What Is The Top Speed Of a Treadmill?

Man treadmill running at top speed


By Simon Gould

Treadmills are a great way to get fit and healthy and lose weight. 50 million Americans use them each year. We’re used to running at a good pace for a long period to get our fitness levels up. Personally I go to about 11 kph (6.6 mph) max when finishing a run and I feel exhausted. But how fast can these treadmills go and how fast have people run on them?

Home treadmills

Home motorized treadmills cost around $1,000 to $3,000 and generally have a top speed of 10 mph to 12 mph. This is more than fast enough for most amateurs. Most people won’t be sprinting on a treadmill and that’s not what home and commercial treadmills are built for. They are built to get you fit and lose weight. The motors are usually 3.0 chp to 4.0 chp (continuous horse power).

The numbers below shows how fast 10 mph and 12 mph are. I show how fast each speed can reach the following distances in minutes and seconds:

  • 10 mph
  • 100m : 23 seconds
  • 200m : 45 seconds
  • 400m : 1 min 30
  • 1 mile: 6 min
  • 5k : 18 min 40
  • 10k : 37 min 20
  • 1/2 marathon : 1 hr 18 min 39
  • Marathon : 2hr 37 min 29
  • 12 mph
  • 100m : 19 seconds
  • 200m : 37 seconds
  • 400m : 1 min 14
  • 1 mile: 5 min
  • 5k : 15 min 30
  • 10k : 31 min
  • 1/2 marathon : 1 hr 5 min 33
  • Marathon : 2hr 11 min 06

When you consider that the marathon world record is 2 hours 2 minutes and 57 seconds then a runner is going at faster than 12 mph for over 2 hours. I can’t begin to imagine running that fast for 15 seconds let alone 2 hours. That’s how conditioned and fit those people are. Of course some people are more built for long distance running than others. Here is an amusing video of someone trying out the maximum speed on their treadmill:

Commercial treadmills

The treadmills you find in gyms and health clubs are bigger and more substantial than the ones you find in the home. They cost a lot more too but are designed for constant use and use by different people who have different needs for their fitness. Some of them maybe doing some speed work where interval training is done by outside runners on a treadmill to help them run faster in their normal outside runs.

A workout called high intensity interval training has been very popular over the years and that can be done on a treadmill. This is where runners do sprints for a very short period of time and then do a recovery run. These sprints only last 10 to 30 seconds and are repeated to exhaustion. Commercial treadmills usually have a top speed of around 14 mph and here are the times:

  • 14 mph
  • 100m : 16 seconds
  • 200m : 32 seconds
  • 400m : 1 min 04
  • 1 mile: 4 min 17
  • 5k : 13 min 16
  • 10k : 26 min 32
  • 1/2 marathon : 56 min 09
  • Marathon : 1hr 52 min 18

Curved treadmills

These are a new type of treadmills that are manual in nature. The belt is not powered by electricity but by the runner. These are different to the manual treadmills of old which come in at $100 and are designed for walking. Curved treadmills cost more than $5,000 and are able to go at nearly any speed that the runner can do. There have been speeds ran of up to 24 mph:

  • 24 mph
  • 100m : 9.25 seconds
  • 200m : 18.5 seconds
  • 400m : 37 seconds
  • 1 mile: 2 min 30
  • 5k : 7 min 25
  • 10k : 14 min 50
  • 1/2 marathon : 30 min 45
  • Marathon : 1hr 1min 30

The 100 meter world record by Usain Bolt in 2009 is 9.58 seconds so that is just under an average of 24 mph. Anyone who can run at 24 mph can not do it for more than 10 seconds or 100 meters. Curved treadmills need no electrical input and little maintenance but due to it being a new and costly technology the prices are high. They do look good if you can afford one. Here is a video of one being used:https://www.youtube.com/embed/DJH44Myxnqs


Modern treadmills go very fast. Unless you plan on sprinting on your treadmill very fast or you’re an athlete. You don’t need to be concerned about a treadmill not being fast enough for you. For 99% of people who will use a treadmill, whether that’s for losing weight or getting healthy, 10 mph is a speed you’ll probably never get near.

Even those runners who take their exercise seriously and compete in races can still get a good workout on a 10 mph maximum speed treadmill. So when buying a treadmill, look at the top speed, but know you’ll never need it. If the top speed isn’t around 10 mph, then it’s made for walking or it’s an incline machine. Treadmills can go more than fast enough these days.

Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked.

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