my legs – 10KM+ outside 3 or 4 times a week. Training outside is of course the best and the cheapest.

  9. Alice said :

    Running on a treadmill feels somewhat easier physically because the ground is being pulled underneath your feet and there’s no wind resistance. Running outdoor demands more from your body because you’re propelling your body forward stride for stride. Many treadmills are padded, making them a good option if you’re overweight or are injury-prone (especially with knee issues) and want to decrease the impact. You can better simulate outdoor running by setting your treadmill at 1% incline.

    Mentally, you may have a tougher time dealing with the monotony of the treadmill. It’s easier to distract yourself when running outside. The bottom line: If you’re training for a specific outdoor race, try to train outside as much as possible to get prepared for race conditions.

    I reckon it’s the environment and also because your running on the same treadmill, and only running in one direction.


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