TreadmillReviews

Best Treadmills for Serious Runners

Best Treadmill for Serious Runners Man Running Fast on Treadmill

Top by Category

Best Cushioning – Sole ST90
Best for Tall Runners – Life Fitness Platinum Club Series
Best on a Budget – Precor TRM 835
Best Incline Treadmill – NordicTrack X32i
Best for Sprint Training – Assault AirRunner
Best Programming – Freemotion t10.9b Reflex
Best Warranty – Landice L7
Best for Limited Space – FreeStride Trainer FS14i

Serious runners primarily look for treadmills with ample workout space, advanced cushioning, and high top speeds. After that, there’s plenty of room for personal preference. Most treadmills for runners nowadays have power ramps to help approximate training on real terrain. The best runners’ treadmills are especially varied in terms of workout programming and entertainment features.

Below is a list of top treadmills for marathoners and other serious runners. This list is followed by a look at treadmills part-by-part . You can learn even more about comparing treadmills by reading our complete treadmill buyers’ guide.

How Treadmills Were Selected for This List

Every treadmill that’s made our list for serious runners has been heavily researched and hand-tested when possible to give you a good idea of what to expect if you decide to buy. As someone who has trained for everything from sprints to marathons, I understand the importance of each metric relative to the type of training you love.

In this roundup, I’ve considered premium features including motor size, incline/decline, speed, special programming options, warranty, and integrated technology. Each product is assessed without bias as some treadmills are simply better for certain types of training than others.

1. Best Cushioning – Sole ST90

Sole ST90 Treadmill Best Cushioning
Where to buy Sole ST90
Where to buy Sole ST90

 

Among the most common sports issues suffered by avid athletes are meniscal and anterior cruciate ligament injuries. If you train hard, you’re hard on your body. The Sole ST90 features a unique construction that allows you to modify your cushioning with its slat belt. Unlike a standard treadmill belt that attaches to a deck platform, the ST90 incorporates the use of thick rubber slats that rotate along with the belt. The added thickness and cushioning reduces the impact of each stride while increasing the safety of your workout.

Whether knee issues have already manifested, or you fear your frequency and distance put you at risk, the cushioning you’ll experience on the ST90 treadmill is ahead of the curve. I’m loving that Sole affords you the opportunity to challenge yourself despite possibly suffering with joint issues. With a top speed of 12.5 mph and incline of up to 15%, your training variables exceed average expectations.

Not sure what to do with the endless training options such a diverse range of speed and incline opens up? The Sole ST90 treadmill is designed to integrate with the popular Studio fitness app. Sure, it costs $19.99 per month, but, considering an average gym monthly membership runs around $58, this is an excellent value. Access to over 3,000 boutique fitness classes on and off the treadmill led by world-class instructors is yours in the comfort of home.

Check out Brian’s full review of the Sole ST90 treadmill.

 

ProsCons
  • Excellent cushioning with slat belt
  • Built-in programs and app integration options
  • Generous incline and speed range
  • Heavy
  • Short warranty

Key Specs

Motor2.0 CHP
Incline0 — 15%
Running Area20″ x 60″
FoldingNo
Top Speed12 MPH
Weight Capacity330 LBS
Dimensions70″ L x 33.5″ W x 65″ H
Screen10.1? TFT-LCD touch panel
Warranty5-Years Frame, 1-Year Parts, 1-Year Labor

2. Best for Tall Runners – Life Fitness Platinum Club Series

Life Fitness Platinum Club Series Best for Tall Runners
Where to buy Life Fitness Platinum Club Series
Where to buy Life Fitness Platinum Club Series

 

Are you taller than average? Many athletes are, and a roomy treadmill belt will make all the difference in your ability to maximize your workouts. With the Life Fitness Platinum Club Series Treadmill, you’re covered with a running area of 60″ x 22″. Whether you’re speed-walking in between interval sessions or maxing out the machine’s 12 mph top speed, you’ll have plenty of room for long strides.

