What’s the Best Treadmill For Running?

Running-on-the-treadmill-to-Running-OutdoorsOne of the questions we get a lot is: What is the best treadmill for running? It’s a good question, as not all machines are built for heavy use, and you don’t want to find out the hard way.

Before we get into our top picks, here is a brief overview of what you should be looking for as a runner…

Consider the Belt Itself

First and foremost, you need to have ample space to run, so a small, cramped belt is not going to cut it. Some of the less expensive treadmills have 55″ long belts…you want to look for at least 60″ in length and 20″ in width, which most of the better treadmills for running offer.

Also, since you are going to be pounding away at it, you need to have advanced cushioning in place that will absorb much of the impact and be easier on your joints. Lesser priced treadmills often skimp on cushioning so that’s something you have to look out for.

Lastly, you want a belt that is relatively maintenance free. The better treadmills for running offer belts that don’t need to be lubricated as often (or ever on some models) and can last tens of thousands of miles before you need to maintain them.

Motors, Speed and Incline

If you’re simply walking or jogging on your treadmill, you don’t necessarily need a strong motor. However, if you are running, you absolutely do. Look for at least a 3.0 Continuous Horsepower (CHP) motor, and even more powerful if you are very serious or if any of the users are on the larger/heavier size. And make sure the motor is high quality as well.

Entry level machines usually have a 10mph top speed, but the best treadmill for running is one with a top speed of 12mph or more, for those intense interval training sessions or just to push yourself to the limits. Although 10mph is fast, you don’t want to limit yourself.

Incline capability is a must for runners, as it mimics the feel of a true outdoor run, where you encounter various grades along your route (unless you run on a track). Most of the better treadmills for runners have at least a 12% power incline, which will add variety to your workout. A few even have decline capability which mimics running downhill.

Heart Rate Monitoring and Programs

Many of the runner’s treadmills are equipped with wireless heart rate capability, on top of the typical grip sensors, to offer more accurate heart rate readings. These are ideal for runners who want to be sure they are in a certain target zone. Some come with a free wireless chest strap, others do not.

The better treadmills also come with a wider variety of workout programs to choose from, including heart rate, distance, interval, time and hills, among others. This is a great way to change up your workout and achieve better results.

Some other considerations are workout tracking, interactive maps and videos, touch screens, app syncing and other tools that can make your workouts more effective and more enjoyable. Not all of them are must haves when it comes to the best treadmill for running, but they are nice bonus capabilities to have.

OK…so those are all of the considerations….and without further ado, here are our top picks:

Best Treadmills For Runners

#1: The NordicTrack Commercial 1750 – This is a great treadmill, and has made it to many of our Best Lists simply due to the fact that it has so much to offer at a very affordable price. You get a powerful 3.8 CHP motor, a 22″ x 60″ 2-ply belt, incline and decline, along with tons of workout programs, tracking capability and a free wireless chest strap. It ticks all of the boxes we mention above, without costing nearly as much as some of the other runner’s treadmills.

#2: The Sole F80 – Another great treadmill for runners, this one has a strong 3.5 CHP motor, advanced cushioning, a 22″ x 60″ deck, up to 15 levels of incline, free wireless chest strap and a very solid warranty. It’s around the same price as the 1750, and offers Bluetooth capability for app syncing.

#3: The Boston Marathon 3.0 – this one is a little more expensive than the others, at around $2500 on sale, but this is the epitome of the best treadmill for running, as that is specifically what it was designed for. You get a powerful 4.25 CHP motor, a 20″ x 62″ commercial belt, up to 20% incline and a whopping 6% decline, runner’s training videos and tons of specialized workouts.

The last one is probably for more serious runners, but we included it as an option in case you fall into that category. If not, the other two are great treadmills for runners who aren’t necessarily training for the Boston Marathon.

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