Amanda we’re looking to get a new treadmill, what’s the best treadmill for running?
This has become a common refrain among my friends over the last 10 years as they too begin to realize all the reasons I love having a treadmill at home. It’s also turned in to a joke because many of you start out Googling the answer and come up with videos of me testing out over 75 treadmills (part of a job I did!).
I definitely have some preferences and some opinions thanks to the many…many…many miles I’ve put in on a whole variety of treadmills since I started running in 2002. In fact, the person who last serviced my treadmill thought the total number of miles displayed for the lifetime had to be an error…it’s not.
Many top runners utilize the treadmill for training, so why shouldn’t we? Especially when we live in crazy climates or terrain that doesn’t mimic the race we’ll be doing.
A great running treadmill at home eliminates excuses, so this is what I’ve learned about all the variables you see listed to help decide which things actually matter.
As you know I have the NordicTrack C2950 and a number of my friends are now rocking the NordicTrack 1750 per my recommendations! Most of the NordicTrack and ProForm treadmills are both a good price and offer a good range of features.
Running Treadmill Features to Consider
Everyone is going to have slightly different needs in a treadmill for running at home, but there are a couple of things which will be universal. Some of the key features to look at when selecting the best treadmill for your needs, whether you’re focused on getting back in to running or serious marathon training a lot of these are the same.
If you’ll be running on the treadmill, then ask to turn it on in the store. You want to ensure that as you pick up the pace there’s no swaying of the machine. Most of the newer machines with some of the features mentioned below will be solid.
One of the reasons I went for a commercial treadmill was knowing they are a built to withstand a lot of miles and are definitely very stable machines. That also means a slightly higher price tag and sometimes a heavier machine.
Runners need 3.0 CHP or higher motor to ensure it quickly picks up speed and maintains. If you’re someone who does a lot of tabata running and want to really take your speeds from 5MPH to 12MPH then you should look for a 4.0CHP or higher.
Here’s my review of the treadmill that I most often recommend, the Nordictrack 1750 (still a top rated machine even 4 years after my initial crazy video because they upgraded it to commercial level quality.)
Did you even realize treadmills are different lengths?! It’s especially important as a runner, not to end up with one built more for walking that could have a track as short as 43″. Most good running treadmills will be 58-60″ and if you’re super tall, look for one’s that are 63″.
Nearly every running treadmill now goes up to 10-15% incline, which is more than enough for most of us to do some seriously workouts that increase HR without the pounding. If you want to go crazy with inclines, then look more towards an incline treadmill, which is not as much for running.
One of the reasons, I selected my treadmill was that it also has a decline of -3% and this make training for downhill races much easier and bonus points because it makes speed training on low heart rate more accessible.
Variety of Speeds
If you’re looking at a treadmill with a top speed of 6MPH, then it’s probably a walking treadmill with a small motor. Most new treadmills go up to 12MPH, which is roughly a 5:14 mile depending on the incline. I for one will likely never touch that button, but hey goals.
For years we had to find ways to situate our tiny apartment spare bedroom around the treadmill and the fact that it folded was absolutely a must have feature! Now we’re lucky to have much more space in the basement. It’s important to remember it’s not just the space of the treadmill, but having some area around it and above your head.
Display options now are out of this world. You can get the very standard display showing your speed and distance around the track or a full color display with built in WiFi. This is what allows you to do things like run a route using Google Maps.
The C2950 actually comes with an exterior attachment for a mounted TV. I loved using that in the apartment because otherwise I’d have been staring at a wall. This is definitely when you’re getting more to the top end of treadmills, but it can be fantastic for small spaces or those with sleeping babies because there’s no need to crank up the TV across the room.
Built in Programs
A few weeks ago, I talked all about the built in programs and creating your own to stay engaged. The built in programs can be a great source of motivation, so check them out and decide how important they are in terms of overall features.
Other things to consider are built in fans or trays, both can be very nice to have…but it’s all about price and what matters to you. As a runner the lower tray bothers me because I just envision kicking it, but the fans are a great bonus for us sweaty folks.
What matters to you most in a treadmill?
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