As a trail runner, having great workout equipment right in the comfort of your own home is a growing trend that is becoming more and more popular. Staying competitive as an ultra marathoner or trail runner requires logging a lot of miles. There’s no better way to keep your mileage consistent than being able to hop onto a treadmill when conditions outside are not ideal.
Treadmills are especially useful for trail runners who live in areas where the climate is not conducive to running every day or running outside. This is certainly true for runners in areas where it can be too hot, humid, or cold during specific times of the year to go on longer 10 or 20 mile runs while training for certain events.
Treadmills of old were not as advanced enough to be used day in and day out and their motors and parts seemed to wear out easily. However, with the advent of new technology, treadmills today are sturdy, durable, and reliable. They can be used daily for long distance training and will not fall apart in the face of excessive use.
Here’s our top 7 treadmills for trail runners:
1. Proform Pro 2000
Proform is one of the most revered companies that is making workout equipment today. Their message revolves around allowing users to get a complete workout within the comfort of their own home. Proform doesn’t want you to miss out on something because you have to drive back and forth from the gym or other workout classes.
Their equipment is meant to be used in your home and gives you the tools needed to get that workout in and be done. They even have come up with creative ways to store their workout equipment. Specifically this treadmill conveniently folds up so as to not take up an entire room in your house or the whole half of a garage.
The Proform Pro 2000 treadmill is one of the most well known treadmills on the market today. It allows users to run for long periods of time at an incline of 15% and a decline of up to 3%. This is especially important for trail runners because training your body to run downhill is just as important as running long distances and uphill.
Thus, the Proform Pro 2000 allows users to spend longer periods of time running downhill that normal terrain at home or in most areas just would not let you do.
The best part of the Proform Pro 2000 is the fact that it is one of the most affordable treadmills on the market. Treadmills can get very pricey quickly so the fact that this one is not too expensive makes it a great choice for those on a tight budget. There is also an easy 7 inch touchscreen interface right on the top of the treadmill telling you everything you need to know about your workout.
There is even a cooling fan built into the motor of the treadmill and one pointed right at you to keep you from overheating.
Proform also comes with many different workouts automatically programmed into the treadmill giving you a variety of options for intensity and type of workout you want on any given day. Buying a Proform comes with an iFit membership which gives access to many other workouts.
One downside to the Proform Pro 2000 is that it turns off after 100 minutes of use. For some, this problem will never become an issue however for endurance athletes, this is a big deal. It is not too hard to quickly stop the workout and reset the 100 minute times however that is something to think about when looking for the perfect treadmill for the workouts you intend on getting.
Here are great tips from someone who runs on a Proform Pro 2000 everyday.
2. NordicTrack X22i Treadmill
NordicTrack is one of the other major players in the home workout industry today. They seek to ensure that anyone with a NordicTrack piece of equipment gets an intense and thorough workout also in the comfort of their home. Many of the NordicTrack treadmills come with a long term guarantee and they offer iFit memberships when you purchase a treadmill.
The iFit membership gives classes and training exercises right on the interface of the treadmill. All you have to do is pick what workout you want to complete and the treadmill will take you through that run, hike, or jog.
The NordicTrack X22i is amazing for any runner or trail runner because it offers much more incline and decline training options. It can incline to 40% and decline as much as 6%. This lets runner really get the feel of running up or downhill for a very long period of time. Because of the different muscles involved in running at an incline or decline, this machine is awesome for runners who know they need to train that way.
There is a great review on the NordicTrack x22i from irunfar.com.
This treadmill also offers a huge 22 inch touchscreen interface right in front of the user, stat tracking over time for a user profile so that you know how you are improving over time, and in home trainers right on the screen to motivate you to keep going and push yourself.
Another great feature of this treadmill is that it offers a sled mode where users are able to push a sled at different resistances. This is a killer workout that really challenges users.
The NordicTrack X22i is an incredible product but is much more expensive than some other models. However, it comes packed with many more features that athletes need and appreciate so you will certainly get what you pay for.
3. NordicTrack Commercial 2950
The NordicTrack Commercial 2950 is very similar to the x22i however it offers much less incline and decline. The NordicTrack Commercial 2950 only has an incline of 15% and a decline of 3%. If you know that you do not need to train at such high incline and declines, then this could be the treadmill for you. It comes with a similar touchscreen of 22 inches to show you the built in trainers that are meant to push users in their workouts.
This interface is great because it is right in front of you keeping stats for you and keeping you updated in your workout.
