Why Do I Run Slower on a Treadmill?

Running on a treadmill is an excellent method to be fit and healthy. I’m trying to figure out why should I run slower on a treadmill and I guess so are you!

I feel like, many people assume that running on a treadmill is more difficult than running outdoors.

If you run regularly outside, the treadmill feels very different.

Outside, there are numerous terrain variations, and virtually every footfall is unique, especially if you run on trails.

Owners of treadmills swear by them and prefer to run on them to running outside..

But so are the difficulties, let’s discuss them and find solutions for better health and fitness.

Why is treadmill running difficult, and why do you run slowly on a treadmill?

Running on a treadmill is an excellent method to be hale and hearty.

You may have observed that running on a treadmill appears to reduce your pace compared to running outside or on a track.

Whatever you do, jogging indoors is always unpleasant.

It makes no difference whether you have a fan or not. Even with the minimal breeze, the outdoors feels chilly. Your speed is significantly affected by heat.

Following that, whether you’re worried about falling off or are too tall for the deck, a treadmill alters the length of your stride. This is something to consider.

According to several researches, you burn fewer calories on a treadmill due to the very less wind resistance as compared outside.

They recommend increasing the inclination by 1% to maintain the same “energetic cost.”

Thus, a treadmill set to zero incline makes it easier.

Factors Contributing to Running Slower on a Treadmill

Here are several beliefs about why running on the treadmill feels more difficult than running outside.

Why Do I Run Slower on a Treadmill?

Variation In the Ability to Run

Running on a treadmill is comparable to performing a balancing act. You could be sprinting at a high rate of speed on a small deck.

One may not be running as naturally as you are when you are outdoors.

You can lack the confidence to stretch yourself and may not feel as liberated.

All of this could result in a decline in your running form. It may be a small adjustment, but it makes a difference.

Running on a moving belt is unlike running on pavement, where your stride naturally shortens and lengthens at varying intervals based on your speed and the condition of the ground.

If you’re unknowingly shortening or lengthening your stride on the treadmill, this could explain why you feel as if you’re working more to maintain the same pace as outside.

Your stride length and movement pattern alter.

The tendency to maintain a position in the center of the belt also matters. If your arms come into contact with the console, you’re leaning forward too far.

By holding your shoulders back, you may maintain a tall stance. If you’re hunching over a screen, you may be hunching over.

Consider the cadence of your strides in terms of running; you want to turn quickly.

Factors Contributing to Running Slower on a Treadmill

Calibration of a treadmill

It is possible that the calibration of the speed or distance is incorrect.

The vast majority of treadmills are programmed to have an incline between 0 percent and 12 percent.

This corresponds to walking rates ranging from approximately 150 steps per minute to 200 steps per minute for most people who run.

This is due to the fact that when traveling at higher speeds, your body must work more in order to keep up with your speed.

In the case of a gym, there is little you can do, but treadmills must be calibrated before they can function properly.

The calibration of the speed takes a little longer time to complete.

It’s weird since many runners are required to select a speed, they are confident they can maintain, yet many find it difficult to do so.

As a result, they perceive themselves to be moving more slowly when running on a treadmill.

The treadmill may squeak if it is used excessively or in an uncalibrated state. To avoid this, remember to calibrate it appropriately.

Running muscles

When running outside, you must actively push yourself ahead with the rear of your legs, whereas on a treadmill, the belt pulls you forward.

Due to the manner in which the treadmill belt pulls you forward, you employ fewer hamstring muscles.

Instead, your quads perform the majority of the legwork, which means you’re exercising them a little harder than you would if you were outside.

Though the treadmill may feel more difficult at times, there is no right or wrong way to train.

While some people are content to run outdoors regardless of the weather, others may prefer the control of a treadmill.

When we run on a treadmill, we use fewer muscles in our feet and legs.

Outside, we may make the most of every muscle we have to increase the efficiency of our runs.

Running muscles

As a result, we tend to go more slowly on a treadmill. Additionally, the same muscles become overworked, which has an effect on endurance running.

