6 Reasons Why Do I Run Slower on a Treadmill? Should I Do That?(Experts Answer)

Why Do I Run Slower on a Treadmill? Many people find that they run slower on a treadmill than they do when running outside. However, this may or may not actually be the case. In some circumstances, you aren’t actually running slower. It just looks like you are because you aren’t actually running anywhere. Therefore, it can seem like you’re moving much slower than you actually are. 

However, sometimes we do run slower on a treadmill because running on a treadmill is a bit different from running around outside. Therefore, before you get used to it, you may run slower or differently than you do when you run around outside. 

Usually, the slower running clears itself up over time. Once you get used to the treadmill, you usually start running at your normal speed. A warming-up period is to be expected. 

However, there are a few reasons why you may be running slower that you can adjust right away. 


Reasons You May Run Slower on a Treadmill

There are several reasons why you may run slower on a treadmill. One of them is because treadmills work a bit differently than running outside. Therefore, you need to get used to it before you’ll run at your normal rate. 

However, there are some issues you may want to keep an eye out for that can make you run slower. 

  • Not swinging your arms. Your arms are naturally meant to swing. When you run outside, they do. This helps you keep your balance, which also helps you run faster. However, it isn’t always natural to swing your arms when on a treadmill. In many cases, this can make you run slower since your balance is off. You should not hold onto the handlebars, as this will obviously prevent your arms from swinging
  • Slow down the treadmill. Many people assume that they can run faster than they can. However, you generally need to start at a slower pace than you think and then work your way up. 
  • Increase the incline. Instead of simply increasing the speed to increase your intensity, you can also increase the incline. Therefore, you won’t actually be moving any faster, but you will be working harder. Sometimes, you don’t need to increase your speed, after all. 
  • Poor treadmill calibration. Treadmills all have to be calibrated. Therefore, if you don’t calibrate correctly, it may not go to the correct speed. Therefore, you may need to re-calibrate the treadmill. 
  • Poor form. Your form is extremely important when you’re running on a treadmill. You should aim to be in the middle of the belt. If you’re hitting the console, then you’re too far forward. Keep your shoulders back and head tall. Often, people will fold forward when they’re on the treadmill. However, this can mess with your speed and also cause injuries. 
  • Too long of a workout. In many cases, people think they need to run for hours on a treadmill. However, to reach maximum efficiency, you only need to run for about twenty minutes. Therefore, running for too long can cause fatigue and make you run slower when you really don’t need to be running that much at all. 

Do People Usually Run Slower on a Treadmill?

No. Usually, people do not run slower on a treadmill when compared to outside – as long as they have had plenty of practice running on a treadmill. If you take someone who has never run on a treadmill and put them on a treadmill, then they likely won’t run just as fast as they would outdoors. 

Running on a treadmill is quite different from running outside. However, with some practice, you can get used to it. 

Technically, running on a treadmill is less difficult, as you don’t have to deal with outside elements. There is also less wind resistance, so you don’t get out of breath as easily. You also don’t have to deal with changes in terrain, which can tire you out faster. 

However, many people are scared of running off the treadmill, though this typically doesn’t happen. With this said, it is still a physiological problem that many people have to overcome. Usually, this is overcome with time and practice, though. The fear goes away with time. 

Do You Run Faster or Slower on the Treadmill?

Why Do I Run Slower on a Treadmill

Technically, running on a treadmill is easier. You don’t have to deal with a lot of things that you have to deal with when running outdoors. For instance, you don’t have to deal with the wind, which can make it harder for you to get the proper amount of oxygen. You also don’t have to deal with different terrain variations. 

However, there is a psychological problem with running on a treadmill. Since you aren’t actually moving and there are typically things in front of you that you don’t want to run into, your mind tends to slow your pace. Therefore, when you do run on a treadmill, you usually run slower. 

With that said, many people can get over their mental block with proper practice. Eventually, you stop worrying about running off the treadmill since you’ve had plenty of practice not having that happen. 

Therefore, you usually get over the physiological setbacks and then run faster on treadmills then you previously did. Once you have the practice, you usually run faster on treadmills than you do outside. However, it all does depend on the treadmill you’re using and what your outdoor environment is like. 

Obviously, you run slower in a hilly environment than you do in a flat environment. If you live in a flat area and have a good, even place to run, then you probably won’t run much faster on a  treadmill. However, if you live in a hilly, uneven area, you’ll probably run much faster on a treadmill than you do outside. 

Do You Run Differently on a Treadmill?

If you are running correctly on a treadmill, then it likely won’t be much different from running outside. Your form should be the same. Otherwise, you may limit your speed or cause injuries. Therefore, you should aim to run as naturally on the treadmill as you do when outside. 

Do not hold onto the sides of the treadmill when you are running. And you should not run so close to the console that your arms hit it. Aim to stay in the middle of your treadmill as much as you can. 

Many people benefit from working with a personal trainer for a session or two to get their form correct. When you’re running on a treadmill, it is extremely vital that you run on it correctly. That’s how you make the most out of your workout. 


Running on a treadmill is technically just like running outside – from a physical standpoint at least. However, there is a mental block when running on a treadmill. You don’t actually want to run into the wall, and your mind doesn’t exactly understand that the treadmill moves so that you won’t. 

Therefore, many people have a problem running full speed on the treadmill. Most people will run slower on a treadmill than they do when out and about. However, this is all because of the mental block that surrounds running on a treadmill – not because it is so much more difficult to actually run on a treadmill. 

In fact, physically, it is much easier to run on a treadmill because you aren’t dealing with the outdoor elements. 

We highly recommend working with a professional when you are first starting to run on a treadmill, as they can help with your form. Just a session or two can go a long way. 

You may need to read our guide about best treadmill for heavy people.

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