Did you know that not all treadmills were created equal? 🙂 Unfortunately, some of the worst treadmills I have ever run on were in fairly decent-upscale hotels. One of them in particular (not naming names but it was a Hyatt in the Cincinnati area) was terrible. It would start and stop constantly, the readings were off, it started sparking – just some really bad machines!
Normally, if you pay a gym membership, you can expect the treadmills to be pretty good. But it is still good to know the treadmills and do a review on them if you plan on doing significant training on them. The readings you are getting on the screen may be off slightly and that could really mess up your training (can you imagine if it is messed up and shows that you ran 1.5 – 2 miles more on a long run than you really did?). It is ok if it is off, you just need to know so that you can plan/run accordingly.
While I am in Greece, I joined a club for a couple of months to get out of the heat (even though they do not have a/c) and get away from the traffic (which can be really bad). It was the only option and the treadmill I started on seemed to be okay (you can tell if you are running a particular pace if you have been running for a while). I got used to it and have already hit a few times.
The other night, I got there and there was someone else on MY treadmill. Now, there are three other treadmills but I had been told that MY treadmill was the best of them. I found out why. I got on one of the other ones and started getting the pace up. This one has the distance and pace in metric figures instead but I am pretty good with my conversions so I knew where I wanted to be. When I got to the right pace, it felt like I was just walking, so I kept kicking the pace up. I was planning on doing a recovery run of sorts that night and wanted to keep it around 8 minute per mile pace. This machine was definitely off! I snapped a picture of the stats before I jumped off it to take over MY treadmill as soon as it was vacated.
I actually had just dropped the pace from where I had been – I had been running “16.5 km/h”. 🙂 So, that means that it was saying that I had been running at a pace of 5 minutes and 51 seconds per mile! My overall distance covered in 23 minutes was 3.5 miles for an average pace of 6:31. Obviously, none of that was true (though it must be really cool to run those paces for recovery runs!)
So, don’t believe everything you see on the treadmill without checking it out. Know your treadmill! If you want a rough estimate if it is accurate, run with a GPS watch for .5 mile outside and then jump on the treadmill and set it to the same pace. Then see if your stride and pace feel the same. This is just a rough way to check it but it can at least give you an idea of how close the measurements are.