August 03, 2014

Treadmill vs. outdoor run comparison

Last night, the kids ended up staying the night at my parents' house, so Jerry and I had an impromptu date night. We've had free movie tickets for the longest time that we just haven't used, so we decided to go see the movie Lucy.

First, we had dinner at Olga's in the mall. We joked about how old we've become, because we were out to dinner on a Saturday evening at barely 5:00, and then we went to a 5:45 pm show. We were probably the youngest people in the theater. ;)  Our theater recently got new seats, and they are AMAZING. They recline, so you can put your feet up, and they're really spacious. They're seriously as comfortable as watching a movie on the couch at home.

Unfortunately, neither of us liked the movie. I wish I'd have asked whether it was worth seeing, because afterward, I heard from several people that it was bad. Oh, well, they were free tickets and we had a good time!

When we got home, it wasn't even 8:00 yet, so we decided to walk to a bar that is about half a mile away to have a drink and play Keno. Normally, I have beer, but beer is so easy to have another and another, and before you know it, you've consumed hundreds of calories worth. I wanted something I could slowly sip the whole time we were there, so I didn't do too much caloric damage. I decided to try something new to me: a gin and tonic. I really liked it, and it lasted me through 20 drawings of Keno. I think that will be my new go-to drink when I'm out. We didn't have any luck at Keno, but we laughed a lot and had fun!

This morning, Noah was sick with a head cold, so he didn't go to church. Instead of waiting for Jerry to get off work so I could run outside, I decided to dust off the treadmill and get in a quick three-miler. I hadn't used the treadmill in a couple of months. I had the idea to try to imitate yesterday's outdoor run so that I could compare the two. I was curious how my heart rate and other stats compared between running on the treadmill and running outside.

It wasn't at all a scientific comparison, but I tried to mock the same pace each mile from yesterday. The splits weren't perfect, but they were very close. Overall, though, I ran the same distance in the same time, so my overall pace was nearly identical (I stopped my Garmin one second too soon). Here is a really nerdy comparison chart:

Running on the treadmill always feels much easier to me than running outside, so I really expected my heart rate to be lower on the treadmill, even though I was running the same pace. (It's probably worth noting that the incline was at 0% today). I was VERY surprised, then, when I looked at the comparison, and just how similar the two runs were! In addition to the distance, time, and average pace being the same, the calories were only off by 1, my average heart rate was identical at 155, my average cadence (steps per minute) was identical at 170, and my average stride length was identical at 1.02 meters.

The biggest relevant difference was in my maximum heart rate, which was 165 on the treadmill, but 170 outside. That was probably due to sprinting across a street, or a dog barking at me, or something like that. Even though this was only three miles, it made me much more confident in treadmill running--even though it feels easier, my stats were pretty much the same. I just found it really interesting!

Don't forget, tomorrow is Motivational Monday, so if you have anything to submit, the sooner you can email it to me, the better!


  1. I have just been trawling through your blog. I too have 100 pounds to lose. I have always wanted to be able to run. I just feel like it would be such an achievement and I literally have dreams where I am running and it is actually easy. Thank you for sharing your story, it makes me think that it is possible for me to do it too!

  2. I'm really inspired with your running journey, no matter outside or on treadmill :)

    I'm enjoying my morning yoga exercises at present, but I'm planning to start running one day.

    Thank you for all your inspiration!

  3. I wonder how many movie goers
    fall asleep in those comfy seats ;)

  4. I'm glad to see this comparison. I have been doing some (very Slow) running on the treadmill recently and I was wondering how it compared to running outside. I like using the treadmill because I can keep my pace at a constant speed.

    My youngest son has been obsessing with the movie Lucy (he is young and will never see it!). He is constantly asking me how much of our brains we use and why we don't use more etc. I mean several times a day it comes up lol.

    I would be sound asleep in those chairs once the trailers started! They look very comfy!

  5. I am curious if that is the Garmin Forerunner 620 with heart rate monitor and with or without the foot pod....

    1. That was the FR 620 with heart rate monitor and with the foot pod (foot pod was calibrated to the treadmill)


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