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Treadmill vs. Outdoors
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Which is easier, treadmill or outdoors?
Treadmill
45%
 45%  [ 39 ]
Outdoors
54%
 54%  [ 46 ]
Total Votes : 85

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jwolf



Joined: 06 Jan 2004
Posts: 5263
Location: Sunny Vancouver

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
So you make muscular efforts to keep on the same spot but you are not propelling yourself forward. The effort you feel may be the moment you land on your foot, hold your weight, and not let your leg collapse.

No, that's not it. I can assure you, the effort is the effort from running.

Instead of a treadmill belt, imagine a long flat road that's moving backward. If you stand still, you'll move backward at the same pace that the road is moving. If you want to maintain your real position, you'll need to move your body forward (i.e., walk or run) at a pace that is equal to the moving road. If you close your eyes, you wouldn't know if you were actually moving forward or if you were maintaining your position vs. the movement below you.

I'm not sure if that makes it seem different to you, but it is easier to visualize for most people.

The other experiment to try: if you somehow accidentally lose power to the treadmill and it stops without you expecting it, you will find yourself propelled onto the front console. That might convince you that you're propelling your body forward. I know someone for which this actually happened-- it's really not somoething you want to happen.


Last edited by jwolf on Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:44 am; edited 2 times in total
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i_blokland



Joined: 31 Dec 2006
Posts: 452
Location: Alberta

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike7890 wrote:
Your physics are wrong.


Be careful... it's OK if you want to claim that treadmills have minor effects on running technique or psychology, but you are clearly out of your depth if you try to bring physics into this.

Respectfully,

An actual physicist
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jwolf



Joined: 06 Jan 2004
Posts: 5263
Location: Sunny Vancouver

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i_blokland wrote:
Respectfully,

An actual physicist
Smile Thanks, Ian.
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Mike7890



Joined: 20 May 2008
Posts: 126
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No. That's not a good example, jwolf.

Again, the road is coming towards you, so you're not propelling yourself - you're going at the same speed. You're staying with it.

Therefore, it's not the same effort. Do you get it?

Because: That's where the physics come in, you aren't pushing yourself forward, you are keeping up with the road.
If the road is immobile or mobile, pushing yourself will make you go faster than the speed of the road.
You may get similar exercise benefits due to the mix of concentric and eccentric muscular efforts involved and a motion similar to running, by doing this but you are not replicating propulsion.

And what's incorrect with this i_blokland?
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jwolf



Joined: 06 Jan 2004
Posts: 5263
Location: Sunny Vancouver

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike7890 wrote:
You may get similar exercise benefits due to the mix of concentric and eccentric muscular efforts involved and a motion similar to running...


If your muscles are doing the same thing, then it's the same thing .

Conversely, running in place, even at different "paces" (i.e., faster or slower foot-turnover) when you are clearly not propelling yourself forward, is not the same as running forward. It uses a different combination of muscles. You wil not get the same training effect from running in place. If what you were saying about the treadmill were true, then it would be the same as running in place.
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i_blokland



Joined: 31 Dec 2006
Posts: 452
Location: Alberta

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike7890 wrote:
And what's incorrect with this i_blokland?


Let's consider a completely different situation: flying an airplane. Because the Earth makes one rotation each day, the surface of the Earth is moving at about 1000 km/h from west to east (for southern Canada, more near the equator). If your treadmill explanation is correct, it would take very little fuel to fly from east to west: simply get the plane off the ground, hover, and let the Earth rotate underneath until you're over your destination. Of course the reality is that the plane is moving with the Earth the whole time and any difference between the plane's motion and the Earth's requires energy from the plane. Similarly, when you are on a treadmill, your default motion will be that of the treadmill unless you expend energy to move differently than the treadmill. Aside from some very minor differences in air resistance, the laws of physics guarantee that the energy needed to hold your place on a treadmill (moving backwards at a certain speed) is identical to the energy needed to run forward at that same speed on a stationary surface.
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Mike7890



Joined: 20 May 2008
Posts: 126
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But that's the point, they are not doing the same thing. I didn't say it was 100% identical

The belt is moving, you don't have to make efforts to propel your weight, only to keep yourself from falling.
Sure you get training benefits but you aren't working as hard as when you propell your weight yourself. You already have part of the work done by the treadmill. When you run outside your have to propell yourself and land on your feet. On the treadmill, you only try to move as fast as the belt without falling (that's the part with the most muscular efforts, but you do that too during outside running).

It's a no-brainer, I don't know why we're having this discussion?
Smile
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jwolf



Joined: 06 Jan 2004
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Location: Sunny Vancouver

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike7890 wrote:
but you aren't working as hard as when you propell your weight yourself. You already have part of the work done by the treadmill.


This is where you are wrong. The treadmill isn't doing any of the work for you. You ARE propelling your weight yourself.

