How to Convert the Pace on a Treadmill to Outside Walking

Walking outdoors can provide more interesting views than a treadmill.

Walking outdoors can provide more interesting views than a treadmill.

Treadmills are ideal to use for a consistent walking regimen, but the boredom of a never-changing view can lead to exercise burnout and a lack of motivation. A change in scenery can help you avoid the typical workout doldrums. To take your walking to the great outdoors, you will need to learn how to convert the pace you use on the treadmill into the times you shoot for while walking outside to maintain, or even improve on, the same pace.

Plan your route for walking outside, and determine its distance by using anything with GPS mapping software. This can include the GPS device in a vehicle, a GPS app on a smartphone, or a website such as Google Maps or Yahoo! Maps (see Resources). If you want a more firsthand approach, drive the route with your vehicle and keep track of the distance on the odometer.

Set the incline on your treadmill to 1 percent. A study done in 1996 at the University of Brighton showed that running on a treadmill with a 1 percent incline most closely correlated to running outdoors.

Go for a walk of the same distance of the route you have planned to do outside. Maintain a pace you are comfortable with. Keep track of how long it takes to complete the distance.

Take a stopwatch with you the next time you go for a walk outside. Try to maintain the same pace you used on the treadmill. Keep track of how long it takes to complete the walk.

Compare the treadmill time to the outdoors time. If the outdoors time is longer, you will need to quicken your pace next time. If it is shorter, you may choose to slow your pace, especially if you felt more winded than usual when you finished.

Items you will need

  • GPS mapping software or vehicle with odometer
  • Treadmill with the ability to adjust incline
  • Stopwatch or smartphone stopwatch app

Tips

  • If you have a way to determine when you have gone a mile on your walk, such as mile markers along your route, it may be helpful to determine your pace for a mile so you can see how you are doing while you are walking. To determine your mile pace, divide the time (in minutes) for the entire walk by the distance (in miles). For example, if you walk 4 miles in 60 minutes, then your pace is 15 minutes per mile, since 60 / 4 = 15.
  • If you know what your pace is in miles per hour, then you can determine your mile pace by dividing 60 by your pace in mph. For example, if your pace is 3 mph, then you would walk a mile in 20 minutes, since 60 / 3 = 20.

Warning

  • Make sure you do a proper warmup and stretching before doing any extended walking.
 

About the Author

Darin McGilvra has been a professional writer since 1997. He was a copy editor for several California newspapers, including "The Sun" in San Bernardino, the "Inland Valley Daily Bulletin" in Ontario and the "San Gabriel Valley Tribune" in West Covina. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in math education from Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa, Idaho.

Photo Credits

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