If you are a serious runner and considering buying a treadmill you need to understand an important fact – treadmills are not created equal. The treadmills sold at mass discount stores are marketed for impulse buys and won’t hold up to the mileage and training demands that you require. For example, imagine a typical person shopping at a large discount store in January and he just happens to see a treadmill on sale for a few hundred bucks. He gets an idea in his head that this is the year he is going to stay in shape over the winter and buys the treadmill on a whim. More often than not, he probably won’t last too long on the treadmill, especially without a training plan and accountability in place. By March the treadmill will be used as a coat rack and won’t see much action. The manufacturers’ plan on this to happen and is why these impulse treadmills can be sold for cheap since they are low quality and not made to last for the long hall.
However, if you are serious about running or walking you will put quite a few miles on a treadmill and want it to hold up to your workout demands. Precor, Spirit Fitness, and Bodyguard Fitness are a few of the companies who make quality treadmills especially for runners. When buying a treadmill to use for serious training here is a list of seven things to consider:
- Make sure the treadmill has a three-ply belt; anything less isn’t very thick and won’t last for a lot of miles.
- We suggest treadmills of at least a 3-HP continuous motor for running. Committed walkers may be able to get away with a slightly smaller motor but a durable motor is crucial for the longevity of the treadmill.
- Look for your treadmill to have a wide belt so you have plenty of room to run.
- If you can afford it, look to buy a commercial grade treadmill. Specifically built for durability and lots of miles, the commercial grade option will hold up to multiple years of training and provide a good return on your investment.
- To minimize the impact on your knees and joints, a good treadmill will offer some sort of cushion on the belt or deck. On certain treadmills Precor has their Ground Effects® and Integrated Footplant Technology™ for cushioning and stride support.
- Look for a treadmill that offers interval training. Set your speed, hill, or Galloway training workout in the treadmill and it will keep you on pace. Unlike running on the road a treadmill will never let you slack off unless you decide to stop completely.
- Another cool feature of a good treadmill for runners is a hear rate control. It will help to optimize your training by adjusting your workout accordingly to always keep your heart rate in its target range.
If you are looking for a treadmill bring your running shoes and shorts to Complete Runner and test out our selection of quality treadmills. We’ll answer all your questions and help you find the treadmill that fits your training needs and budget.