Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My treadmill is a big, fat liar.

I HATE treadmill running for the simple reason that it feels much, much harder in terms of physical effort than running outdoors, but produces far less exciting results; for what feels like one and a half times more effort, I travel a far shorter distance.  Or so I thought...

My treadmill is around 15 years old and its most high-tech feature is a motor.  It has a thingy I can move up and down to increase and decrease speed, a "start over" button, and a couple little windows that show speed, distance, time and calories burned.  Incline has two measurements: up and down.  I'd guess up to be about a 15-20% grade, while down is flat.  Based on perceived effort and cadence, I've long figured its data was off... but I'm now realizing it's very, very off.

I used the Nike+ app that magically tracks pace and distance via my iPhone for my last couple treadmill sessions.  Here's one session, according to Nike+ and according to my treadmill:


Um... that's a mighty big difference in distance! 

In the end, I don't really trust Nike+, either, so I took the average of the two distances (time was within 40 seconds of one another) and called it good.  Strangely, I feel a LOT better about my treadmill now! I still can't trust its data, but I know to trust my level of effort now.  And it totally explains why running outdoors feels so much easier; turns out I've been running HARD on the 'mill all this time. 

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