If you've ever done a run on a treadmill in one day, and then another day and a very similar run on a different treadmill and noticed a difference, you're not alone. I'm Jessie Funk and on today's episode of Runner's High, we're going to talk about how accurate treadmills really are.
In theory, figuring out what the speed is on the treadmill should be pretty straightforward. It should just be a matter of figuring out how long the belt is, how fast it's moving. It's a pretty simple equation, the manufacturers should have it down. But you know if you've done that thing where you've gone from one treadmill to another and felt it entirely different, your rate of perceived exertion is much different between the two, then you know that inaccuracies definitely exist.
I actually talked about this in my other video where I'm talking about using a turnover the winner, should you even do it? And know that the rate of perceived exertion is my go-to and figuring out how to use your treadmill when you don't want to go through all the hassle of figuring out how accurate your treadmill actually is. This inaccuracy has a couple of factors. And part of that could be simply how the manufacturer is measuring the speed on that particular treadmill, as well as the calibration of that treadmill, and it's measuring equipment.
But not only that, say for instance, you're like me, I don't have a treadmill in my home. I use the ones in the gym because they're the nicer ones. And, you know, it's nice to use nice equipment. But there is a certain wear and tear that happens on any kind of machinery over time, and they really need to be recalibrated. Well, that doesn't happen, as far as I'm aware, at least in my gym, to the treadmill.
So, these things can start off in entirely equal scenarios, say they're calibrated exactly the same but a different model used by different users over time can change the accuracy of the machine, making what you think is, say five miles an hour different between this machine and that machine. If you want to know all about inaccuracies and accuracies, the things that help you make your running better. Don't forget to hit that red button right over there, bottom right-hand corner, subscribe to the channel.
Now, if you want to go through the trouble of figuring out how accurate your personal machine is, there is a method you can do this. I won't be caught doing this at the gym just because I get embarrassed easily. But I guess you could do it at the gym as well on your favorite machine. But if you have one at home, you can figure out how accurate your machine is at different speeds. So, the method I'm going to describe the best I can and try to give visual aids here. As I said I don't have a treadmill in my home so I can't do this on video, but I'm going to do my best to give some visual aids as I go along.
So, what you want to do first is figure out how long is the belt on your particular treadmill. Now, the manufacturer's website or your manual may have this. But if you don't, and you can't find it, don't worry about it. No big deal, there's an easy way to figure it out. Get a piece of string, get a piece of tape, tape the end of the string to the belt, and then manually with your hand, roll the belt forward and let the string to go along with it.
The idea is that you're going to continually move the belt forward as you go until it comes all the way back around. So, we'd start here it's gone, it's gone under and it’s come back around. Now, you have the entire length of the belt. Mark your string, cut it, whatever you want to do, take it off. Now you can measure it straight out. So, now you have the entire length of the belt.
Next step. If you're taking that tape off of the treadmill, put it back on, because we're going to need it to count revolution. So, this is where you say, let's stay with five miles and hours, it’s gonna be a little bit easier to watch. Make sure that tapes like a masking tape or something that's easy visually. Masking tape is nice because it's a light color and most treadmill belts are black so you can see very easily.
So, what you want to do, place that tape at the end of the treadmill belt back where your feet go, where you're going to fall off if you don't continue running forward. And then you start the treadmill say at five miles an hour if that's what we want to measure start at five miles an hour.
You'll have a timer with you as well, you can use your stopwatch, you know you run so most likely you have a watch or if you have a hand timer, those are nice too. Then you want to count 20 revolutions. So, start at zero when the time starts in your watch and the belt starts. The tape is at the end of the treadmill, start at zero. Once you come around, one, two, count to 20. Once you reach 20, stop your stopwatch. Now, here's a little math for us to figure out how accurate your treadmill is. Don't worry, the math is gonna be pretty easy.
So, know that speed is distance divided by the time we have both of those things now. So, we have the length of the belt, which you measured earlier. And you need to multiply that by 20 because it was around 20 times. This is in part because we want to know how accurate it is. If you just do it one time, your accuracy is going to be smaller.
So, when we let it go around more times, we get a more accurate measurement. So, the length of the belt, times 20, divided by the amount of time it took, you can convert to seconds, it depends on how long it took. Convert and divide by seconds. So, now you have a distance divided by time so it could be feet per second.
Now, there's some conversion to do if you want to figure out miles per hour, but I'm not going to make you go through that. And it really depends on what you use, whether you're doing meters per second or feet per second or whatever it is, get down to the description, I’ve included a link to a calculator where you can plug that in, and it will give you the conversion back two kilometers an hour, miles per hour, whatever you want to use for your particular treadmill.
So, that's how you can figure out how accurate your particular model is. If you want more videos like this one, where learn about running and how to be a better runner, how to use the tools of the trade like your treadmill, subscribe to the channel, stay with me. I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.