Skip to content

Why Do I Feel Like I Run Slower On A Treadmill? Find Out Here

Why Do I Feel Like I Run Slower On A Treadmill? Find Out Here

Are Treadmills More Difficult Than Outdoor Running?

If you are an outdoor runner and take to the treadmill in the winter months, only to find you feel like you are running slower, don’t worry, you are not alone. 

Running on a treadmill in comparison to running outside differs vastly in terms of your stride, metal stimulation and form, all of these factors can contribute to making our treadmill workout feel slower than it is. 

So as you can understand what makes treadmill running feels like a drag and some tips for beating the boredom while you are on one of these machines, we have put together our best guide below with all the tips and tricks you need to know. 

Is Running On a Treadmill Easier Than Running Outside? 

Many people argue that running on a treadmill is much easier than running outside due to little inclines and varying terrain levels which force your body to expend more energy when running outside, the belt of treadmills is also powered electronically by the motor to propel your body forwards which can slightly assist in leg turn over rather than having to push your legs forward yourself. 

However, although these factors can make a treadmill feel smoother than outdoor running does, this does not technically mean that it is easier. 

Why You Are Running Slower On a Treadmill

As we mentioned briefly, many different factors can contribute to making treadmill running feel like a drag when compared to your outdoor runs, for example, many runners who are used to the outdoors mentally dislike the treadmills as the scenery does not change which can get boring, this can often be solved by watching your favourite show or listening to music. 

We have listed some other common causes as to why your treadmill feels slow below. 

It’s Your Form 

Many outdoor runners might struggle to keep their form on a treadmill and end up running far forwards on the machine, always remember to keep your body positioned in the centre of the treadmill, keep your shoulders back and avoid hunching over and aim to have a quick leg turn over when running. 

No Variety Of Pace 

It’s a good idea, first of all, to keep your treadmill set a 1% incline to mimic running outside, if you are used to changing your pace outside then keeping a consistent one on a treadmill might prove a little difficult at first, but with time you will get used to it or you can try varying the speed now and then. 

The Treadmill Calibration Is Off

The treadmill you are using might need calibrating so as it can accurately read speed while you are running, gym treadmills might often be set to an incline beforehand and some models can even be tilted side to side which can affect your overall stride when running making it feel slower. 

You Feel Hot 

You might feel as if you have a lack of air when running on a treadmill compared to outdoor running as there is no wind or breeze to cool you down, try placing a fan in front of you to combat this. 

Different Muscles Are Being Used 

Treadmill workouts can feel slower as you are working muscles you don’t typically use as much when running outdoors, for example, as the belt on a treadmill pulls you forward this works your quads more than your hamstrings, but outdoor running works your hamstrings more than your quads. 

Tips For Making Treadmill Running Feel Like Less Of a Drag 

If you just hate treadmill running no matter what and find the exercise slow and boring, we have listed a few creative tips below that can help you find treadmill running fun and less of a drag. 

  • Listen to music – Music or your favourite soundtrack can make running feel more fun and time pass quicker.
  • Study – Learning new things while running on a treadmill is a great way to use your brain and keep it occupied. 
  • Run virtually – There are many apps where you can run virtually on different courses with people. 
  • Do intervals – Interval training keeps your body on its toes and stops you from getting bored. 

Final Words 

To conclude, treadmill running might feel slower than outdoor running due to several different reasons, from different strides to posture, all of which can make your workout feel like a drag, try following our tips above to make your treadmill workout feel more fun and exciting and always vary your workouts to keep your body surprised.


Randy Lucas

Randy here - Fitness enthusiast and avid runner - besides running I also love playing with my two German Shepherds Peter and Bruce - oh and I love cooking. I am the Webmaster over at where I ramble about all things fitness in an effort to make the world a healthier place.