Upon purchase, you have options when it comes to the console, and this allows you to assess what level of tech you need to make your workouts more enjoyable. Unlike many consoles that restrict use to a specific fitness app, the Platinum Club Series treadmill allows you to access TV, internet, fitness apps and interactive workout courses. If you prefer preset workouts, built-in programs are available including Rolling Hills and Hill, multiple fit tests, calorie burn workouts, distance goal workouts, and more.

Not many treadmills on the market consider your decor as part of the manufacturing process. When you order your Platinum Club series treadmill, you have a unique choice of Arctic Silver, Black Onyx, Diamond White and Titanium Storm (a dark gray).

See my detailed review of the Life Fitness Platinum Club Series.

ProsCons
  • Roomy running deck
  • Choice in color
  • Durable rollers
  • 42 built-in programs
  • 10-inch step-up height
  • Restrictive return policy

Key Specs

Motor4.0 HP
Incline0 — 15%
Running Area22″ x 60″
FoldingNo
Top Speed12 MPH
Weight Capacity400 LBS
Dimensions80″ L x 37″ W x 64″ H
ScreenDepends on console selected
WarrantyLifetime Frame, Motor, Deck; 10 Years Electronics & Parts; 1- Year Labor

3. Best on a Budget – Precor TRM 835

Precor TRM 835 Best on a Budget
Where to buy Precor TRM 835
Where to buy Precor TRM 835

Shopping for a treadmill for serious running requires an investment. Some of the products on this list are pretty pricey, and you get what you pay for. Repetitive running, especially at fast speeds and steep inclines, takes a toll on your treadmill. With that being said, the Precor TRM 835 is a solid machine for under $3,500.

This treadmill has a lot going for it to ensure it’ll hold up under intense training conditions. For starters, it features a 420 lb. weight limit, indicating it can function under pressure. A larger roller size means a better grip on the belt. We like to see 2.5-3 inches, and the TRM 835 goes above and beyond at 3.5 inches. The solid, alloy steel construction is built to last. For the sticker price, you’re getting a well-built machine capable of serious training.

If you’re a runner who likes to push your limits, you’ll be a big fan of the 16 mph top speed. Where most products top out at 10-12 mph, the TRM 835 is sure to get your heart rate up. Best of all, you’re covered with a generous lifetime warranty on the frame, which shows Precor stands behind the quality of the treadmill.

Learn more about the Precor TRM 835 in my detailed review.

ProsCons
  • 16 mph top speed
  • Low cost for premium treadmill
  • 25 built-in programs
  • Incline and decline
  • Not compatible with Apple or Android devices

Key Specs

Motor4.0 HP
Incline-3 — 15%
Running Area22″ x 60″
FoldingNo
Top Speed16 MPH
Weight Capacity420 LBS
Dimensions83″ L x 35″ W x 62″ H
ScreenP30 LED Screen
WarrantyLifetime Frame and Welds, 10 Years Electronics & Parts

4. Best Incline Trainer – NordicTrack X32i

NordicTrack X32i Treadmill Best Incline Trainer
Where to buy NordicTrack X32i
Where to buy NordicTrack X32i

Walking or running on an incline takes your treadmill training to new levels. Aside from the fact you can torch 70% more fat than running on a level surface, incline training increases activation of the glutes, hamstrings, and calves. This provides an excellent way to sculpt your physique while reaping the cardiovascular benefits of using a treadmill.

If you plan to use incline frequently and/or run at fast speeds, it’s important to invest in a product that’ll hold up to the demand. The NordicTrack X32i is built to hold up to the test. Capable of achieving an industry-leading 40% incline, it’s matched with a 300 lb. weight limit and 4.25 CHP motor that can keep you training for the long-term. It even allows for a -6% decline, which means you can further your training with downhill simulation.

The NordicTrack X32i is hefty at 462 lbs. This is to be expected for a treadmill made to hold up under the most intense training conditions. Be prepared to have someone on hand to help with assembly. You will have the option to pay $299 for in-home delivery in the room of your choice.