Running outside is an excellent approach to exercising the muscles. Excessive use of the same muscles can also be detrimental to long-distance running.

To ensure a comfortable experience, you should also try an anti-gravity treadmill.

Running outside, on the other hand, is a pretty straightforward technique to work out your muscles.

Mental exhaustion when on a treadmill

Why would you expect to enjoy a pleasant run if the treadmill has been renamed?

However, you’ve already taught your brain and body that you’re going to despise the workout before it even begins.

What I am trying to say is that you have already lost your interest and just trying to do it forcefully or just something like a burden.

Running is a highly mental activity, and you must develop a new attitude about the treadmill.

It’s an excellent tool to have, and you’re quite fortunate to possess it.

Treadmill Adjustment

Treadmill adjustment is the process of altering the pace and steepness of a treadmill to simulate outdoor work as nearly as possible.

If we went to the gym, we couldn’t do much about it, but treadmills must be changed.

When the treadmill is set to zero incline, we use a level to ensure consistency in quality from side to side and front to rear.

Frequently, when changing the back legs, it is critical to make the correct decisions.

Depending on whether it is shifted to one side, the running style will change.

If the treadmill is still motivated prior to adding incline, the runs will be even harder.

Calibration of the speed takes a little longer. Excessive use on an uncalibrated treadmill can cause it to squeak.

As a result, we must remember to calibrate it properly.

Tips to run faster on a treadmill

Whether you’re new to running or want a more intensive workout, going faster will help you burn more calories.

This, however, is frequently easier said than done. Once weariness sets in, maintaining that high pace becomes difficult.

1. Increase the incline for one minute and then decrease it for one minute to recover.

Continue in this manner for an excellent exercise and effective results.

True treadmills also include pre-programmed programs that contain hill training and interval training to help you boost your calorie burn and speed.

2. Another way to pass the time on a treadmill is to envision a route you usually drive or run outside.

Consider sprinting along and imagining the buildings and other landmarks you’d pass.

Adjust the incline setting if you’re approaching a hill on your outdoor route.

Tips to run faster on a treadmill

3. When you’re working out, having an exercise playlist on your device ready to go might help you take your activity to the next level.

Your favorite song may be exactly what you need to complete an intensive sprint and give you the motivation to continue.

4. To get the most out of your workout, familiarize yourself with the many capabilities of the equipment you’re using.

If you’re using a treadmill at the gym, ask a trainer to walk you through its capabilities before you step on, as some functionalities are not immediately apparent.

5. The more steps per minute that you take, the more efficiently you will run.

Calculate your stride count by keeping track of how frequently one foot strikes the belt in a minute (since you have a timer right there on the console).

Then divide by two to obtain your steps per minute.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an appropriate treadmill running speed?

Having said that, the following is a basic guideline for treadmill speeds.

For the majority of people, 2 to 4 mph is considered walking speed.

4 to 5 mph is considered a fast walk or jog, and anything above 5 mph is considered jogging or running.

Why is running on a treadmill more difficult?

Many claimed treadmill running was simply uninteresting, which contributed to the sensation of difficulty.

However, new research indicates that treadmill miles may really feel tougher because they require more energy than jogging on the road–up to 5% more.

Can pilates aid in injury prevention and performance enhancement?

Pilates is a type of exercise that combines physical movements and breathing exercises.

It is comparable to yoga in that it emphasizes whole-body conditioning through slow, controlled movement.

Pilates focuses on core muscle strengthening and spine stretching, which is the primary distinction between the two activities.

Also Read: How to burn calories in 2 hours of treadmill running?


To conclude this article, I would like to give an example from a study, where runners were taught to go around a track and then run on a treadmill at the same intensity.

Their treadmill times were much slower. However, the cause for the apparent disparity in performance across the two dissimilar environments remains a matter of discussion.

There is always a solution to the problem and I guess, we have discussed thoroughly why I run slowly on a treadmill, and to be honest, I have got the answer.

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