When I read a post over at Salty Running about testing out the speed of your treadmill (thanks Catnip!), that was right up my alley!  I’ve had a suspicion that my speed on the treadmill was off just because it always seems harder to run the same pace on it, vs outdoors.  I mean, my average “easy” paces are around 9:30 on the treadmill, but 9:00 outside lately.  Just what is up with that?

So I got out my equipment for this testing… tape measure, tape, stopwatch, paper, pencil and my eyes 😉  It’s not in my picture, but I used duct tape for the “tracking” mark.


First step, measure the length of the treadmill belt.  Hardest part of this was getting the belt to stop in the right place to I could get the next measurement.  I watched that tape go around several times before I finally figured out the right time to hit the stop button!

Step 2, turn the treadmill to a certain pace, and count the revolutions.  So, easy peasy… just stand there and count each time I see the tape fly by.  That was pretty easy, until I lost count in my head because I was supposed to be counting to 100!


After several false starts, I finally got my good readings.  I did two readings at 3.5 pace, and one at 6.0.  I only got 50 revolution counts done at the 6.0 speed because the tape was starting to peel off.  I took my measurements and started to do my calculations.

That’s a portrait of me that Sydney drew!


Phew, there were a lot of calculations.  I had to enlist the help of another webpage of the process to figure it out because I just wasn’t getting it.  It may have had something to do with the brownie break I took in the middle of my math, but I had a surge of intelligence and figured it out.


Here’s what I got… my treadmill said the speed was 3.5 mph, and my calculation was 3.527.  The second reading was also at 3.5 mph, and calculation was 3.5 right on nose.  But wait, the faster 6.0 mph came up with a 5.1 calculation!  Dang, something must have been up with that.


So back to the basement for more measurements.  I retaped the treadmill and started it up.  The look of horror came across my face when the tape pulled off and got stuck after only 25 revolutions!!!  Eeeeekk!!  At that point, my investigation was over.  I do not want tape stuck in my treadmill!!  The tape just wasn’t going to stick on our belt at a faster speed.


I guess we will never know if the belt speed is correct at a faster pace.  But hey, after 15,303 miles on our Precor, I’m happy with whatever it gives me!  Although it seemed like a really big investment when we bought it, we certainly have gotten our money’s worth out of it. (*this is not a sponsored Precor post, but I’d be open to them giving me the latest model so I can rave about it more.  haha!)



Q:  Have you ever checked the accuracy on your treadmill?

Q:  Anyone out there have Monday off for President’s day?

(I do!  Sorry not bragging, but looking forward to a 3 day work week!!)

Q: What was your favorite subject at school?

Mine was actually math!  See, it did turn out to be a skill I would use later in life. LOL

12 thoughts on “Treadmill telling the truth?”
  1. And people laughed when I told them I wanted a treadmill that would last at least 20,000 miles! And to think that by 1,800 miles our Pacemaster had 2 cracked decks, a ripped belt, and the lift motor shattered in half. You get what you pay for with a treadmill.

  2. You know, I never really considered that a treadmill speed *could* be wrong but I am not surprised about it! Three years ago Adam and I lived in an apartment complex that had it’s own gym, and it had two treadmills inside this gym. There was one that I HATED using because it broke one day and after they fixed whatever was wrong it was never the same again. I told Adam that it went unusually fast. We agreed it was probably all in my head but now I am not so sure!
    Kristina Running recently posted…The Websites I Visit MostMy Profile

    1. I suspect my suspicion of the pace being incorrect is not legit. I guess the Precor treadmill actually does it’s own adjusting of the pace, some sort of sensor (super high tech stuff!). I’ll just have to account my slower pace to early/sleepy running instead!

  3. Wow, I’m impressed that you tried all this! I never really thought much about treadmill accuracy. I always assumed that the reason paces felt harder on the mill was because of perception of effort and the fact that we are forcing ourselves to hold a specific pace without wavering, which we aren’t used to doing outside. That said, I did a short treadmill run in the gym on vacation last month, and I was convinced it was off because my easy pace was so much higher. But then again, I was out of shape, and it was hot in that gym. So the mystery continues!

    I just look at it this way: it’s not so bad to have the treadmill or my watch register a slower pace, because I’d rather find out later that I was actually running faster than I thought, than to find out later I wasn’t running as fast as I thought!

    1. I never knew how to check out the pace, and then I saw that blog post. It was like “ah ha!”. But, not great discovery. It’s not a bad thing to get slower runs in anyways, so I’m happy with it!

    1. It was bad… until after I got it all done, then I realized what I was actually calculating and it made sense! It’s been a productive Friday… long run, yoga, lunch, and now sitting around on my computer. haha It’s all good.

  4. This is not something I had even though to worry about, though to be fair I haven’t been on a treadmill in years. If you don’t mind make a permanent mark on the belt, you could try marking a spot with a silver sharpee. I think that would show up on black and wouldn’t come off at faster speeds…but also might never come off so there’s that.
    Heather [is probably running] recently posted…Birthday Marathon: Registered!My Profile

  5. My God! I though I was the only one who felt like the treadmill was giving me a wrong pace.

    I recently joined a new gym and every time I do tempos on those treadmills, my calves get very tight because I end up running faster than I should.

    1. I’m sure the treadmills at the gym would feel really weird to me! I’m so used to the feeling of mine at home!! One of these days I’ll do the faster pace test again and see what it says – but using chalk instead of tape.

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