how much is a mile on a treadmill

How Much Is a Mile on a Treadmill: Our Complete & Simple Guide

Hi friends! Are you reading this headline and thinking, “A mile is a mile is a mile,” and I don’t blame you!

You know that old Kathleen wouldn’t let you waste time reading an article that says one mile equals one mile, right? So take my word for it that there is more to a mile than, well, a mile!

If you’ve ever wondered how accurate your treadmill was, how treadmills measure distance, and how far 10,000 steps really is, then you’ve come to the right place.

Find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about distance measurement and treadmills here.

I promise, this won’t take too long, and I’ll try to keep it interesting for you!

How Long Does It Take to Run 1 Mile on a Treadmill?

This will depend on how fast you are going.

I’ve created this chart to help you figure out time and calorie burn for the average 140-pound female.

Man and lady working out how much distance is a mile on a treadmill at the gym

Now keep in mind that this chart uses a treadmill with no incline. You should add 1 minute per mile per treadmill incline. For example, if you use a 3 percent incline, add 3 minutes time per mile. If you use a 5 percent incline, add 5 minutes per mile.

Chart – Time, Distance & Calories Burned at Different Walking Speeds

TIME to COMPLETE Calories Burned*
3.0 MPH 20 min  40 min  60 min  100 min
(1hr,40 min)
66 calories/mile
3.5 MPH 17 min  34 min  51 min  85 min
(1hr,25 min)
69 calories/mile
4.0 MPH 15 min  30 min  45 min  75 min
(1hr,15 min)
77 calories/mile
4.5 MPH
13 min  26 min  39 min  65 min
(1hr,5 min)
84 calories/mile
* Calories burned – based on a typical 140-lb female

This distance/time measurement won’t be accurate for outdoor running or walking. Everything from the terrain, the wind, the weather, and your pace will make a difference when you are outside, so these are indoor treadmill measurements only.

How Far Is 30 Minutes on a Treadmill?

This depends on how fast you are running/walking.

An average person walks 3-4MPH. This means that if you are walking at 4.0 MPH you will have gone about 2 miles in 30 minutes.

lady at gym calculating a mile a on treadmill

Whether you want to judge your treadmill workout by distance covered or time, the choice is yours.

Most beginners will typically start off going as fast as they can for 30 minutes, and that is a great way to start!

Anything is better than sitting on your butt watching Netflix!

How Many Miles Is 10,000 Steps Walked?

People have different stride lengths, depending on various factors such as height, age, and health (or injury/illness affecting them). In fact, your own stride will vary depending on the terrain, your mood, whether you’re feeling well or not, and other things affecting you on any given day.

That said, we can estimate the miles you cover after walking 10,000 steps based on the average person’s stride length of 2.0-2.5 feet.

For a more conservative estimate, let’s use 2.0 feet as your average stride length. After walking 10,000 steps, you’ll have covered 20,000 feet, which is equivalent to 3.8 miles (20,000 divided by 5,280) or nearly 4 miles.

If you’re taller, and you want to estimate using stride length=2.5 feet, we can safely assume that the 10,000 steps you take will cover 25,000 feet or 4.7 miles, roughly 600 steps shy of 5 miles.

How Accurate Do Treadmills Measure Distance?

Pretty darn accurate.

Most treadmills measure distance according to the length of the belt. For example, if one revolution of the belt measured 1/10th of a mile, then the treadmill is programmed so that every 10 belt revolutions would show a distance of 1 mile.

Over time, the belt will stretch a little bit, but not enough to really matter.

man using the treadmill calculator to work out a mile while running

If your treadmill has a display that shows something other than miles or kilometers (perhaps it shows a football track), then you can always use your speed and time to measure the distance.

It’s quite easy, actually.

Your speed (in mph) x time (in minutes) ÷ 60 = the distance covered (in miles).

So if you’re walking at a pace of 3.0MPH for 20 minutes, by doing a bit of math, you get: 3.0 x 20 ÷ 60 = 1 mile

Alternatively, you can use the chart above. If you are walking at 3.0MPH, you know that after 20 minutes, you will have completed one mile.

This is assuming that the incline calculated treadmill speed is accurate.

