Q: Why does running on a treadmill seem easier than running on the road or on a track?
A: There are definite pros and cons that go along with using the “mill” for training.
You are right: running on a treadmill is easier (physically) than running outside because you are being propelled by the treadmill belt, a padded moving platform, and you are not running against any wind resistance.
What’s more, treadmill running is weatherproof, so you can exercise in a controlled climate without concern for heat, humidity or frigidity.
While it may be easier on you physically, mentally it is a different story. Let’s face it, running like a hamster round-and-round on a wheel for long periods of time can be quite monotonous! Treadmill running is much more difficult psychologically than outdoor running due to the lack of visual distractions as well as variety in terrain.
I generally recommend that those individuals training for an upcoming road race spend the bulk of their training outdoors on the road to acclimate to the environment as well as the twists and turns of the road and the variable terrain.