Running On The Treadmill Or Outside? What Is Better”? Where Are The Differences?

If you like to organize your running training flexibly and want to train in foul weather, you usually supplement your practice with a treadmill.

 But what are the differences here, and which exercise is more effective? 

The following comparison clarifies the most critical questions in this area.

There is a big difference when comparing running training outdoors with an underground treadmill.

 The road has many surfaces ready for the runner. From a hard road to a slippery gravel path, uneven forest floors, and soft grass, the body adapts accordingly. 

This leads to a higher coordinative and muscular strain and higher calorie consumption (whereby you can increase your calorie consumption significantly) by setting the speed on a treadmill you can also increase your calorie consumption significantly). 

Of course, every surface also has different damping properties that must be considered.

 After all, gravel paths or roads are much harder than a treadmill. High-quality treadmills have optimal cushioning.


Product Name

Speed (Max.)

Weight Capacity



11 MPH

325 lbs

84″ x 35.5″ x 58″

10 MPH

300 lbs

73"  x 36"  x 54"

12 MPH

386 lbs

84″ x 35.5″ x 58″

12 MPH

400 Lbs

84.5" x 38.5" x 54.7" 

12 MPH

309 lbs

78.8" x 39.2" x 63"

16 MPH

420 LB

83" x 35" x 62" 

When training on the treadmill, the muscles are stressed entirely differently by the lack of air resistance, as is the case when running outdoors.

 This also affects the running technique. 

The active hip extension and footprint behind our body are not as pronounced as if the body has to work against air resistance. 

This affects the stride length, which becomes shorter, and the upper body remains upright.

 Because of the incline setting on the treadmill, I stressed the muscles in the calves more.

Do I need different running shoes?

Since treadmills are already equipped with excellent cushioning, you should not use classic running shoes because the cushioning is usually too pronounced. So-called lightweight trainers with low detonation are ideal here. 

You can also use old running shoes that are no longer well insulated. Many also swear by running on the treadmill in stocking socks, which is only possible if you train on your treadmill.

 For outdoor training, it should, in turn, be well-cushioned running shoes that can cope with the different requirements. 

For beginners, it is advisable to conduct a running analysis at a local specialist retailer to determine which running technique is available and which shoes do it best.

Differences due to air resistance

There is also a big difference for air resistance because, of course, this does not apply to treadmill training

When running outdoors, it gets bigger the faster you run. 

Studies can confirm that at an outdoor speed of 8 km / h, it increased the energy consumption by 5 percent and at 14 km / h by 10 percent.

 We can achieve a similar effect on a treadmill with a 1 percent incline. A running speed of 15 km / h is equivalent to a gradient of 2 percent.

Differences in calorie consumption

The calorie consumption during running training outdoors is much higher than on the treadmill. 

On the one hand, this is due to air resistance and other external stimuli as cold, air humidity and heat. 

I can adjust the calorie consumption on the treadmill according to adapted training in the way of higher intensity or more extended units.

Probability of adhering to the training plan

If, besides the classic running training outdoors, there is still the possibility to use a treadmill, this has many advantages. 

This means that we can follow the training plan even in foul weather because it is easy to continue training on the treadmill.

Pros and cons of treadmill training


Someone can carry out regardless  Training of the weather
 The risk of injury is lower
 Flexible design options for exercise when incline can be varied
 controlled and constant adherence to speed


 High acquisition costs
 increased space requirements
 Monotony in training
 Living room or studio lights do not stimulate vitamin D production and other feel-good hormones
 different rolling and impression behaviour

Pros and cons of running practice outdoors


 enjoy the nature
 no high acquisition costs, high-quality running shoes and functional underwear are sufficient
 Diverse stress, muscles and coordination are not only trained on one side
you can complete your training in running groups


 increased risk of injury
 Training depending on the weather (rain, snow, cold, heat)

If you want to buy a new treadmill, you are spoiled for choice with the many models. To facilitate the search for a suitable device.

Leave a Comment