I have already written about the fact that a treadmill cannot replace classic outdoor running and, even more so, trail running. Therefore, it should be used only when there is no choice at all, for example, in rehabilitation after injuries.
Why is it easier to run on a treadmill?
It is a very common situation when fitness enthusiasts in the gym easily overcome the 10 km mark on the simulator, and going out for the first time on the street run, hardly reach the five.
There are many reasons for this, one of which is the complete absence of dynamics. More precisely, the forward motion on the treadmill and the associated air resistance.
Although it may seem that the wind barrier is not as relevant as, say, in cycling, this is actually not the case. When jogging lightly at a pace of ~7 min/km, energy expenditure is 6-8% higher than when running at the same pace on a trainer, whereas increasing the pace to 5 min/km brings this difference to 10-15%.
The effect of air resistance on the runner increases progressively with speed. And here we do not even consider the possibility of wind gusts, when the travel speed can drop to zero. However, the wind can also be tailwind, of course.
The smooth cyclicality, safety and absence of strong influence of any external factors when running on the track create hothouse conditions for the brain and nervous system, thanks to which they quickly enter into automatic mode and do not require constant self-control.
Обратная ситуация происходит на улице или на трейле, когда на концентрацию и удержание внимания тратится солидное количество калорий. Даже когда порой кажется, будто бы вы ушли полностью в себя или в созерцание природы, мозг все равно обрабатывает намного больше информации, поступающей от нервных центров, чем в зале.
Конечно, расход энергии на активность мозга и нервной системы не сравнится с прямым сжиганием гликогена на марафоне, но тем не менее, усталость от этого копится весьма ощутимая.
The main disadvantage of treadmills for us as long-distance runners is the gradual development of an imbalance of muscle groups. Because of the motion of the blade and the absence of the need to push the body forward for forward movement in space, the need to work the gluteal muscles and the biceps muscles of the thigh is minimized, and the main load is on the quadriceps.
So it turns out that our desire to reduce the risk of joint injuries through proper muscle balance is partially negated. And the musculoskeletal system is completely unadapted to the real conditions of races, starting from a modest 5 km (not even taking into account the marathon and the ultras), regardless of the size of the run on the track.
In any case, in any case, let us repeat once again that the treadmill is not a substitute for running outdoors. It is better to use it for its intended purpose, namely for general analysis of biomechanics, testing of running shoes, and laboratory studies of oxygen metabolism in the body.
And, of course, the ISS.