Another great feature of the NordicTrack Commercial 2950 is the reflex cushion built into the running surface. This makes your movements slightly more low impact but still feel like you are running on a road or pavement.
Similar to all other NordicTrack products this one also comes with a great guarantee on the frame, parts, and labor.
4. True Alpine Runner
One of the great things about the True Alpine Runner treadmill is that you can customize what console you want on the top of your treadmill. Some of the offerings are simple for people that don’t need to be bothered with too many buttons or a screen while working out in their own home. Other options are touchscreen and interactive for those that want to visually and quickly see what workout they are on.
No matter which console you get on your treadmill, True Fitness Alpine Runner treadmills are a great product for workout out at home.
The True Alpine Runner treadmill offers up to 30% incline and 3% decline. If you need more incline training but are not as concerned with decline training, this is the treadmill for you. Another great part of the True Alpine Runners is that a 3rd party study showed that it is a much more effective weight loss tool than other similar treadmills on the market. If you want to lose weight quickly then get one of these models.
Finally, these models come with all the regulatory approvals needed for workout equipment as well as a couple different safety features to keep you out of harms way while the machine is in use.
Price: Variable (depending on custom options)
5. NordicTrack X5i
The NordicTrack X5i is a great treadmill and very similar to the other NordicTrack models listed above. For that reason, this model has been discontinued but is still a great buy if you see one on the used market. It offers up to 40% incline and 3% decline. Also, it is compatible with iPod’s and has a great speaker system built right into the console.
Finally, it offers the same iFit compatibility as other NordicTrack trainers, a longer track at 55 inches which is great for runners, and an advanced system that has many different workouts for users.
If you come across one of these X5i models and are in the market for a treadmill or incline trainer, then don’t hesitate to get it. This model was discontinued however it is still a great product for working out at home and getting in the training that you need no matter the weather.
Website: nordictrack.com X5i (Discontinued)
Price: Variable (Depending On The Used Market)
6. Freemotion Incline Trainers
Freemotion incline trainers are great products for working out at home. They offer a huge fitness library full of workout to keep your training fresh and exciting. There is even a workout of the day that is different every time you log onto your machine. Their machines offer a 30% incline and 3% decline for runners and are durable and reliable to be used every day.
The best features offered by the Freemotion incline trainers are syncing up your smart devices with the machine and virtual run clubs so that you and other users can compete against each other on similar courses.
There’s also Google maps features that allow you to run on any given terrain in the world and the machine will match the inline and decline of that course, and a large HD screen to keep you entertained throughout your workout.
The tracking on this machine is great for runners who want to see the progress they are making. If you are training for a longer run or an event of some kind, you can even map out that course in google maps and your machine will take you through that. It can be a valuable tool for runners to see how they stack up against others and how they do on different courses throughout the world.
Price: (Contact A Consultant)
7. ProForm Boston Marathon 4.0
The best part about the ProForm Boston Marathon 4.0 is that there are many different marathon training programs built right into the machine itself but it is known for being able to simulate the Boston Marathon best. It offers a 20% incline and 6% decline for runners. There is also a great screen display and longer running belt.
This treadmill does not come with other features of ProForm treadmills like being able to fold up or device holders and is very niche in the fact that it is specific for marathon training. If you need a no frills treadmill for training at home, this could be the treadmill for you if you can find one.
Unfortunately this model has been discontinued. If you are interested, buying one, the used market could be an option and you may be able to get a good deal.
Website: proform.com (Discontinued)
Price: Was Listed For $2,999
What is the difference between an incline trainer and a treadmill?
The main difference between an incline trainer and a treadmill is the incline that the machine will be able to go to. On an incline trainer, you might get as much as a 40% incline in the level of the surface you are walking on.
On a treadmill, some offer as much as 20% but that is not nearly as much as what an incline trainer can give. If you need to train for a higher incline or decline than a treadmill offers, you will obviously need a different type of machine.
How do you calculate elevation on a treadmill?
Calculating elevation on a treadmill can be a bit difficult. However just follow these steps.
- Take the percentage grade of your treadmill and divide by 100.
- Take the distance you have run and multiply it by the previous number.
- The number will be the elevation gain you have completed.
For instance if you ran 3 miles at a 7 percent grade, you take 3 x .07 = 0.21. You had an elevation gain of 0.21.
If you want to know how many feet of elevation that is, take the number of feet in a mile, 5,280 x .21 = 1,108 feet of elevation gain.
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Cameron is a freelance writer with a focus on hiking, fishing and photography. He studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Colorado Boulder and now calls Chicago, Illinois home.