Treadmill, should I, shouldn't I?

Sort of a newbie runner, 54 and run a slow 30-50 miles a week. I'll be doing my first Marathon at the end of the month and after recovery plan on following the HADD phase 1 plan (properly this time though its difficult on these hills).

I'm in the Inner Hebrides and will shortly be moving to a more remote part of the Island (though probably flatter) and worried that inclemant weather will stop me running outside. I'm thinking about buying a treadmill both to let me run on (very) bad days and also allow me to run on the flat to better guage times, my average 10 miler has a 12-1500 foot incline (and decline of course).

Should I, shouldn't I buy one? am going to save up and should have £1k (Max) by December - thoughts, suggestions folks?



  • Andi, treadmills seem to have a bit of a marmite thing about them on RW. Personally I love the treadmillimage

    I took to them last winter  due to a combination of reasons (weather, impact injuries from roads, accident on ice, nowhere to do my intervals etc)

    I use them mainly to do intervals and threshold runs. They are a great tool for this.

    Sounds like you will be wanting them more for even paced runs. I do use them for this, and provided I have a bit of entertainment, I don't mind running anything from a 5 miler through to a full marathon.

    If you have access to a treadmill now, it would be worth doing a few sessions on it that you would have done in the 'real world' - some people can't stand the boredom aspect.

    The other thing to consider is heat. Anyway of cooling you down (aircon / fans / located in outdoor building etc) will help get better long termus out it. Luckily I have a gym down the road with reasonable aircon.

  • I run slightly slower on the treadmill, probably through boredom or heat, but they are great for when you can't get out to run. No hills, no traffic, no dogs and softer. Had mine nearly 10 years.

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    I use treadmills fairly often. I think if you are just knocking out 10 solid miles it can be a bit tough, however I use them mainly for my tempo running.

    When I have tried it outdoors here due to incline/declines I find it impossible to sit at the right paces consistently. Obviously if you are doing a threshold tempo it's important to sit at the right pace. The treadmill sorts this aspect out. Also I can run a lot further on one if i am breaking up a session such as the above compared to steady running.

    So for me, yes they are an important piece of kit.

  • I´ve been using one this summer as I´ve been working short-term in Qatar and, as you can imagine, running outside is a bit limited due to the high heat. It´s ok, a means to an end. I seem to run slower on it compared to running outside back home. I´ve also found it more difficult mentally to keep going but am getting better at that now. It certainly helps to have some entertainment. Putting it on an incline of 1% seems to replicate the effort of running outdoors on the flat.

  • Txs Also-Ran, am going down to that London at the weekend and the Hotel has a Gym so will try a session on one and yup, even I have been known to call them dreadmills and used to warm up for squash on one. The models I've looked at have fans but also have a large fan I could place in front/behind me. Oh, I love Marmite btw image

    Tota, 10 years sounds like a decent life for a treadmill, what do you have? I was under the impression people ran faster on a treadmill but understand the heat/boredom bit.

    DT19, sounds just like my situation and hopefully will help me out. I did a HM last month and it was mainly flat - probably caused me as much harm as people that encounter hills when they normally run on the flat lol

    Neil, interesting that you also run a little slower on the treadmill, I'd always read that it's the other way around when people switch from treadmill to road. Am sure Qatar must be a hard place to run in even early/late in the day.

    Thanks for the thoughts/tips folks.

  • Horizon Fitness Omega I think. I do most of my running outdoors and I've often used gym machines instead while I've been at the club, but it's been well worth the money. I thought people ran faster on treadmills too, but I run 5% faster or so outside. No TVs to watch or air-con at home I suppose.

  • Horizon Elite 507 gets my vote - Had one for 6 years, good piece of kit.  The company completely replaced the machine 6 months ago as the incline motor separated from the frame - thank goodness for the lifetime frame and motor guarantee.  The company was very good in dealing with this and I had a replacement in no time, otherwise no problems with this machine.  It cost £999 when I bought it, not sure what it is now, got it from Fitness Superstore online, they also were good to deal with.  Just my 2 cents input for what it's worth.


  • If you're not the quickest, look at the Reebok iRun - max speed is 14 km/h.

    Good build quality, reliable, and folds away when you don't need it out.

    I've sold mine now, but there's plenty of used examples under £200 on eBay.

    Obviously better and pricier models are available, but it might be worth a look to see how you get on with it.

    If you buy one for £180 and don't like it, it'll hold that value for resale.

    On the treadmill point, I started on one in winter and then worked my way outdoors as my fitness improved, my distances lengthened and the weather warmed up. 

  • I can't help on which model to go for. I did look seriously into getting one at the beginning of the year. Two of the key features I needed were folding and 12mph speed - this really narrowed down what was available at the time I was looking. But then a gym opened up a mile down the road ...

    I was also looking for programmability, but to be honest having a button to switch between jog and run speed is enough. I put all intervals onto my garmin, and that combined with a footpod works really well. I have about 20 treadmills to use at the gym - using the garmin means I don't need to worry about a particular machine being calibrated wrongly - just go by the garmin pace.

  • Although have used treadmills myself. I think it one of these things you have to try and find out first before you buy. Personally  I think there is difference inpact from running on both surfaces.

