By Simon Gould
Unlike running outside, on a treadmill you can set your speed and stick to it. You won’t go faster or slower if you don’t change the speed up or down. This is great if you want to commit yourself to doing a certain average running speed for weight loss or as part of training for a race. By knowing your speed you can see how long it would take you to run a mile for example.
What is a good treadmill speed for some may not be good for others Comparing yourself on a treadmill with others is never a good idea. Whether it’s the speed you read online or the person on the treadmill next to you is going so much faster. Forget them, concentrate on your own goals and you’ll get to those goals more successfully.
Treadmill speed for walking, jogging and running
A question amongst beginners is often what speed is jogging and what is running. Here we’ll investigate. Walking begins at any speed above 0. If the treadmill is moving no matter how fast to begin with then you’re walking. Although jogging will come into it soon.
- Walking speed is 0.1 mph to 4 mph (0.1 km/h to 6.4 km/h)
Jogging is that zone between walking and running, you’re actively lifting your feet above the ground but not going very fast. Jogging is when the exercise gets a lot harder to maintain. That’s why it’s such good exercise and is classed as vigorous physical activity by the CDC. Whereas brisk walking the CDC calls moderate physical activity.
- Jogging speed is 4 mph to 6 mph (6.4 km/h to 9.6 km/h)
Remember jogging and running is different for different people. Someone who is very tall and has a long stride will still be jogging at 6 mph whereas someone shorter with a small stride will be running fast at 6 mph. It’s what works for you and not what the speed is called. However actual running is the goal of many runners and it does look good on the treadmill when someone is running.
- Running speed is 6+ mph (9.6+ km/h)
Treadmill speeds for beginners
If you’re a beginner on a treadmill, make sure you get the ok from a doctor, especially if you’re overweight or older. You’ll want to start off slowly and sometimes that may mean walking. Brisk walking on a treadmill incline can be quite strenuous exercise. But you don’t have to do that in the beginning. Just make sure you feel as though you’re breathing slightly heavier than normal to start off with.
For those who’ve exercised before and you feel you could handle it. You could start off with a gentle jog. As long as you’re lifting your feet off the treadmill. For most that will be around 5 mph. This may seem slow, but do it for 5 or 10 minutes and you’ll soon start feeling it. As the weeks go by, you can extend the length of time.
You can stay walking if you like for the walkers out there. You can try some variety by adding incline and making the exercise harder. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll be doing your health a lot of good as long as you keep doing it consistently. For the joggers out there, once you have developed a level of fitness which is after about 6 weeks, there are all kinds of routines you can do on the treadmill.
For the joggers and runners you could try interval training, speed work. It very much depends on your aims. I just run for 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week at 5.2 mph to maintain my health and because it makes me feel so good. When I was younger, I used to train on my treadmill to prepare for races. It’s totally up to you. You may be aiming for weight loss and for that, a treadmill is a great choice.
Treadmill speed by age
We get slower as we age. There are studies that prove this. There’s a reason you don’t see 40+ year olds in athletic competitions like the Olympics. Football players often retire in their 30’s. They lose their pace in the latter part of their career.
In my 20’s, during a normal run on my treadmill, I would go at treadmill pace of 6.2+ mph. I’m 46 now and I go at 5.2 mph and I feel I’m exerting the same amount of effort. I couldn’t maintain a faster speed anymore and that’s ok. Remember to run or walk at a pace that’s comfortable for you. It’s not a competition. Even athletes will do most of their runs at a comfortable pace to maintain their fitness and get the miles in.
I’m not going to recommend a certain average running speed mph for a certain age because we’re all different. An overweight 50 year old male will go at a different speed than a slim 50 year old female. They may have different aims for their exercise too. My one recommendation when it comes to treadmill speed by age is don’t go so fast that you’re exhausted at the end of your routine. Because you won’t stick with it and it’s too much.
So if you’re 50 years old, you’re probably going to be slower than your 30 year old neighbor or work colleague. Don’t let anyone else turn your speed into some sort of competition. It’s very much an individual thing. As long as you’re accomplishing your goals, that’s what’s most important.
Treadmill speed chart
Whatever treadmill speeds you use, whether it’s mph or km/h, you’ll be exerting the same amount of effort. For example, 5 mph is the same speed as 8 km/h. We created this treadmill pace chart for you to review.
|mph||km/h||minutes per mile||minutes per km|
Speed is not important, time is
Unless you’re training for a race and/or doing some speed training, the speed you’re going shouldn’t really be important. This is especially the case for a beginner. If you’re just starting out exercising then you need to get used to the treadmill and your body needs to get used to the exercise. Set a speed to something comfortable but still causes heavy breathing.
For a beginner the time spent exercising is far more important than speed. A 20 minute jog is a valuable day of exercising whereas a 3 minute fast run is not. It’s not a competition. If you walk at the moment and that causes heavy breathing then keep doing that for a good period of time.
If you want to get started running then we have a couch to 5k walk/run schedule that begins very slowly and gets you running for 30 minutes per day in 9 weeks.
Your purpose of exercising
As we said before, if you’re training for a race then knowing and sticking to your speed is important to get the time you want. If you’re a beginner and want to get healthy and lose weight then you need to log time or miles on the treadmill.
More calories are burned the longer you can keep exercising. The CDC recommends 30 minutes of brisk walking or 15 minutes of jogging per day, 5 days a week. This sounds a lot and will take time to work up to. For health and weight loss you’ll succeed far more if you choose a speed you can stick to and perform regularly. I’ve taken it to the extreme in my own weight loss goals.
If you see my progress, I’m running (jogging) at 5.2 mph and working up to doing that for 30 minutes a day and the weight is falling off. I couldn’t run any quicker and maintain it or a period of time. Weight loss is what I wanted so time is the important factor. I now do the same routine to maintain my health.
So a good treadmill speed is one that you can keep up with. Whether you want to call it running, jogging or walking as long as it’s helping you achieve your goal then it doesn’t matter. If you run at home or in a gym keep going and progress, walk or run that little bit further every week then you’ll be able to achieve what you want. Your treadmill speed will be secondary.
While you’re on a treadmill then take advantage of it’s features. Get the fan on and use the water bottle holders. The aim of most of us is to get fit and healthy and some to lose weight. The treadmill is ideal and people of all ages and sizes can use one. Try and keep exercise as part of your normal routine so you can stick to it. You will be getting so many health benefits from your efforts.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*