treadmill gradients

In relation to 'training-paces calculator' and treadmills:
I currently do a lot of training on a treadmill. I'm used to the idea of having the gradient at 1% to compensate for wind-resistance, but is there a formula for compensating for speed ? I wan to do some intervals at speeds of 18kph, but the mill in the gym won't go faster than 16kph. Is there a way uf upping the gradient to have the same effect as upping the speed ?


  • Hi
    most treadmills in the Gym don't go as fast as you can sprint, i tell my clients to input the time they want to run the tempo plus 2 minutes, this takes into account the machine gain speed. Use the cool down period as a recovery, if you can find it some treadmills have a repeat program. By upping the gradient all you are doing is adding a hill.
  • Personally, I hate treadmills and I hate gyms. Treadmills are exactly as they sound, sheer drudgery and their only advantage for me is that I can fit in some running on winter days at work, when I get back too late to run in the daylight after work. That is a personal response of course, but on a serious note, last winter I found pounding on the treadmill quite detrimental to my knees, a problem which cleared up when the clocks went forward and I was able to hit the outdoors again. I am dreading the sweaty tedium of the treadmill this winter!
  • misterP

    Try using a heart rate monitor - then you can get a measure of your effort and adjust the treadmill incline appropriately. The HRM enthusiasts say we should be basing efforts on HR rather then externally imposed limits, anyway.
  • Hi, My experiences of treadmills are pretty mixed. I do approx a 90% to 10% split in favour of outdoors. (i run approx 20 to 25miles a week). I find on dark evening's in the winter after i finish shift work that a treadmill is best for me. However i find after a reasonable run say 8 to 9k on a treadmill i feel as if i am running on jelly? and you can't beat dodging those dog egg's on pavement!
  • They're my hardest session
  • There is a table in Noakes which gives the cost in O2 and running speed for running up a gradient, its on page 60. Each 1% adds about 2.5-2.6 ml/kg/min or about 0.65 km/h.

    I only stumbled over this the other day as its not indexed so I added it manually to my index under 'gradient'.
  • Thinking of buying a treadmill. Anyone got any advice for me on which ones are any good?
  • I can't stand running on treadmills, I feel hemmed in by them. I do however use them for fat burning sessions. Tilt up to @2% then work at around 7.9 -8.0 Kph, its a fast walk (tabbing, as we say in the military). 30 mins at that pace maintaining your fat burning heart rate is a change from running, add some rowing and cycling, throw in some multi gym exercises (light weights, lots of reps, mainly upper body)and you have a good session!
  • i am the husband of R71.I had been running on treadmill for several months when the opportunity came to escort R71 for a few short slow run in town.(previously had problems with my knees but a long break,the proper shoe,sensible,gradual training and supplements hailed them,i belive.)now i am having the same problems again than a few years ago from running on pavements.up-down hill, camber of the in my opinion the TM might be the only and very benefical tool for running if you have already suffered-maybe repeatedly-injuries and can not find proper terrian,unfortunately.
  • Kym
    I used to hate them too.

    I now use tradmills through the winter for interval sessions of no more than 40 minutes. With an mp3 player to help, and the frequent changes of speed I find the boredom has been banished and I actualy quite enjoy them now.

    (Still can't wait for the lighter nights and fresh air in the evenings though)
  • Agree with Joe Volcano. Increasing the gradient is going to increase effort and therefore make the CVS and respiratory effort more efficient. As someone else said, like adding a hill instead of speed. Personally, I don't think there's much difference in hill training and speed training... either way you're increasing cardiorespiratory efficiency whichever way you do it. I think for 18kph though you'd be looking at having it set on 4-5% Not sure I'd be able to run on a treadmill set at that kind of gradient for any length of time. I'd personally prefer to find a decent sized hill and go do some kenyan hill repeats.
  • I'm quite lucky as my gym has 2 of these larger treadmills that are apparently designed for medical purposes (cardio testing etc?). These allow you to run up to 25-28km/hr with a 25% gradient. Unfortuantly, they feel rather springy like a trampolene when you run on them.
  • Mister P you could try this for a dreadie interval workout:

    Warm up first by running for 10 mins
    Select the maximum speed you could sustain a run at (run, not all-out sprint speed).
    Run at this speed for 2 mins.
    Next decrease the speed by 0.1 but increase the gradient by 0.5 (or the smallest increment on your machine).
    Run for one minute at these settings.
    Repeat the speed decrease and gradient increase for consecutive 1 minute intervals and see how long you can continue.