Check out my in-depth review of the NordicTrack X32i.

ProsCons
  • Industry-leading incline variables
  • Spacious running deck
  • Self-cooling
  • Large screen tends to wobble at high speeds

Key Specs

Motor4.25 CHP
Incline-6 — 40%
Running Area22” x 65”
FoldingNo
Top Speed12 MPH
Weight Capacity300 LBS
Dimensions76.5″ L x 40″ W x 73″ H
Screen32-inch HD touchscreen
Warranty10-Years Frame, 2-Years Parts, 1-Year Labor

5. Best for Sprint Training – Assault AirRunner

Assault AirRunner Best Treadmill for Sprinting
Where to buy Assault AirRunner
Where to buy Assault AirRunner

If your fitness goals include improving speed and building muscle mass, you’ll definitely want to check out the Precor Assault AirRunner. It’s not your run-of-the-mill cardio machine in that it doesn’t have a motor. Rather, it relies on the level of energy you’re putting forth to determine the speed. The best news is, it’s capable of supporting speeds up to 20 mph.

Rather than a motorized treadmill that requires you to repeatedly press buttons to change speeds, the AirRunner’s belt responds directly to your cadence, allowing you to set the pace instantaneously. Furthermore, the longer stride associated with faster sprints aren’t well supported on shorter track lengths. Most treadmills cap out at 60” when it comes to belt length, but the Assault AirRunner comes in at 62.2”.

Sprints aren’t meant to be sustained for long periods. Average sprints only last seconds. That’s where the benefits of the non-motorized belt really come into play. Lag time for deceleration on a motorized machine can impact the quality of your sprint, and it’s not a realistic training simulation for competition.

See our detailed review of the Precor Assault AirRunner.

ProsCons
  • Lightweight since there’s no motor
  • Durable construction
  • Can sustain speeds up to 20 mph
  • Narrow running deck

Key Specs

Motorn/a
InclineCurved
Running Area17.1” x 62.2”
FoldingNo
Top SpeedUser-Controlled; Max 20 MPH
Weight Capacity350 LBS
Dimensions69.9″ L x 32.8″ W x 64″ H
Screenn/a
Warranty5-Years Frame, 3-Year Parts, 1-Year Labor

6. Best Programming –  Freemotion t10.9b Reflex

Freemotion t10.9b Reflex Treadmill Best for
Where to buy Freemotion t10.9b Reflex
Where to buy Freemotion t10.9b Reflex

Let’s face it. It takes work to come up with a workout regimen geared to meet specific goals. As a serious runner, you likely have a highly-targeted objective. Are sprints the right route? Maybe low intensity, steady state is the way to go. Will incline training help you meet your goals? How long should your sessions be? With the Freemotion t10.9b Reflex treadmill, you won’t have to get a personal training certification to get it right.

While many treadmills feature a handful of built-in programs, the t10.9b is packed with 43 workouts targeted to specific types of training. This means the treadmill does all the work for you in changing speed and incline, and workouts are timed according to the specified training style.

If you prefer to use higher technology to take your fitness to advanced levels, iFit programming is also available. With a membership, you’ll gain access to thousands of workouts that take you from your home gym to some of the most beautiful and challenging terrains across the globe.

See Brian’s detailed review of the Freemotion t10.9b Reflex.

ProsCons
  • 43 built-in programs
  • iFit enabled
  • Powerful motor
  • No large touchscreen for iFit training
  • Heavy

Key Specs

 

Motor5.0 CHP
Incline15%
Running Area22” x 60”
FoldingNo
Top Speed12 mph
Weight Capacity400 LBS
Dimensions87.7″ L x 34″ W x 66″ H
Screen15.6″ HD screen
Warranty7-Years Frame, 2-Year Parts, 6-Months Labor

7. Best Warranty –  Landice L7

Landice L7 Treadmill Best Warranty
Where to buy Landice L7
Where to buy Landice L7

Buying a high-quality treadmill is nerve wrecking. You’re about to spend a lot of money, and you want to work with a company that backs the quality of their products. The Landice L7 treadmill stands above and beyond. Landice products are protected by the only warranty in the industry that covers parts for the life of your treadmill. This in itself is evidence the L7 is built to stand the test of time.

