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Is running on a treadmill easier than running outdoors?

A common discussion among runners and general fitness enthusiasts is whether it’s easier to run on a treadmill or outdoors. “Easier” is rather a vague term but for the purpose of this article let’s phrase it like this: “Which is perceived as easier – a 25 minute 5k on a treadmill or a 25 minute 5k on the road?”


A group of runners first ran at a self-selected pace on a track for a few minutes, then immediately got on a treadmill and were told to adjust the speed of the treadmill to what they thought was the pace they were running on the track – BUT – they were not allowed to see the pace on the treadmill.

After running for a few minutes on the treadmill, they went back to the track and were told to run the same speed again.

The runners were able to run the same pace on both occasions on the track.  However, their perceived speed on the treadmill was dramatically different.

The runners averaged about 6:50 pace on the track but when they adjusted the treadmill to what felt like the same pace it was actually two minutes per mile slower.


In can be inferred from the research that a 25 minute 5k on the treadmill will seem a harder than a 25 minute 5k on the road, therefore it may be beneficial to incorporate pace-matched treadmill running so that when it comes to running on the road, it seems easier. This could help to break through plateaus and improved PBs.


Unmatched perception of speed when running overground and on a treadmill.

Dan Sroda
Personal Trainer at Reach Personal Training
Dan Sroda is a Personal Trainer based in Birstall, serving Leeds and Bradford.

As the owner and lead trainer at Reach Personal Training, I am responsible for the philosophy of the business and overseeing client programmes.

My mission is for Reach Personal Training to be synonymous with a long-term, real-life approach to health and fitness. We help our clients to integrate health and fitness into their busy lives. We don't do fads. We don't do crash diets. We do "Fitness For Life".

I have a family. I’ve always worked (and not always in the fitness industry). I have housework and shopping to do. I have a REAL life. So I know what it takes to balance a real life with a sustainable approach to health and fitness.

If I can do it then anyone else can too. All you need is the desire to make eating healthily and keeping fit a priority in your life. An hour a day, thirty minutes a day, even fifteen minutes a day of exercise, supported with a healthy diet based on whole foods, is all it takes to make steady long-term progress towards looking and feeling fantastic.

I have a few simple values upon which I have built Reach Personal Training. Only personal trainers who share these values will be part of our team.

- Friendliness. Just be a genuinely nice person, it's dead simple and it's the best way to live. Smile as much as possible and try to see the best in every situation.

- No fads. No pseudoscience. My background in academia makes me question everything. There is so much nonsense in the fitness industry, mainly because some people are in it to make money so they'll believe anything and questioning it will mean they can't believe in the product. We are different. We do what works. We use science to create our programmes and we never put profit over effectiveness. You will NEVER find Herbalife or Forever Living in our studio!


The Reach Personal Training approach to health and fitness is no-nonsense but fun, friendly and motivating. We don’t do short-cuts or fad diets. Our FAT LOSS and BODY TONING training programmes are based on science and common-sense and they get long-lasting results.

If you hate the thought of drifting aimlessly from machine to machine around a commercial gym, with Jeremy Kyle on the TV, then get in touch today to enquire about our Private Personal Training & Group PT packages


Unit 9, Carr Mills, Business Park, 919 Bradford Rd, Birstall, Batley WF17 9JY