How Do Treadmills Calculate Pace Times?

The information panel on a treadmill gives you immediate readouts about the intensity and volume of your workout, including your walking or running pace. Pace is the distance traveled over a period of time, and the treadmill is able to calculate that figure based on the speed at which it is set. You can use then use the pace value to ensure you're working out at an appropriate intensity.

A man looking at the information panel while exercising on a treadmill. Credit: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Calculating Pace

The mathematical way to calculate pace is to take your workout time and divide that value by distance. For example, if you were on the treadmill for 24 minutes and in that time you completed three miles, your pace would be eight minutes per mile. The treadmill keeps track of your workout time. It also measures how quickly the treadmill belt is spinning and therefore the distance you're traveling.

Treadmill's Speed Setting

Most treadmills will tell you your speed in miles per hour, and your pace in minutes per mile. According to Hill Runner, 5 mph on the treadmill equates to a 12-minute mile pace. A 6 mph setting on the treadmill is the same as a 10-minute mile pace. If you were running at 7 mph, it would mean you're running at an 8:34 running pace. Knowing the pace at which you're running can help you train progressively, and track your progress.

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