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Chart Showing How Incline Affects Your Pace on the Treadmill

How Incline Affects Your Pace on the Treadmill

Holy hotness. Summer weather has kicked into high gear, so I don't blame you for trading hot and humid runs outside for an air-conditioned gym. The only problem is that running on a treadmill requires less effort than running outside because the moving belt helps propel your feet forward, and there's no wind resistance to hold you back. If you're training for a marathon or just trying to keep up your pace, you can pump up the incline in order to make running on a treadmill compare to the effort exerted when running outside. Below is a chart from Hillrunner.com to show you just how much the percentage of incline affects how fast you're moving.

At first glance, you may be confused as to why the pace on a flat road is not the same as the pace on a treadmill with zero percent incline. Remember that running on a flat treadmill is easier than running on a flat road because of the propelling belt and lack of wind resistance, so that's why the chart lists a slower pace at zero percent incline.

Treadmill setting in miles per hour Minutes per mile on flat road Equivalent paces by incline
0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10%
5.0 12:00 12:31 11:05 10:03 9:16 8:38 8:07
5.2 11:32 12:02 10:42 9:44 8:59 8:23 7:54
5.4 11:07 11:35 10:20 9:26 8:43 8:09 7:41
5.6 10:43 11:10 10:00 9:09 8:29 7:56 7:29
5.8 10:21 10:47 9:42 8:53 8:15 7:44 7:18
6.0 10:00 10:26 9:24 8:38 8:02 7:32 7:07

To see the rest of the chart, continue reading.

Treadmill setting in miles per hour Minutes per mile on flat road Equivalent paces by incline
0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10%
6.2 9:41 10:05 9:08 8:24 7:49 7:21 6:57
6.4 9:23 9:46 8:52 8:10 7:37 7:10 6:47
6.6 9:05 9:29 8:37 7:58 7:26 7:00 6:38
6.8 8:49 9:12 8:23 7:46 7:15 6:50 6:29
7.0 8:34 8:56 8:10 7:34 7:05 6:41 6:21
7.2 8:20 8:41 7:58 7:23 6:56 6:33 6:13
7.4 8:06 8:27 7:46 7:13 6:46 6:24 6:05
7.6 7:54 8:14 7:34 7:03 6:38 6:16 5:58
7.8 7:42 8:01 7:24 6:54 6:29 6:09 5:51
8.0 7:30 7:49 7:13 6:45 6:21 6:01 5:44

What incline percentage do you usually use when running on a treadmill?

Image Source: Thinkstock
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Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 6 years
I run between 3-5%.
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 6 years
I run between 3-5%.
jnnfrcyl jnnfrcyl 6 years
I believe percent for most treadmills refers to the percent incline to the flat surface, so they should be the same across all treadmills. Except for the treadmill that le romantique uses: that is an incline calculated by the treadmill itself. Note that it uses levels of incline, not percentages.
Spectra Spectra 6 years
I vary it...I usually go between 3% and 10%.
TiVo TiVo 6 years
I change it up. I usually do one minute at 0, second minute at 1, third and fourth minute at 2, and fifth at 3 or 3.5 at a pace that I can keep for an extended amount of time. Since this is a five-minute thing, I'll repeat it 4 to 6 times. Really though, I prefer to run outside and save the treadmill for my walking days to make sure my booty really feels the burn... I mean, incline.
lydialee_home lydialee_home 6 years
When I run on treadmill, I put an incline of 1%. (The treadmill in my YMCA has increment by 0.5%). Now that the weather is nice, I always run outside. The heat did not bother me as I started my run at 5:00 - 5:30 am in the morning.
le-romantique le-romantique 6 years
I always run on an incline of 15 (out of 15, not sure how all treadmills work). I like it because I really don't notice a difference because I started using 15 from the beginning because I heard it prevents shinsplints, which are the devil. I have yet to get shinsplints though, so I'll continue my high incline. But I do it in intervals, I run 25-30 mins. I start at 15 and by the last 10mins I slowly decrease the incline each minute and end my last 3 mins walking on 2 down to 0. I like it, personally.
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