Why Do I Run Slower on a Treadmill? – Expert Solution


As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

There are many of us who work out on a daily basis to reach our target weight or optimal level of fitness. Among them, there are some who opt for running on an affordable treadmill as a means of cardio workout.

But have you ever noticed that you are much faster when you are running outside rather than on the machine? So, it’s normal to ask, “why do I run slower on a treadmill?”.

Well, to tell you the truth, there is an actual theory behind why it might be far easier to run on the actual ground rather than on a treadmill. Keep reading to get an insight into what the reasons behind it are!

Is It Actually True?

To some, the idea of being slower on the treadmill might sound absurd, “why would it take the same person more time to run the same length on a treadmill?”. Is there truly any basis for this thought?

Surprisingly, it is actually true for many people. For marathons, the world record of running outside is shorted by a full 19 minutes then it is on the treadmill. So, the facts can’t be wrong.

But there are some exceptions. There are many people out there who are able to perform and run a lot better when they are on the treadmills. They tend to thrive in that sort of setting than they do when running outside.

Why Do We Run Slower on Treadmills?

Why Do I Run Slower on a Treadmill

There are numerous reasons why we might see a difference in the amount of time we take to run the same length outside and on a treadmill. We will be discussing each of the reasons in great detail for your better understanding.

The Heat

The very first thing that comes to mind when we talk about running on a treadmill is the amount of heat there will be in the room where we run. And the heat might be one of the reasons why we take longer to run on the treadmill.

Also, the heat affects our overall performance. Therefore it takes a much longer to finish outrun than it would typically do. The exhaustion really sets in and stops us from doing our very best.

Length of Stride

When we usually run outside, we can determine the length of our strides without having any problem, but when it comes to treadmills, the belt is what determines the stride length.

It is not much in our hands unless we keep changing the pace and speed, which might be a bit of a hassle for you.

That is why you might feel like running on a treadmill might be a lot of trying for us, which would result in longer run time.


One of the worst possible things about running on treadmills is staring at the wall, or whatever object is placed in front of you. Yeah, that is not one of the best views to have.

As we have to keep staring at the same thing for the entire duration of our run, we tend to slow down.

And the boredom itself can at times get the best of us, which would have an overall impact on how long we take to finish the run.

Sometimes there might be a TV in front of you, but at a time like that, the content on TV might hold very little interest to you. Therefore, you would run comparatively slower on the machine.

Constant Pace

Much like the length of stride, the pace is also very important. When we are out on the pavement, we tend to follow a very natural pace.

We adjust our speed based on how we are feeling. If we feel bad, we can slow it down and pick up the pace right after.

However, when it comes to a machine, we tend to either keep the pace the same throughout or try to increase it with time.

But that is very taxing on our bodies. We do not give out body time to recover, which tires us out. That is why we might have to keep stopping in the middle, and ultimately take longer to finish the run.

Not only does this lead to longer run time, but it also demotivates us from running on the treadmill in the future as well as often think of the exhaustion afterward.

Machine Calibration

Sometimes you might have a harder time running on the treadmill because of the wrong calibration.

And that is pretty common, more so than you think. Different machines might have different measurements. Some might account for the miles you ran while others calculate the kilometers. But that is not all.

There are times when the measurements might just be off, so there is a chance the machine calculates the length wrong. Which would inevitably make you believe you are running slower.

Working Your Quads

While running outside, we tend to work on our hamstrings, but the belt movement of the treadmills might actually lead to you working the quads more.

Which at times might prove to be much more difficult. As this makes our legs work more, tiredness is bound to take place.

This will result in a rise in the time needed to run the same distance as you would outside.

Why Is It Easier to Run on Treadmills?

Why Is It Easier to Run on Treadmills

However, there are many reasons why it might actually be a lot easier to run on treadmills than it would outside. The belt of the treadmills moves, which propels you to move forward.

You do not have to work against road friction. Therefore this should allow you to run faster.

Along with the road, you are not working against the wind, which might, at times, have a great impact on the time taken to complete a run. The indoor stops all kinds of outside elements from having an impact on the run.

Final Words

There are a few working for and against treadmills when it comes to being slower than they would outside. Now, hopefully, you have a better insight into why you might be taking longer on the treadmill and why it seems harder to run on it.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here