    It's a tough one but alleviates boredom.

  • I do a fair amount on a treadmill at my local gym, the equipment they use are the Life Fitness ones and with an mp3 player and variations of settings (like XL-man) I find them fine. Intervals are good, Cardio and Random. Today I used for the first time the Personal Trainer setting for a 5k and the gradients were excellent. Using my HRM, I made sure I wasn't going too far over my %
  • I do all my running on a treadmill but decided as I want to run a half marathon this year that I need to start running outside and get my joints accustomed to the harder surface. I ran outside a week ago and am still recovering!! What can I do?? I feel like a complete beginner outside but on a treadmill can run 9 miles. Would welcome some advice!
  • I've just come back to this forum after starting it all that time ago.

    The good news: Georgia's Dad - thanks, that's exactly what I wanted

    The bad news: I don't run as much as I used to, and don't run anywhere near as fast, so it's all fairly academic now - I can't hit 16kph in a 5k these days, where I used to looking at that sort of pace for a half-marathon.

    Thanks for everyone's interest

    RwandaMan (aka MisterP) 

  • I'd be a bit careful of going at the flat out speed of a treadmill for too long, I find they shake disturbingly if you pound them too close to the max.

    Tina, best advice is to train off-road as much as you can, as this will strengthen you and is far less stressful on the legs than road or even treadmill running, because the surface is uneven and so the leg isn't subjected to exactly the same forces on every step.  You won't be able to go as fast as you can on the TM, but it will make you fitter and better able to cope with the HM.

  • Tina

    I agree with JFB - off road running is far, far kinder on your legs and joints than pounding along the roads.

    Get a decent pair of offroad shoes (for grip) and off you go!

  • Treadmill, I could not manage without.  I am 66y old and suffer with quite a lot of arthritis and sore joints, I have an artificial hip which replaced the arthritic one ten years ago.  Running on the road a lot really causes quite a lot of pain, any 'efforts' on the road cause a lot of pain and or injury.  I find the best for me is to mix the treadmill work with the road or off-road. I do my long run on the road each week.  I will jog/walk with my dog for about 3m once or twice a week or when the evenings are light I will run with my club.  The remainder of my running is on the gym treadmill.  I use a minimum of 2% gradient and do a mix of intervals, tempo runs and 'hills' some of which are in the 'fell runner' style.  I do a Pilates session once or twice a week for the stretching and to help with mobility, and some core and (a little) upper body work.  I walk the dog each day and we do agility (that's the dog not me).  I find this keeps me fit enough to do a half marathon (sub 2h) or a 10K (sub 55m) each month so although very slow I get what I want from my sport and am able to enjoy running with other club members.  I am also tired most of the time except when I rest for a few days before a race when I feel great.  Older runners with similar problems might find that less road and more of the treadmill could keep them going for a few more years rather than give up.

  • Cam someone explain to me why my times are quicker on the road than the treadmill.. For example I do 40 minutes on the Treadmill I do 5 miles approx, but for example if I ran a 10km race I would complete that around 40 minutes... It seems the treadmill is slower than my road speed.

     is this correct ?

    am I going mad ?

  • No idea?

    Is the treadmill calibrated correctly?

     Are you slower on any treadmill or one in particular?

  • I am always slower on whatever treadmil... it is uncanny. I reckon I am 30 secs slower...
  • Hi all runners. I have just started to use a treadmill to start getting a little fitter and any advice about treadmill running would be great. I had double transplant last year and have had smashed kneecap 18 months so my health not too good (but getting better) I really stuggle outdoors but find it more comfortable on a tread mill. i really love my running how do i make a success switch from treadmill to outdoor running.
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