Running on a treadmill can seem like an easy solution to stay consistent with your training program. But what if you’re a speed athlete like a high-level sprinter or someone who loves to do interval training? Some types of training require running at higher speeds, but how fast can treadmills go, and can they handle it?
Treadmill speeds can vary quite a bit by manufacturer, size of the treadmill, and the design of the treadmill. They can also vary from very slow to quite fast depending on the goals of the treadmill manufacturer and the end-user. It’s important to check the range of speeds for any treadmill you want to utilize to make sure it fits your goals.
A treadmill speed can be important for sprinting athletes or even athletes that need to move fast in their respective sports. We’ll discuss how fast treadmills can go, average treadmill speeds among home treadmills and commercial treadmills, and call out the fastest treadmills on the market today.
How Fast Can Treadmills Go?
Treadmills can range in speed from 0mph to 28mph depending on the type of treadmill, motor size, design of the treadmill, and user preference. Treadmill speeds are adjustable, with top speeds ranging from around 10mph to 28mph for high-end units.
Home treadmills are generally lower powered and don’t go as fast as higher-powered units like commercial treadmills. For your average home treadmill, the top speed is going to top out at around 12mph. This is completely fine for most normal, recreational treadmill users.
The more budget-friendly units, that utilize smaller motors, can top out at 10mph. If high-end speed is important for you, and you’re in the market for a treadmill, I recommend you double-check the speed of the particular treadmill. Even some more expensive home treadmills don’t go faster than 12mph.
Professional athletes, and very fit people, may find this is not enough for certain types of training like fartlek or interval training. For reference, the fastest marathon runners in the world come in right around 2 hours (2:01:39 by Kenenisa Bekele at the Berlin Olympics in 2018) which puts their pace around 13mph. And that is over 26.2 miles.
Here is a quick reference for what your time would be in popular events while running at the max speed of the treadmill.
How Fast Can Different Types of Treadmills Go?
Home treadmills generally have lower top speeds than commercial treadmills or non-motorized units. With smaller motors and lower-grade materials, home treadmills don’t have the same range as the other models mentioned. That said, they are normally just fine for most people’s training goals and abilities.
Treadmill usage has remained relatively flat over the last 10 years with about 50 million to 60 million people owning home treadmills according to Statistica. That makes home treadmills the most popular option available. That said, home treadmills are generally lower speed than commercial treadmills due to many things:
- Smaller motors
- Lower-grade materials
- Budget-friendly design
Home treadmills are more economical, but they are perfectly sufficient for a beginner getting into running, someone who prefers to walk, or younger athletes that can’t run as fast as their adult counterparts.
Commercial treadmills are seen in gyms and health clubs and are built for more intense usage than home treadmills. They need to be durable to stand up to the rigors of daily use and typically have larger motors than home treadmills. This results in a treadmill that can reach higher speeds and offer a better range of speeds for users.
They also speed up and slow down faster, making training programs involving interval training or other speed-type work more comfortable. That said, they come with a few tradeoffs. They are much higher cost, heavier, bulkier, and less convenient.
Those things are less of a concern in a health club, but they can be purchased for home use as well for the serious runner.
Non-motorized treadmills are the most basic type of treadmill and don’t have an electric motor. These treadmills are pushed by the user and are often used in physical therapy settings or for people who want a low-impact workout.
While they don’t have an electric motor, they can still offer a range of speeds. Some of the more base models top out around 3mph to 4mph, but some high-performance curved models can reach much faster speeds. They do vary greatly, however, so it would be important to check with the manufacturer before pulling the trigger.
From my research, it isn’t always easy to find even on the manufacturer’s websites.
Treadmill Running Speeds: How Fast Should I Run on a Treadmill?
Most people walk or run at speeds below 12 mph on a treadmill. The average person runs at about 6 mph according to Harvard Health Publishing. That said, this is going to vary greatly by size, fitness level, and desire or ability.
I wrote an article on treadmill running speeds with a table of speeds and distances and how they compare to world records, it’s pretty interesting. Check it out here. It’s important to note that anytime you are running fast on a treadmill or pushing yourself to the max, the right gear is going to be critical. The last thing you want is an extra cushioned shoe or one without support that can cause an ankle or knee injury.
We’ve highlighted some of the best running shoes for treadmill use in this article that calls out the many important things to consider when looking to get serious about running on a treadmill.
How fast you run on a treadmill is going to be decided by what you are wanting to accomplish and how long you are going to be running. The longer you run, the slower you will run on average as the body gets tired, lactic acid builds up, and oxygen depletes causing you to slowly lose your ability to push hard.
These facts can be mitigated or reduced based on how you train and what types of muscle fibers you are promoting through your training.
Is 10mph on a Treadmill Fast?
10mph on a treadmill is a quick pace for most people. This is a six-minute mile pace that, if held for long enough, would allow you to complete a 5k in right around 31 minutes – a respectable time for most people. This is however only half as fast as the world record holder ran an entire marathon.
The average person running at 6mph is going to be pushing themselves quite hard. Most people aren’t conditioned to run for extended periods at that high of a speed, however, people who run regularly would find this an easy, maybe even jogging, pace.
There are not many people who need to be able to run at 20mph or more, but there are options available if you do fall into that small percentage of people currently (or have a goal to get there!)
Treadmills are a great way to get in a workout, and with the variety of speeds available, you can find one that fits your needs. Whether you’re just starting or looking to break a speed record, there’s a treadmill for you. How fast can treadmills go? Anywhere between 0mph and 28mph – and likely faster if you’re fast enough.
If you have specific goals in mind, make sure you use a treadmill that can help you reach those goals. A residential treadmill may be enough, or you may need a top-end curved treadmill, but either way, it’s always a good idea to know what you are after before you start making decisions along the way.