If your treadmill shows a track, such as a football field, that’s fairly easy to calculate as well. A normal outdoor track represents 1/4 of a mile for one lap around the track. This means that if your treadmill workout shows that you’ve done two laps around the track, then you’ve completed half a mile.

In other words, it will take you 4 trips around the track to complete one mile.

Calorie calculators on treadmills are not usually very accurate, however. You will do much better figuring this out by using a heart rate monitor and an online calculator such as this one to figure out a more accurate calorie burn.

How Can I Be Sure That I Walked a Mile on the Treadmill?

I get it. You don’t trust that your old treadmill is displaying properly. I don’t trust the calorie burn number on any treadmill, so what about the mileage?

Due to the calculation method of using the belt, these machines are often quite accurate.

lady in green tshirt using a treadmill

The reading for distance doesn’t change because of the weight of the user, the intensity of the workout, or the incline of the treadmill.

However, that being said, treadmills are still machines, and they may not always provide an accurate measurement of distance.

Over time, a treadmill belt will sustain wear and tear. The belt will stretch slightly, causing the treadmill to give a slightly inaccurate distance reading.

Also as your treadmill ages, the sensor and internal software may become a bit less sensitive. This means that it may not be able to correctly assess the length of the belt and the number of revolutions it completes.

You can try to judge by time instead. If you are walking at 3 MPH, you know that you should complete one mile in 20 minutes. If your treadmill says you’ve only gone 3/4 of a mile, you may want to consider buying a new treadmill.

Why Should I Use a Treadmill?

Treadmills are terrific for times when walking outside is not safe or is not practical.

I love my treadmill, don’t get me wrong, but I do try to run outdoors whenever possible.

man running one mile on a treadmill at home

When I can’t, the reasons are usually:

  • It’s dark! I don’t think it’s safe to run in the dark (especially for women). Whether it’s cars, criminals, or you can’t see so you trip (I’m talking experience here!), if the only time you have to walk is during nighttime, it’s better to use the treadmill.
  • The weather is terrible. Some people are really dedicated and will run in the pouring rain, in high winds, or even in blizzards—I’ve seen them! Again, I don’t think this is safe nor is it comfortable. Bad weather makes a treadmill really attractive!
  • You’re not training for a marathon or other sporting event. Unless you have plans to compete in a marathon, then walking outdoors or indoors is pretty much the same. Yes, you might burn a few extra calories outdoors, but you can make up for that by increasing the incline for the last 2 minutes of your walk. If you are just walking/running for your health, then you are fine using your treadmill.
  • Boredom. While some people think that treadmills are boring, I find that unless I can walk outdoors in different places all the time, I get bored seeing the same old neighbors, the same park benches, the same city streets. With my treadmill, I can put it in front of the TV for an hour and catch up on a new series. Time will fly by!

You see, outdoor walking/running has a few advantages over treadmill walking, but I think they are the same, just different.

Is 1 Mile on the Treadmill Good?

The answer to this will depend on your current circumstances and goals.

One mile, even running at 5 MPH, is only about 100 calories.

If you are very overweight and one mile is all you can do, then yes, this is good!

However, for most people, you will need to do more than 1 mile to reach your goal.

lady showing how to use mile calculator on a treadmill

If your goal is weight loss, you most likely will want to keep walking until you’ve burned about 200-300 calories. How far you will need to walk to do that will depend on your current weight and the speed at which you are walking.

Use this calculator to help you find your calorie burn number.

If your goal is improved cardiovascular fitness, you can start with one mile at a treadmill running pace and slowly increase the amount of time or distance that you run/walk.

If you are training for a marathon, you will do better if you do your running outdoors. You might easily complete your 5K on a treadmill, but when you run outdoors, you are subject to wind resistance, uneven surfaces, and more.

Treadmills are also easier than outdoor running because treadmills provide a little push to propel you forward. The ground outside will not do that. If you want to run a marathon, unless the weather is terrible, try to train outdoors.

Always remember that even running on a treadmill requires good quality running shoes to protect your feet and legs from injuries such as shin splints and blisters.

The Final Takeaway

A mile is a mile, but they aren’t all the same, now are they?

I hope you found this information on treadmill paces and distance measurement helpful.

To walk or run on a treadmill or to run outside is the big question, and the answer really lies in what your specific needs are and what your overall goal is.

Stay happy and healthy, friends! Life is too short for anything else!