How Much Is a Mile on a Treadmill?

Running (or walking) on a treadmill is much different than running (or walking) outside. Are you just starting out with working out on a treadmill? Treadmills really are great exercise machines, but they do take some figuring out.

Should you use a preset fitness routine that is on the machine? Should you set a time limit? Should you set a distance limit? How much is a mile on a treadmill, anyway?

How does it calculate the measurement of the distance of your run? Whether you are working out in the outdoors or exercising on a treadmill though, they offer many of the same benefits.

Let’s say that you typically go for a mile run outside. First of all, that’s great! Second, while you can get a great workout on your treadmill, a treadmill run can be much different than hitting the road or a normal outdoor track for your run.

The biggest differences in the two types of exercises are that there is a lack of wind resistance that you would get outdoors, you won’t see any actual foot hills and let’s be honest, brisk walking just isn’t the same when you aren’t breathing fresh, outdoor air.

That’s not to say though that treadmill workouts aren’t a great way to get your workout in and get the health benefits of exercise.

Weight Loss with Treadmill Workouts?

If you are considering buying a treadmill, you may be asking yourself what seems like a million questions, especially if you are interested in treadmill workouts for weight loss. You may even be wondering the differences of treadmill vs bike (read that post) and if one is better than the other for losing weight.

woman on treadmill workout

Anyone who is a fitness enthusiast, working on weight loss, or someone who just wants to be able to get a good workout at home is likely familiar with treadmills. After all, in 2020 treadmill sales hovered over $1 billion dollars in the United States.

That is a lot of treadmills sold each year!

How Long Have Treadmills Been Around?

You may be surprised to hear this, but treadmills have actually been around for centuries. They began as work machines for agriculture and have even been used as penal punishment tools for criminals. However, they are now used exclusively for exercise and are great for overall health and fitness.

How Do Treadmills Work?

Treadmills typically have a fabric style belt with two rollers. This belt is operated by a motor that turns the belt which allows the user to walk, jog or run. For reference, treadmill motors tend to be up to 3 HP.

The electronics on treadmills offer the ability to change the incline of the treadmill, choose different speeds (fast pace, moderate pace, slower pace, etc.), timers to set the number of minutes, and more.

How Do Treadmills Measure Distance?

Typical treadmills measure distance by revolutions. This means that the machine will calculate the number of revolutions that the treadmill belt makes during your workout.

Each treadmill has a specific length of belt and the computer in the machine knows all of this info. That means that no matter how fast or slow you go or if you go on a long run or short, the machine will count just one revolution, leading to a very accurate distance measurement. 

treadmill in a gym

How Much is a Mile on a Treadmill?

A mile on a treadmill is the same as a mile on the road or track. The number of miles doesn’t change even if it may feel different.

Treadmill Lingo

If you are new to running or running on a treadmill, you have probably been hearing phrases such as tempo run or 10-minute mile. If you are wondering what these mean, here are some answers to your questions:

Tempo Run – Tempo run means to run at a sustained speed that is just about your anaerobic threshold. Running these tempo runs or “threshold runs” as they are also known, helps to teach your body to run for a long time. These workouts are great training tools for long distance runs such as marathons or half marathons.

10-Minute Mile – A 10-minute mile is just what it sounds like. You run at a pace which would allow you to complete a 1 mile run in 10 minutes.

What is a good speed for someone with a beginner fitness level?

If you are new to treadmill running, the ideal pace should be less than 3 miles per hour. Once you have a little bit of experience under your belt, you can expect that speed to increase to 5 miles per hour for running.

This is not a requirement though, you can go as fast or as slow as you need as treadmills allow you to adjust your mile pace to a speed that is comfortable for you.

Is There a Total Distance You Should Go on a Treadmill

While it’s a good idea to get at least 30-60 minutes of daily exercise, any amount of exercise is good! You can workout on your treadmill for a quarter of a mile to a half mile, to a mile or more. It’s up to you and how you are feeling that day. The finish line can be any distance treadmill users choose!

What Incline Should I Use on the Treadmill?

One important thing to note about treadmills is that the incline settings are not the “levels” of incline, but rather the percentage of incline. This is because that is how inclines are measured when we are discussing outdoor running or walking.

Keeping your incline levels at just 1% or 2% is ideal for creating a more realistic running experience as opposed to running on a flat treadmill. You definitely don’t need a steep incline to get a workout though, keeping the incline relatively low is the better way to go for a typical workout.

Are There Specific Treadmill Workouts I Should Do?

There are countless treadmill workouts out there. The specific workout you should do is dependent upon your goals. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to get stronger? Do you want to train for a future event?

All of these things would require specific exercises. I do already have some treadmill workouts available on this site. Here are just a few of them (or you can type “treadmill” into the search box at the top of this page and they’ll all show up on a page):

Effective Treadmill Workouts for Any Fitness Level

5 Treadmill Workouts for Overweight Beginners

How to do Interval Running for Beginners on the Treadmill

What is a HIIT Treadmill Workout

Treadmill Dumbbell Workout for a Total Body Workout

Do Treadmill Workouts Get Boring?

I suppose if you were to just walk or run for a long time while staring at a wall, a treadmill workout can get boring. As a matter of fact, that is one of the major things that makes it different from working out outdoors, the view.

On a treadmill though, you have the ability to watch a movie or TV show while you are exercising! I even know people who use the media tray to place their laptop so that they can work while working out. Talk about multi-tasking!

lady happy treadmill walking

How to Avoid Shin Splints When Exercising on the Treadmill

Shin splints are a natural issue when you are regularly exercising. Making sure to do a couple of things though can help you avoid them:

What to Look for When Buying a Treadmill

If you haven’t yet bought your treadmill, it’s a good idea to look out for certain features and functions in your new machine.

These include the following:

  • Heart rate monitor
  • Adjustable Incline
  • Adjustable speed
  • Quality, durable treadmill buttons
  • Multi-user profile settings
  • User reviews

Once you buy your machine, be sure and familiarize yourself with the company web site in case you find yourself with more questions down the road.

about stephanie

About Stephanie

Just an everyday stay at home mom who one day decided I didn’t want to become the stereotypical overweight, middle-aged, out of breath, mom anymore. One day at a time, one meal at a time, one workout at a time and I became the athlete I never knew existed. Read more...

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