Most treadmills include automatic distance tracking features that measure distance with about 95-percent accuracy. If you suspect that your treadmill doesn't give you accurate distance info, or if it is too old to give you any distance info at all, then you can either use external distance measuring devices or old-fashioned mathematics to keep track of how much virtual ground you've covered.
Activate your treadmill's distance counting feature to automatically keep track of pavement pounded. Properly functioning modern treadmills are universally capable of displaying how far you run, so if you use a newer machine and can't figure out how to activate this feature, consult your owner's manual or ask your gym's staff for help.
Calculate how far you run by timing your workout and comparing it to the pace you set. A treadmill's speed settings typically range in pace from six- to 12-minute miles. Divide the number of minutes that you ran by the per-mile speed to calculate the total distance that you ran. For instance, if you use the treadmill for 60 minutes at a rate of 12 minutes per mile, divide 60 by 12 for a distance of 5 miles.
Wear an external tracking device while running on the treadmill to automatically monitor distance if your treadmill is older or doesn't provide accurate speed or distance information. Pedometers are simple devices that attach to your waist or ankle and measure the number of strides that you take. Most pedometers can be calibrated to calculate distance by multiplying your average stride length by the number of strides you take. If you want a more accurate measurement and are willing to shell out more money, you may prefer a running speedometer that measures distance and speed directly using a chip that fits inside your running shoe.
- European Journal of Applied Physiology: Comparison of Two Waist-Mounted and Two Ankle-Mounted Electronic Pedometers
- Cool Running: FitSense Speedometer Makes a Lot of Sense
- Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: Comparison of Incremental Treadmill Exercise and Free Range Running
- Joel McGuire, Personal Trainer: Differences in Distance Covered Between Treadmill and Outdoor Track Running and Walking
Dan Howard is a sports and fitness aficionado who holds a master's degree in psychology. Howard's postgraduate research on the brain and learning has appeared in several academic books and peer-reviewed psychology journals.