Whether you train for long-distance events, intervals, or anything in-between, the aircraft-grade aluminum frame is built to meet your needs. If you’re over six feet tall, the 60-inch running track may be a little cramped. In your case, you might consider the L8 model. Although it’s an extra $1,000, that added investment buys you an extra 2” x 3” of running space and 100 pounds of additional weight capacity.

Landice understands tech preferences vary, and that’s why you get to choose from three consoles at checkout. Each offers different options in preset workouts, multi-user functionality, and screen sizes. Although none of the options feature a large touchscreen, the optional VESA-D bracket is capable of supporting a monitor up to 19-inches.

See my in-depth review of the Landice L7.

ProsCons
  • Made in the USA
  • Lifetime parts warranty
  • Above-average cushioning
  • Labor only free for one year
  • Heavy

Key Specs

Motor4.0 CHP
Incline0 — 15%
Running Area20″ x 60″
FoldingNo
Top Speed12 MPH
Weight Capacity400 LBS
Dimensions76.5″ L x 35″ W x 60″ H
ScreenDepends on console chosen
WarrantyLifetime Frame, Lifetime Parts, 1-Year Labor

8. Best for Limited Space –  FreeStride Trainer FS14i

NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS14i Best Space-Saving Cardio Trainer
Where to buy FreeStride Trainer FS14i
Where to buy FreeStride Trainer FS14i

When shopping for a treadmill for serious runners, it’s important to keep in mind they often take up more space than a less-durable product. This typically means they’re larger and don’t fold. If you live in a small space or already have a lot of equipment in your home gym, the FreeStride Trainer FS14i by NordicTrack is worth a look. Full disclosure, it’s not a treadmill, but it serves as a comparable alternative that packs in additional features that can take your training to more advanced levels.

Combining the functionality of the elliptical, stepper, and treadmill, the FreeStride Trainer is considered a “3-in-1” cardio machine. If you’re specifically looking for a treadmill capable of simulating the terrain and mechanics of race day, this machine isn’t for you. I’d refer you to #4 in our list with the NordicTrack X32i. With that being said, if a cardio machine capable of providing a sweat-inducing workout without overwhelming your home gym’s limited space, the FS14i has a footprint of just 58.5”L x 29.5”W.

Opting for a space-saving treadmill comes at the cost of a smaller running deck, and this works against serious training at high speeds. This is especially true for tall runners. The FS14i features a 32″ auto-adjustable stride length, and the multi-functionality allows you to mix up your training in ways you simply can’t with a treadmill. This includes incorporating upper-body sculpting and a generous incline range of -10%-10%.

Check out Brian’s in-depth research of the NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS14i.

ProsCons
  • 3-in-1 machine
  • Small footprint
  • No impact on joints
  • Adjustable stride not ideal for interval training

Key Specs

Motorn/a
Incline-10 — 10%
Running Arean/a
FoldingNo
Top Speedn/a
Weight Capacity375 LBS
Dimensions81″ L x 36.0″ W x 60.0″ H
Screen14” HD Touchscreen
Warranty10-Years Frame, 2-Years Parts, 1-Year Labor

Want to compare these models to see which one is best for you? Try our comparison tool. To use it, just check off any treadmill you want to look at in more detail, and then click ‘compare’. Learn more about what to look for when shopping for a new home treadmill below.

What to Look for in the Best Treadmill for Serious Runners

How did we choose the best treadmills for runners? Here are some key qualities we look for when writing our treadmill reviews.

Powerful Motors

Serious runners need treadmills with belt motors that can handle high speeds, respond quickly to speed adjustments, and operate for long time periods without overheating. The standard for residential treadmills is 3.0 continuous horsepower (CHP), but serious runners should opt for cardio trainers with even more capacity. Products on our “best treadmills for serious runners” list have 4.0 CHP or higher.

