Running on treadmill: advantages and disadvantages

Training on the mat has its fierce opponents but also its fierce supporters, which is why it is boring for some and essential for others. Runners.fr tried to make a decision between them.

A few days ago, we were invited by the French National Olympic Committee (FNAC) to observe their training sessions.

We were surprised by the difference in intensity between the two teams that we saw. The French team seemed more explosive while the German team was more controlled.

Specifics of treadmill running

This type of treadmill does not have a horizontal progression of the feet. The lack of horizontal progression of the feet means that the body has to adapt to that. In outdoor running conditions, the runner will have to use his/her feet and legs more than they would normally do.

A shorter stride length can be caused by the runner having to propel his/her foot further. The amount of muscular work done by an outdoor runner is different from that done by this unnatural movement.

A: It depends on the stride. If you stride forward with your foot at the front of your body, the knee is bent. This is called the ‘forward’ stride. If you stride with your foot ahead of your center of mass, then the knee is straight.

This is called the’rear’ stride. Your natural stride is a combination of both. If you are in good physical condition, you should be able to use your forward stride for most of your distance. However, if you are not in good condition, then you will probably use your rear stride as much as possible. 

• I used the hamstring muscles much less, if at all.

• The flexor muscles of the hip (psoas-illiaques) compensate for this action by being more stressed.

Energy expenditure

The lack of wind resistance when running indoors means that it is possible to get a faster speed while using less effort than running outside.

If you have an incline of 1% in your treadmill, you don’t need to compensate for the advantage of not having wind resistance.

The treadmill is not a realistic simulation of running outdoors. There are a number of advantages to being able to train on this device.

Indoor Training You can train in areas that are not suitable for outdoor training due to the cold or rainy weather. You can use the treadmill in your living room or a small gym without disturbing the rest of your family.

Weight-Training You can use the treadmill to perform weight training, which will allow you to gain muscle mass and improve your cardiovascular fitness.

Strength Training The treadmill allows you to increase your strength by performing weighted squats, lunges, and pushups. These exercises help you build strong bones and muscles.

Advantages of the carpet


• Avoids the difficulties encountered by the runner during outdoor training: city traffic, lack of lighting at nightfall in the countryside, bad weather, insecurity, etc.

• Even inaccurate, it reproduces gestures close to that of running, and identical cardio-respiratory demands.

• Allows good aerobic work.

• Ease of use allowing you to fit a small workout that is easy to fit into your schedule.

• Gives a very regular tempo to follow and allows you to control as many internal (Heart Rate, calories) and external (Speed) parameters as possible.

• More cushioning than bitumen, it is less traumatic. Tendons and joints will thank you.

• Possibility of being able to have something to hydrate nearby, without having to carry equipment.

Disadvantages of the carpet


• More rapid rise in body temperature resulting in a higher heart rate (possible to lose up to 1 km / h for heart rates identical to training outdoors). This therefore results in a higher energy cost for the runner.

• Tendency to no longer rely on its sensations but on the speed imposed by the mat.

• Improper gestural work and sometimes painful vibrations of the carpet.

• Painfulness of the exercise earlier.

• Mental fatigue during exercise.

To use for what types of sessions?

Strength training is one of the most important aspects of your fitness regimen, if you are an endurance athlete who wants to maximize performance. The workouts in this section will help you achieve your goals faster and strengthen your muscles.

How to Use This Section The workouts in this section can be done at any time of the day or night, but it’s best to do them after a workout or a full day of training. If you feel tired after a hard day of training, the workouts in this section will make you feel better and allow you to train harder.

To avoid for what types of sessions?

On a mat, sudden changes in pace are difficult to handle. The mat doesn’t allow you to glide smoothly from one gear to another, so it’s difficult to practice during these short intervals.

On the mat, the body is often left without protection from injuries that are easily avoided on the machines. Many mats don’t permit the machine to be programmed for very elaborate sessions. It’s a disadvantage to have to adjust the gears manually, which can be dangerous.

Good to know :

  • Achieving high speeds requires expensive acquisition. You should know that most mid-range carpets (counting nearly 2000 euros) offer a maximum speed of around 16 to 18 km / h. To go beyond (up to 24 km / h for very high-end carpets with a high-performance motor) you have to take out the Gold!
  • The heavier the carpet, the more stable it will be.
  • There are models of foldable mats, easy to store.

When the right conditions for outdoor training aren’t met, training on a mat is a more interesting alternative. It is better to practice training on a mat as a supplement and less often if it is only done as a supplement.

There is nothing better than the pleasure and efficiency of sessions done outdoors. Open your eyes, breathe deeply, relax, and feel your muscles relax, as you move with more ease and control.

You can use this same method for any movement, but when the weather is fine, it’s perfect for training. I am a firm believer that training outdoors is a superior form of training.

I am a firm believer in the benefits of training outside and have been practicing this type of training since 1994. In this book, I will be discussing some of the benefits of outdoor training, which include:

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