The 1% Incline Treadmill Myth

I read an interesting and well researched article about treadmill running vs. outdoor running… The 1% Incline Treadmill Myth, and I certainly agree with the conclusion that air resistance has little or no effect on a runner at relatively low speeds (compared to world-class runners that is). I do find running outside harder though, for a few reasons… one is that the ground is generally less forgiving than the treadmills I use at the Pro Club, and two is that in my part of the world… there is really no such thing as a ‘flat’ course. Even the simplest 3 mile loop around my area generally has about 150 ft down and 150 ft up …. and that is on roads that barely seem to be inclined at all to the eye.

For me, I normally have been running at 0%, but lately I’ve been experimenting with a variety of paces and inclines, I ran two miles last week at 5% for example… I feel it will do nothing but help my speed/endurance on relatively flat courses.

Author: Duncan Mackenzie

I'm the Developer Lead for the Channel 9 team, formerly worked on MSDN as a developer, content strategist and author.

3 thoughts on “The 1% Incline Treadmill Myth”

  1. Running outside has a bunch of benefits over the treadmill.

    – The uneven course (as you’ve mentioned) makes it harder; if exercise is easy, whats the point?
    – The fresh air is great for you (depending of course on where you live); I am in Brisbane, Australia, so my 5am 12 km run gets me into the local state forest, so pelnty of fresh air and the added benefit of seeing the od Koala or Wallaby.
    – Apart from the odd uniquely Australian marsupial there is also the other scenery; the lyrca clad human female variety.

    I woudl advise getting yourself a decent HR monitor; I thought it a total gimmick until I used one.

  2. I think that the incline changes the biomechanics a bit, but I don’t think it has much effect on effort. It’s not like you’re doing extra to move your body up an incline.

  3. Hi Duncan,

    First of all – love your site. I currently have 3 empty blog sites, but now feeling inspired to change that! This probably isn’t the right place to ask this kind of question, but I can’t find an email address for you, and I’m sure you can choose to not post it publicly or delete it after the fact. Do you have an email address I can contact you at to ask you about some old code of yours I found? Thanks!

    -Mike Letulle

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