Treadmill Versus Outdoor Running....


By Bethany Mavis (triathlete.com)

Think treadmill running is just a climate-controlled version of road running? Wrong. It’s a completely different beast. But treat it right, and it can become your best friend.

Running on the treadmill is not typically an athlete’s first choice—you got into triathlon to enjoy the outdoors, not stare at a wall. But a treadmill is a godsend for keeping your training on track when you’re facing adverse weather conditions or have a limited workout window. Just make sure you don’t expect a treadmill run to be the equivalent of a road run, says Richard Diaz, endurance sports coach and founder of California-based Diaz Human Performance. An important distinction between running inside and outside is that treadmill running is “rate independent—the treadmill is going to do what it’s going to do, and you’re just trying to keep up with it,” he says. “When you’re outside, you’re not going anywhere unless you push or pull yourself through space.” ...

The biggest problem with putting yourself on a treadmill belt, Diaz believes, is the potential for over-striding, especially as you start to fatigue—outdoors, you’d just slow down rather than try to keep up with the belt. By over-striding, you’re overloading your posterior chain, which can lead to hamstring injuries. Repetitive treadmill running also opens yourself up to other overuse injuries, says elite triathlon coach and running biomechanics expert Bobby McGee. When you’re running outside, small changes in the environment (curbs, hills, rocks) cause you to make minute movements with tiny stabilizers, keeping your muscles and joints more balanced. However, the uniformity of a flat treadmill belt and a steady pace give you a too-consistent foot strike, which can overtax your muscles and bones. READ MORE

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