The Best Home Treadmills for Runners

Runners require a lot out of a treadmill. A good treadmill is easy on the joints and meets runners' needs for speed and variability. Runners need a treadmill that allows them to maintain and improve their sport from the comfort of their own home. The amenities included with this type of treadmill come at a price, however, with top-of-the-line treadmills going for $5,500 to as much as $12,000.

Woodway Curve

Treadmill Doctor has rated the Woodway Curve a 10 out of 10 in the following categories: walking area, cushioning, reliability, and noise level. Had the cost of the machine (at $5,950) not negatively affected the value score, the overall score would have been at or near a 9 out of 10. This treadmill boasts the patented Woodway belt, a slatted system that reduces impact on joints, but unlike other Woodway treadmills, the Curve is a non-motorized variety, powered completely by the runner himself. The curved design enables the runner to run at an ergonomically correct angle, and because the speed is controlled solely by the runner himself, there is no maximum or minimum speed, allowing for specialized over-speed training. The extra-long 67-inch belt length is also beneficial, but the 17-inch belt width could make some runners uncomfortable, or fearful of tripping from missteps to the left or right. If you're looking for a treadmill that allows you to train at your own speed, and last many years, the Curve is worth its hefty price tag.

Woodway Desmo H

Like all Woodways, the Desmo H is built to go easy on a runner's joints and to provide comfort to runners with a long stride. The extra long and wide belt, at 68 by 22 inches, enable the user to adjust stride length and width easily, the 12.5 mph speed limit and 15 percent incline will also meet the needs of most runners. Running, the treadmill can hold users weighing up to 500 lbs., and walking it can hold up to 800 lbs. According to the Woodway website, the life expectancy of the running surface is anywhere from 150,000 to 200,000 miles, 15 to 20 times the normal life expectancy of a treadmill belt. Additionally, the user can choose to purchase upgrades that will enable to maximum speed to increase to as much as 18 mph, or add negative incline, allowing the runner to train to run downhill. But, with a price tag of $10,000 or more, all the bells and whistles may not be worth it in the end.

Star Trac P-Tr

The Treadmill Doctor rated the Star Trac P-Tr a 8.72 out of 10, one of the highest ratings given. The major downside of the Star Trac P-Tr is its price, at $7,495. The standard 15 mph speed and 15 percent incline, as well as the maximum user-weight of 500 lbs. makes this treadmill a great fit for almost all runners. The built-in fans also ensure that the runner remains cool during his workout, and the long 60-inch belt meets the needs of most runners. The warranty is also superior to most treadmills, offering five years' parts and labor protection on the motor, and three years' parts and labor on all other features.

About the Author

Laura Williams has worked in recreation management since 2004. She holds a master's degree in exercise and sport science education from Texas State University, as well as a B.A. in exercise and sport science from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.