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Back to running a mile on the treadmill, but WHY, WHY, WHY can't I do it on the road?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Holidays! I have been doing a good job exercising over the last few days, and it has paid off! I went to the gym this afternoon and made it through a mile of running. I haven't done that in nearly four months, so I was quite pleased with myself. I have been walking to work and getting in some swims on the weekend, but this week was the first time trying to run again. On Monday, I made it through a mile by running a lap and walking a lap, which was disappointing, since I could run a mile without stopping at the end summer.

Yesterday, I tried to do the same thing in the park near my house, but it was a disaster! I ran for two minutes, felt like I was going to die, walked for a while, then tried it again. I was not able to get past three minutes on the road, and I felt like I was going to die each time I forced myself to run. Today, I went back to the gym, and I ran a mile and felt good, so I am now just confused....WHY IS IT EASIER TO RUN AT THE GYM THAN ON THE ROAD?

The last time I ran without the treadmill it was equally disastrous! It lead to me giving up on running. I was just so disappointed that I could do it on the treadmill, but not on the track. It seemed to defeat the entire purpose of pushing myself to run! So, what is going on here? If I can run for almost 15 minutes on the treadmill, then why can't I do it for more than three and actually get somewhere? I would like to run a 5K this spring, but more importantly, I would like to be able to run this silly mile outside before New Year's Eve.

Any runners out there who can explain why this is happening and how I can fix it? I would also like to lose five pounds before New Year's Eve, but that would require giving up holiday festivities, so the running goal seems like a better choice!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAURANCE 1/3/2014 7:08AM

  ....ooooh, and now I'm hearing the Beatles singing, "Why don't we do it in the road?"

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LAURANCE 12/27/2013 7:33PM

  I'd say the same things that other people here are saying. It's a whole different kind of running.

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KAYOTIC 12/26/2013 6:48PM

    It is harder to run outside than on a treadmill, and my guess is you are trying to go too fast outside. Try running slower than you think you want to, and see if you can run longer. Also, do you have a flat area to run outside? Any elevation gain (even if it doesn't look like much) is harder to run, maybe try going down hill and see if that is easier. And there is nothing wrong with doing a run/walk program until you can run longer between the walking.

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KELLIEBEAN 12/26/2013 3:24PM

    It is much more challenging to run outside. On a treadmill, you are indoors, on a level, cushioned surface, no wind to run against.

Outside, the pavement is unforgiving, not perfectly level and you have the wind pushing on you and against you.

Do not give up. Three years ago I went through the same thing you are going through now. I downloaded the Get Running app (there are many apps that do this same thing). For nine weeks, it directed me to alternate between running and walking, each week running longer than walking.

If you do not have a smartphone to load apps on, you can do it yourself. Set your sights on a fire hydrant or a tree or the next intersection and make yourself keep running to that goal, then walk a bit, then pick another goal to run to.

You can do this, it takes time. If I can do it, anyone can do it!



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CHICKPEA23 12/26/2013 11:11AM

    Hello! I'm a relatively new runner and noticed the same phenomenon. For me I think it had to do with my difficulty regulating my own pace. I appreciate having the treadmill keeping me at the same speed for whatever amount of time I choose.

My solution was to increase (in teeny tiny increments) the speed and distance I was doing on the treadmill, and then as the weather warmed up, go out for small, pre-planned-out distances that I then also increased incrementally. I think it's actually normal for this treadmill vs. outdoor running issue to happen, based on conversations I had with some friends who are more serious runners. Once I got comfortable with "wogging" - jogging/walking - outside, and kept up with my treadmill regimen, I enjoyed being outside a lot more! I also started using a heart rate monitor to make sure I was working hard enough on those outdoor runs to make a difference in my training.

I've run a couple 5Ks now and had a blast! I hope you stick to it and keep us all posted about how it's going for you.
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