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Weight Loss




How Fast Should I Run On A Treadmill?

Treadmill Running

By Simon Gould

Treadmills are great for beginners because you can stop when you like and you're at the same place. Try doing that outside and you're a kilometer away from where you started from. We love treadmills here and think they're best for beginners to get started running. But there is always a question among beginners.

One of the eternal treadmills questions especially amongst beginners is how fast to run on a treadmill. Maybe you're following a couch to 5k plan. Or you just want to get fit and healthy. Maybe you can't go very far before getting exhausted. Either way what speed is best for walking, jogging and running?

It depends on many factors how fast you can go. If you're overweight and 40 years+. You're not going to be quicker than you once were. If you're a young slender male you should be able to run a lot faster and for longer. Your fitness level and experience also counts for a lot where speed is concerned.

Treadmill Running


As a beginner one thing that you will almost certainly be doing is walking. Walking is an exercise in itself especially if you're brisk walking. Many beginner plans call for a walk/run schedule. We at Treadmill Running certainly advocate that. But how fast should you walk.

Walking is something everyone does so how fast we should walk on a treadmill? Many beginners are unsure. The answer is not a set of numbers (we will provide some) but what you are comfortable with. You should be walking easily in a warm up and cool down but briskly as the walk in the walk/run part of your workout.

For some numbers as a guide since a treadmill will display your speed anyway. We would say a warm up and cool down walk should be less than 5 km/h (3 mph). Brisk walking as part of your workout should be 5 km/h to 7.2 km/h (3 mph to 4.5 mph). The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) agree that this speed is brisk walking pace and fits in with their moderate intensity physical activity plan.

Treadmill Running
Africa Studio/


Jogging could what you're doing as part of the run of a walk/run plan and that's ok. Jogging speed can be fast for many people and get them breathing heavily. Jogging speeds are 7.2 km/h to 8.5 km/h (4.5 mph to 5.3 mph). This counts as vigorous activity by the CDC and we're including it as jogging.

The CDC says vigorous activity as beneficial to health if continued for 150 minutes per week. Going this fast they estimate you would burn 7 calories per minute. If this speed gets you breathing heavily and your heart beating hard then accept this as a run. Especially if you're not used to exercise.


We've established that the speed of jogging already puts that activity as vigorous exercise so do you need to go any faster? The answer is that if you find the jogging speed easy, then yes. Go faster and as fast as you can so as not to lose your breath or become so exhausted from a relatively short run.

Running too fast as though you're racing every time is not good training. This will only cause injuries, even on a treadmill. However if you can successfully run faster than jogging and you feel comfortable doing it. You clearly have a good fitness base already. Or you're built for this type of exercise.

So for a running speed it would be more than the jogging speed so 7.5 km/h (5.3 mph) and higher. You may see people running faster in a gym but they are likely to be experienced runners. Also you don't necessarily know how long they've been running at that pace for! If you're running at this pace you'll soon get passed a couch to 5k if you needed to use one at all.

Treadmill Running

How fast should you go

If you're a beginner then despite everything said above about speed, how fast you should go depends on how you feel while running. A great way to tell is using your heart rate but since not everyone has heart rate monitors and the ones on treadmills aren't very accurate. You can tell by the rate you're breathing at and how much you could say while exercising.

If you can speak a sentence while exercising then you're comfortably running/jogging and you can stay at that pace. If you can only say a word or two before breathing again then you are probably going too fast. If you're exhausted after running only 10 or 20 minutes and you're not doing speed work or training for a race then you're going too fast.

Your speed can change as you get used to exercise. You will soon be breathing easier after completing a couch to 5k. Still use that speed button carefully. You can also increase your speed by doing speed work exercises which are good for treadmills. These are usually done by experienced runners and plans can be found online. However fast you go make sure you enjoy it and push yourself to achieve more and you'll be successful.

Also see the following useful pages:

Meet The Author

I'm Simon Gould. I've been around treadmills my whole life. From running on them at an early age to working in treadmill dept's of national stores. I've run outside and I've run on treadmills and I prefer running on treadmills. I still run on one nearly every day and love it.

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