Ian already explained why the physics of moving forward on the non-moving ground is essentially the same as staying in place vs. the reverse-moving treadmill. The physics is the same, therefore the work is the same (by definitiion).
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Mike7890



Joined: 20 May 2008
Posts: 126
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know how you can say that my treadmill expanation would imply that a plane would fly easily due to the earth's rotation: the plane is still subject to gravity, therefore has to overcome that attraction, continuously, it doesn't just slide over the Earth's surface because the latter is in motion.
Similarly for the runner on the treadmill.

He has to make more effort to move his own weight in the absence of the treadmill's belt moving (your example is incorrect because the spinning of the Earth does not affect the movement of the airplane, it's about the same as the plane being grounded, while the treadmill belt does affect the runner).

And even if the energy expenditure were the same, the runner is not using his muscles the same way: at equal pace, there's no propulsion.

I've been on a treadmill before, and it just felt like a constant effort to keep up, not like propelling myself forward.
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Mike7890



Joined: 20 May 2008
Posts: 126
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jwolf wrote:
This is where you are wrong. The treadmill isn't doing any of the work for you. You ARE propelling your weight yourself.

Ian already explained why the physics of moving forward on the non-moving ground is essentially the same as staying in place vs. the reverse-moving treadmill. The physics is the same, therefore the work is the same (by definitiion).



Well experience doesn't coincide with that theory. At least inasmuch as the muscles don't work the same way, were the expenditure the same.
But a 12 mph pace on a treadmill is easier to maintain than when I have to propell myself. At least that's how it felt.

I'm not sure I can buy that theory... ?
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i_blokland



Joined: 31 Dec 2006
Posts: 452
Location: Alberta

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, let's try a different approach (and work with my story a bit Razz). As a result of your running an easy sub-2 marathon on a treadmill, the Boston Athletic Association has decided to bring you to the Boston Marathon as an elite runner, all expenses paid. Since you don't fully trust aircraft, they send out a gorgeous tour bus to get you. As the bus glides at a constant speed across the highway, you get up to get a drink from the fridge at the back of the bus. Then you walk back to your seat near the front of the bus.

Question: Is it easier to walk towards the back of the bus or towards the front?

(this would make a great exam question for one of my freshman classes)
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Mike7890



Joined: 20 May 2008
Posts: 126
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure. Outside of any other factors interfering, once you are in motion, it may not make any difference.

But I've read that even illustrious coach Jack Daniels maintains that outdoor, track running can cost much more in energetic expenditure for the athlete than on a treadmill. And he makes it clear that it's not only a matter of wind resistance.

I've read figures of up to 9% in terms of increased energy consumption.

Every thing I've read says that the belt pulling your leg behind makes the work much easier.

And that really does conform with experience! Razz

Maybe you could take up the matter with them! Wink

I have to go to bed now, it's really late, but it's an interesting subject!
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FishHog



Joined: 28 Nov 2005
Posts: 5011
Location: Mooretown, Ontario

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I don't find much if any difference, other than the impact is less on a TM and TM are more boring.

And for the record, you defintely are propelling yourself forward. I know this for a fact, since my old TM had an auto shutoff at 90minutes. I found this out the first time I ran over 90min on it, and it shut off suddenly. Now if I wasn't propelling myself forward, that wouldn't have been a big deal. Unfortunatley I apparently was propelling myself forward, much to the amusmant of my wife. In the end, it was funny, but it had potential to really hurt.

FishHog
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moiettoi



Joined: 01 Jul 2003
Posts: 464

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find it harder on the treadmill. I particularly find it hard to run on a small narrow surface. I guess I wander when I run outside and find I loose my balance too much on the treadmill and have to pay attention too much on where my feet fall. I also change my pace a lot outside without knowing it and find it hard to not be able just to slow down for a few meters on the treadmill. I know I can adjust the pace but I just want to go and run and not have to worry about that stuff.
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veggierunner



Joined: 19 Jan 2007
Posts: 262

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I find the treadmill much more challenging in terms of keeping myself interested and motivated. As far as which is physically more challenging, I think that road running tougher. I pulled this off of Runner's World Ask Coach Jenny:

Quote:
Be prepared, you may find that the transition to outdoor running is quite challenging. Heart rates, breathing or perceived effort levels may feel harder outdoors then at the same pace as on a treadmill. This is because there are several biomechanical differences when you run on a treadmill versus the road.

You have to run against wind resistance and the elements (hot and cold) which requires more energy to run at the same speed as on a treadmill.
Stride for stride, running on the roads requires more energy expenditure to move your body forward. On a treadmill, you are keeping up with the tread as it moves under your feet.
The smooth, flat surface of a treadmill is very predictable. Running on the roads trains your neuromuscular system to run on unpredictable terrain like hills, banked surfaces, trails and uneven surfaces.


http://askcoachjenny.runnersworld.com/2007/06/post...
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