How Accurate are Treadmill Distances? – A Complete Guide for Everyday Users

Getting up in the early hours in the morning and hitting the streets to lose weight isn’t fun, is it? For those who need to stay in shape, a treadmill may be the best solution for them. If you use a treadmill, you don’t have to leave your house and you can walk or run right there.  But isn’t there always someone who questions the treadmill’s accuracy? So, what do you think about “how accurate are treadmill distances?”

Well, accuracy is excellent on most treadmills. They use an optical sensor to count the number of revolutions of the flywheel in a given period. Since the ratio of the motor/flywheel to the running belt of the speed controller is known, it is possible to figure out the speed accurately.

However, some of the results may be incorrect. So, before you buy a treadmill, be sure you know all the details. Be with me to make your way easier.

Treadmill monitor for see all measurement

How to Measure Distances on a Treadmill?

According to CDC News, the number of cars and treadmills in American households is 70 million each. The fact that 46 million households own cars versus 48 million households own treadmills is rather surprising.  

Nowadays, the majority of treadmills automatically deliver accurate data. They track the amount of time and distance traveled, as well as the number of calories expended. However, many people still rely on outdated treadmills that fail to provide reliable data. So if you’re still unsure, here are the actions to take:

Step-1: Know Your Weight Level

The information you’ll need to calculate your workout’s distance should be noted before you begin. You can also keep track of your weight to calculate your calorie consumption. 

Having this additional data can help you better understand the results of the training and your overall weight/ fitness level. This will help you plan your next day workout by giving you a distance to aim for.

Step-2: Measure the Speed

You can calculate the distance you covered by dividing your speed with the time you spent running. Running for 30 minutes at a speed of 8 mph will allow you to cover about 4 miles. If your treadmill’s speed setting is hidden, you’ll have to rely on a GPS watch to figure out your average speed.

Step-3: Measure the Average Speed

Use a bicycle speedometer to estimate your average pace in the absence of a GPS watch and a treadmill that displays speed information. When you go for a run or a walk outside, bring a friend along who can use the speedometer on his bicycle to record your average speed.

exercise on treadmill

How Accurate are Treadmill Distances?

Most of the time, the treadmill’s distances are correct. Because almost all current treadmills include built-in sensors that measure distance, speed, pace, and calories expended while the user is on the treadmill. In spite of this, the accuracy of this data is still a matter of discussion.

Treadmills are an excellent training tool for both novice and experienced runners. They can teach new runners how to select their speed and provide a simple means of building stamina and endurance gradually and securely. 

Also, these instruments can provide data and measurements that can be used to keep track of a person’s progress over time. 

As a result of the methodology used, it is frequently quite accurate. Regardless of the user’s weight, exercise intensity, or treadmill slope, the readout will remain the same. 

Despite this, treadmills may not always provide an accurate reading of distance. So, wear and tear on a treadmill belt will occur over time. Since the belt is a little bit stretched, the distance readings from the treadmill may not be quite right. 

From a news article on ABC News, treadmills don’t always give you the right calculations because they only focus on pace, weight, and age.

How to Know if Your Treadmill Distance is Accurate

Running on a treadmill will leave you around 40 meters short of completing a kilometer, or about 120 feet short of completing a mile. For those who are working toward a specific road race distance, this may have an impact on their workout. Let’s examine how you can measure the accuracy of your treadmill.

Essential Tools 

  • Tape, which is light in color.
  • A Pencil for Making Marks
  • A Pencil for Making Marks
  • Tape Measure
  • Accurate stopwatches
  • Person in Charge of Counting Belt Rotations
  • Do some simple math.

Follow the on-screen instructions to put the machine through its paces.

  1. The back of the treadmill’s belt should have a strip of tape on it at the edge of the belt. Strip 1 of that tape should be marked on it.
  2. The second strip of tape should be placed near the treadmill’s front edge. Strip 2 is on the tape.
  3. Strip 1 and Strip 2 are separated by a distance of approximately 0.5 inches.
  4. Tape strip 2 should now be near the back of the treadmill after rotating the belt. One of the tape strips will be covered.
  5. The third strip of tape should be placed towards the treadmill’s front edge. Strip 3 is on the tape.
  6. Strip 1 and Strip 3 are separated by a distance of approximately 1/8 of an inch.
  7. The sum of the three measurements must be taken into account. This is the belt’s overall length.
  8. Remove two of the three strips of tape from the belt’s surface.
  9. Determine how fast you can go by getting on a treadmill and running at your desired speed.
exercise watch feature

Stopwatches should be started by the controller when they observe the tape strip come around and become visible when the treadmill belt rotates once it has reached a steady speed. 

For at least a hundred spins, the person doing the counting keeps track of the number of rotations. The controller stops the watch and records the time when the tape strip is visible for the 100th time. 

The distance covered in the allotted time is equal to the belt length times 100 spins. Distance traveled divided by time equals speed. Read to the end so that you can have a more detailed understanding of the concept mathematically.

Why is The Distance on a Treadmill Not Accurate?

It’s possible that treadmills aren’t always precise when it comes to measuring distance. This could happen as a result of the passage of time. When a treadmill reaches a certain age, it may begin to exhibit undesirable characteristics. 

Wear and tear on a treadmill belt will occur over time. As a result, the treadmill’s distance readings may be somewhat off due to the belt being slightly stretched. Additionally, the treadmill’s sensor and internal software may become less sensitive as it gets more worn out. 

As a result, it may not be able to accurately determine the belt’s length and the number of revolutions. Treadmills can be inaccurate in this situation.

What to Do When Your Treadmill is Not Accurate? 

Automatic distance monitoring features are standard on the majority of treadmills, and they measure distance with 95% accuracy. Take a closer look at your treadmill, and see whether it’s giving you inaccurate distance information, or if it’s too old to provide any distance information at all.

Use the External Measuring Instruments

You can track your running distance and pace with a variety of gadgets. They could be pace-calculating digital watches or mobile apps. All you have to do is switch on the gadget and enter the data both before and after the run.

Use the Mathematical Approach

Time your workout and compare it to the pace you selected to get an estimate of how long you walked or jogged. Treadmill speed settings typically range from 6 to 12 minutes per mile. 

To figure out how far you ran in how many minutes, multiply your per-mile speed by the number of miles you ran. You can divide 60 minutes on the treadmill by 12 minutes each mile to arrive at a distance of 5 miles.

Reset the Machine.

If none of the preceding options are suitable for you, you should select the reset option. Treadmills can give out incorrect information as they get older. If the problem persists, try resetting your treadmill.

treadmill workout data

How to Reset a Treadmill?

If one or more of your treadmill’s components isn’t working properly, you may need to reset it.  Resting your machine is a lot easier than before. The reset button on your treadmill and a few buttons on the console are all you need to do. There are three steps for resetting a treadmill, each with its advantages and disadvantages.


After unplugging your treadmill from the wall, put the safety key in the right place.


Locate the console’s reset hole on the bottom. Using a little piece of plastic or a cotton swab, place it into the reset hole and press the “Reset” button on the treadmill.


Treadmills with current software should be your next stop if you see the message “CL11” on your console. Treadmills with older software and an LCD if your treadmill has one, or treadmills with older software and an LED display if your treadmill has one. Refer to your user guide if you don’t know what kind of screen you have.


Finally, after reading the entire article, you may have understood if you can truly rely on treadmill distances or not. They might not always give you an accurate result, but most of the time they do. which depends on the usage of the machine. Now that you know everything about “how accurate are treadmill distances”, you can give it a try. Thanks for reaching us. Peace out!!

James Manley

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