    So see if you can try one before you b

  • Thanks again folks, all good advice image Ghost rider, interestingly the Horizon Elite 507 is still £999. It looks like a good bit of kit but would presume it's been updated in 6 years? Am also only considering the lifetime frame/motor models as well.

    Tota, even with an incline on the treadmill I'll probably run faster inside, well, pacing will be better anyway as to start won't be hitting hills lol.

    Txs Ivor, used might be a route to follow though wouldn't want to get stung.

    Also Ran, cheers and yup, think I'll use my garmin as well, in fact, might dedicate the 305 to the treadmill image

    Looked into a downhill function but doesn't look viable and nothing would go down to 10% so will save that for outside.

  • +1 for the Horizon 507 Elite

    I've had mine six years too, and run close to 4000 miles on it. It's a top quality home treadmill with a nice long running deck if you have long legs.

  • I love running on a treadmill.   You can't beat it for speed work especialy on a wet and windy day.

  • Waccy, I recommend you move the treadmill indoors image

  • I HATE my 'effin' dreadmill' as I call it, however there are times when it's that or nothing, especially in the winter. I also use it for speedwork because I'm not disciplined enough to be able to keep at it outside - too many distractions/potholes.

    I have a Roger Black Gold, bought it second hand from a neighbour who had used it twice and hated it. It's a robust and large machine, I have it outside in a shed as it's cooler out there. I used to have a telly to watch out there as well until we lost the analogue signal, now I have to make do with radio/mp3 or listen to birdsong!!

  • Running on treadmills is as dull as dishwater compared to running outside.  My advice would be to run outdoors, to experience the full pleasure of your sport.  Running in the rain and coming home looking like a drowned rat, with mud up to your knees, is fun believe it or not.  It is daunting at first, but you will not be uncomfortable if you keep moving. 

  • I am thinking of getting a treadmill to for variety... for me space is the main question because in our 'home gym' (= horrible lean to), the space is taken already all up by an exercise bike (very good, i use often) and a cross trainer (not so good, use less but but ok in winter). I suppose I could reclaim part of the garage...

  • I'm one of the haters I'm afraid. I get terminally bored on them in a very short space of time.

    I would rather wrap up warm and head out in the elements. I had some great runs last winter in the snow and rain, really challenging but varied, often pretty and exhillarating. 

  • Got one 2nd hand from a colleague, was very handy last winter, a bit dull but I have a boombox in the garage and it sure beats hypothermia or a broken wrist.Also snacks + wc are always close at hand. 

  • Ben Davies 15 wrote (see)

    Running on treadmills is as dull as dishwater compared to running outside.  My advice would be to run outdoors, to experience the full pleasure of your sport.  Running in the rain and coming home looking like a drowned rat, with mud up to your knees, is fun believe it or not.  It is daunting at first, but you will not be uncomfortable if you keep moving. 

    Yes,running in all weathers is such fun. My favourite this year was an icy 20 miler. How the hospital staff laughed image

     Sometimes you need to get your key sessions run and there are occasions when the great outdoors isn't that great.

  • Ha, you don't even have to go out in icy conditions -I've got a very similar photo of my other half...Just tripped over at the end of an 8 mile run poor soul. 

  • Also-ran

    I run outside in all weather conditions, and at every time of year, and consider myself richer for the fact.  If it is icy underfoot then I simply confine myself to trails.  The range of weather conditions we encounter is just another variable that makes our sport more interesting/fulfilling.  Instead of avoiding bad weather, people should just embrace it. 

  • We are not all as tough (or MAD image ) as you though Ben!!! 

  • I think of you as falling into the tough/mad category Fido!

    You don’t get to run Comrades twice then call other people mad!

  • It's on road! It's warm! There are aid stations every 2 miles!


    I got one last year, also the 507 which works fine does rattle a bit which is a bit annoying. I don't really like the tready as much as outside and haven't used it much during the summer however it is great as an alternative.

    I work shifts and mostly run with friends but if I don't fancy running in the dark on my own in the winter it is useful.

    There are interval sessions on it which take the boredom away. The longest I have managed is 6 miles.

    Also Andi if you are doing Hadd then it is easy to set a pace and stick to it.


  • In Running Training Magazine  it states that meditation is great for long distance running, although there are many people that do not practice this method. It is how ever many peoples form of running long distance running witnout losing aim and quality of performance. So treadmill  mill running should include this form of mental attitude to be successful.

  • Flo Po wrote (see)


    I got one last year, also the 507 which works fine does rattle a bit which is a bit annoying. 


    It sounds like yours may not have been assembled properly, because mine certainly doesn't rattle like that.

    When assembling the treadmill ensure you use a sealant, such as locktite "lock and seal" on each of the screws. This prevents vibrations from working the screws loose.

    If it's something else, it might be worth giving Horizon a call to get it fixed.

  • Tenjiso thanks for that I really must do something about it.

    My hubby put it together for me and he is no Handy Andy!

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    Ben- Running on a treadmill need not be that dull. I love outdoor running however in my gyum the tmills have built in sky sports so you could easily lose yourself in that, plus they do help with the more specific side of training ie intervals and tempos, especially if no track is available. As I said earlier in the thread, if I am doing a pyramid tempo, with warm up and cool down I can cover 10 miles without concentrating on anything but my paces.

    Don't get me wrong, on a steady run 20 mins is all I can handle on one though.

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