High Top Speeds

The most common top speeds in this industry are 10 mph for walkers’ treadmills and 12 mph for runners’ treadmills. Serious runners often want even higher top speeds. Options with up to 16 mph are featured in our picks.

Advanced Deck Cushioning

Compared with walkers, serious runners are especially advised to choose treadmills with high quality cushioning to protect their joints. Deck cushioning helps make treadmill training safer than outdoor training in terms of injury risk, plus it helps trainees endure for longer with less perceived effort. The most common type of cushioning is consistent throughout the length of the track. On good treadmills for runners, these two variations on deck cushioning are also available:

  • Variable cushioning provides different levels of support beneath different zones of the track. The trainee gets a firmer surface for push-off and a softer surface for landing.
  • On/off cushioning is sometimes favored by runners training for outdoor competition. It gives the option of training on a surface with road-like impact absorption or with extra cushioning.

High Quality Tread Belts

Runners need high quality tread belts (running tracks) in terms of size and composition. Belt quality improves greatly as you move up the treadmill price scale.

  • The track size preferred by a typical serious runner is at least 20 inches wide and 60 inches long. The 20-inch x 60-inch dimensions are standard for health club treadmills, but sometimes runners want even more room to stretch out. Extra width is relatively easy to find; many high-end treadmills have 22-inch wide belts. Finding treadmills with extra-long running surfaces isn’t as easy. A small minority have tracks that are 62 inches long or longer.
  • The best treadmill belts are a few millimeters thick for durability. They’re made of low-stretch material so tension adjustment isn’t often needed. These best belts are also low maintenance in terms of their lubrication needs.

Extras on the Best Runners’ Treadmills

In addition to a great motor, deck and belt, here are some other features that advanced athletes look for in a cardio trainer.

Wireless Heart Rate Monitoring

The top cardio trainers can monitor heart rate with wireless technology. Treadmills at all price points also have contact pulse sensors built into their handlebars, but wireless systems are preferable. Wireless monitoring is more accurate and more convenient, especially at higher speeds.

Heart Rate Control

Treadmills with workout programs called “heart rate control” can adjust the challenge level in response to a runner’s heart rate. This feature optimizes training, because it helps the trainee consistently exercise within a target range. Heart rate control isn’t common on low-end treadmills but is becoming standard on treadmills for serious runners.

Power Inclines

Inclines or ramps on a treadmill track offer at least five benefits to any trainee:

  • Faster calorie burn
  • Better muscle definition
  • Enhanced cardio training
  • Exercise variety to avoid boredom
  • Programs that mimic the topography of specific routes

Even on cheap treadmills, the incline standard nowadays is a range of about zero to 10 percent. Top treadmills for marathon runners have maximum inclines of up to 30 percent. In addition to the maximum ramp setting, treadmill shoppers should note the thrust of a power incline’s motor. More thrust is especially important if heavier trainees will use the machine.

Additional Treadmill Resources

 

Recent Updates

October 31, 2022: Updated template. Added awards to each product. Updated discontinued products. Expanded buyer’s guide information. Added FAQs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best treadmill for runners?

There's no one-size-fits-all treadmill. You can check out our full list of top treadmills for runners to find the right machine for you.

What should I look for when buying a treadmill if I want to do marathon training?

When training for a marathon, you want to look for a treadmill with a powerful motor, high top speeds, incline settings, and advanced deck cushioning.

Can you train for a marathon on a treadmill?

Yes. Look for incline and cushioning options to simulate the surfaces you will be running on during race day even if you are not running outdoors.

How long should athletes run on a treadmill?

It depends on your stamina and endurance. If you feel pain, faintness, or dizziness, your body is telling you to stop.

What factors indicate quality in a treadmill?

Key indicators a treadmill is built to last include a good warranty, high weight limit, large roller size, and 2-ply+ belt.

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