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Speeds on the Treadmill: The Best Pace for Your Goals

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

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Converting speeds on the treadmill to miles per hour is straightforward. Nearly all modern treadmills use the speed setting as miles per hour, so you don’t have to make conversions.

However, you may want to know the pace per mile or how the incline impacts your speed. Luckily, we cover everything you need to know in the article below.

treadmill speeds on the machine's monitor in a gym
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Treadmill Speed Conversions

Treadmills don’t have wind resistance like running outside. That means running on a treadmill at 0% incline is less than running on a level road at the same pace. Luckily, you can use the treadmill pace chart below to estimate equivalent efforts between running on a treadmill and running outdoors.

Treadmill MPH SettingPace Per Mile0%1%2%3%4%5%6%7%8%9%

Treadmill Speed Conversion Formula

Most treadmill speeds are in miles per hour (mph). However, you can use the following formula to convert the rate to pace per mile:

60 ÷ Treadmill Speed Setting = Pace Per Mile.

In other words, divide 60 by your treadmill speed. The final number will be your pace per mile.

For example, if you’re running at a treadmill setting of 6 (6 mph), you’ll work at a 10-minute mile pace.

Alternatively, if you’re running at a treadmill setting of 8 (8 mph), you’ll be working at a 7:30 minute mile pace.

You can use this formula to gauge your mile pace on nearly any treadmill you’re using, as long as the speed settings are set to mph.

How to Calculate Your Target Heart Rate Zone

Another way to determine the best treadmill speed is to calculate your target heart rate zone . You can use your target zone to determine which speeds meet your goals. Here’s how:

  • Subtract your age from 220. If you’re 35, your maximum heart rate will be 185 beats per minute.
  • Next, set your target heart rate zone to 60-80% of your maximum heart rate. If you’re 35, that would be 111 to 148 bpm. This range is practical and low-risk for most individuals.

A good long-term goal is to work your way up to 20 minutes of sustained activity in your target zone. If you’re a beginner, you might only have the capacity for 10 minutes when you start before you adapt to the new routine. This is perfectly normal, and you can work your way up over time.

What’s a Good Treadmill Speed?

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Most treadmills can reach maximum speeds of around 10-12 mph. Some models can reach speeds upwards of 15-16 mph. However, there isn’t a one size fits all answer for “good” treadmill speeds, and the answer will depend on several factors.

For most people, any speed setting over 5 (5 mph) will require jogging or light running.

Most men run around 8 miles per hour on average, while women tend to work approximately 6.5 mph. But the best speed will depend on your fitness level, goals, and exercise program.

Speeds for Beginners

Most beginners wonder how fast they should jog or run on the treadmill. However, the setting can significantly vary, depending on your fitness level and goals.

It’s recommended that beginners start slowly, even if that means walking. For many, a brisk walk on a treadmill at an incline can be strenuous exercise. For others, a light jog may be a breeze, and you’ll want to increase the intensity.

Many beginners can benefit from treadmill speeds of around 5 mph. This speed will be a light jog for most individuals, and although it may seem slow, you’ll feel the burn in as little as 5-10 minutes.

You can slowly increase your speed over time, starting with minor improvements of 5.2 to 5.4.

Be sure to get approval from your doctor beforehand, especially if you’re overweight, older, or have health conditions.

Speeds for Walking

If the treadmill is moving and you’re not jogging, you’re walking. Walking speeds on a treadmill start at any speed above 0. Walking speeds range from 0.1 mph to 4 mph, depending on the individual. Speeds ranging from 3 to 4 mph will be a brisk pace.

Speeds for Jogging

Jogging speeds range from 4 mph to 6 mph for most individuals. Jogging is the zone right between walking and running. With this pace, you’re lifting your feet above the ground without high levels of intensity.

These speeds are when the exercise gets harder to sustain, making it an ideal range for many individuals. The CDC classifies jogging as vigorous physical activity and recommends roughly 75 minutes per week. This means 10 minutes of jogging per day can help you achieve your fitness goals

Speeds for Running

Treadmill running speeds typically start at 6 mph and over. Jogging and running speeds are going to vary depending on the person. Taller individuals with long strides will be jogging at lower speeds. Shorter individuals may start to run around 6 mph.

Your ideal speed will depend on these factors, and you shouldn’t let the number affect your confidence.

Speeds for Sprinting

There aren’t any specific sprint speeds, as they depend on your aerobic threshold. Sprinting typically includes maximum effort or Zone 5 aerobic intensity. Sprints are short bursts of high power around 90–100% of your maximum heart rate.

This could be 8 mph on the treadmill for some individuals, while others might exceed 10 miles per hour. Be sure to practice safety precautions, listen to your body, and discuss with your doctor beforehand to avoid accidents.

Speeds for Burning Fat

There isn’t an easy answer for determining treadmill speeds for weight loss. The correct rate depends on your fitness levels, weight loss goals, and other factors.

That being said, if you like long runs, working at 55-65% of your maximum heart rate can burn significant amounts of calories.

Alternatively, you can exercise for shorter sessions at around 75% of your maximum heart rate. Higher-intensity sessions will burn more calories in a shorter amount of time but can be more strenuous for beginners.

Speeds for Endurance and Conditioning

There isn’t a universal answer for what treadmill speed will increase endurance or stamina. Instead, you can use your heart rate zone to determine the right speed for you. Working at 70-80% of your maximum heart rate can improve your aerobic fitness, build endurance, and improve cardiac health.

What’s the Average Treadmill Speed?

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There isn’t an average speed for treadmills, although most models have a maximum speed between 10-12 mph. For most people, speeds around 5 mph will be a light jog or run. Most adult men can run around 8 mph on average. Women tend to run around 6.5 mph.

However, your average speed on the treadmill will depend on your fitness level, height, weight, age, and several other factors.

Instead of focusing on average speed, it’s essential to consider your fitness goals. Think about your progress and how long you spend on the treadmill. Spending more time on the treadmill and gradually improving will benefit you over the long run.

Is It Better to Go Faster or Longer?

The answer will depend on your fitness goals. Running faster on a treadmill can help you burn more calories in a shorter period. Running longer can increase your physical endurance, requires less recovery time, and may improve your health.

What Speed Should I Run for a Mile?

New runners can typically finish a mile in 12-15 minutes or a speed setting of 4-6 mph. Non-competitive runners who are in shape can typically complete a mile in 9-10 minutes or a speed setting of 6-6.7 mph. As you build strength and endurance, your mile pace will gradually decrease in time.


Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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