Can You Run Faster Than The Treadmill Speed?

Somebody asked me this question the other day, and at first, I was baffled. Firstly, I had to figure out what they meant because there are two ways that you can answer this question based on how it is asked. So, can you run faster than what the treadmill is currently moving, and can you run faster than its top speed?

On a treadmill you can only run at the speed that the belt is moving. If you run slower, you will fall off the back of the treadmill. If you run too fast, you will run into the front of the treadmill.

The first thing I want to do in the rest of this article is expand on my short answer. After that, I will be answering a few interesting questions and giving you everything you need to know about whether or not you can run faster than the treadmill speed. Let’s get into it.

By the way, as an Amazon Associate, I earn when buying qualified products through links on my site.

What If You Run Faster Than The Treadmill?

In this section, I’m talking about a problem that most of us face when setting the treadmill to a certain speed. If you run faster than that speed, what happens? Also, I have a tip to help prevent this from happening. For now, let’s answer the main question.

On a treadmill, although you are running, you are relatively stationary. If you are to run faster than the treadmill is currently moving, you will go forward, and because the treadmill has a limited amount of space, you will reach a point where you start crashing into the structure of the treadmill.

This can be quite dangerous because if your feet start landing on the part of the treadmill that is not moving, it can significantly slow you down, and you might end up falling. Trust me, falling on a treadmill is pretty dangerous.

Here are three tips to help you maintain pace with the treadmill:  

  • Get used to a specific pace: I recommend getting used to one speed. If you run at six mph, then try and do that every day until you get to a point where you never move.
  • Holding on helps, but I prefer not to: I typically do not recommend holding on to the handlebars as a way to keep your pace in check, but you can do it if it helps.
  • Watch your foot placement: Another method that helps is to watch your feet. Doing this will help you stay in the same position on the treadmill.

I encounter this problem all the time. I tend to increase the treadmill’s speed a little bit without making the workout too taxing. Increasing the treadmill’s pace means I spend less time adjusting my pace up and down.

Can You Run Faster Than A Treadmills Top Speed?

In some cases, you can run faster than the top speed of a treadmill. However, there are two factors that you need to consider. These include:

  • Your ability: Rather than trying to beat a treadmill, you should try and figure out what your top speed is. Remember, if you push a treadmill too fast and you can’t keep up, it can get quite dangerous.
  • The treadmill: Not all treadmills are the same; some a faster than others. Elite-level athletes have specialized treadmills that can go above 25 mph (40 kph), while the average treadmill for your home or even at your gym tops out at around 15 mph (24 kph).

To put it into perspective, one of the fastest NFL players is Raheem Mostert (source), who hit a top speed of 23.09 mph (37.159 kph). So, he would be able to run faster than the average treadmill, but he wouldn’t be able to do so in an elite level one. Again, not all treadmills have the same speed, incline, or settings.

According to an article by Healthline, the running speed for the average human is around 5.9 mph (9.5 kph). If you run regularly, I am pretty sure that your speed is much better than that, but unless you are an elite athlete, chances are you cannot outrun a mid-range treadmill that you find in your home or at the gym.

What Is The Fastest Treadmill In The World?

It is hard to say precisely what the fastest treadmill is because there might be a few models out there that aren’t sold to the public.

With that said, the fastest treadmill that I know of goes just over 28 mph. That means that the fastest runner in the world would not be able to maintain pace with that treadmill.

What If You Are Too Slow For The Treadmill Speed?

Every treadmill should have an emergency off switch. If you cannot keep up with the treadmill’s pace, I highly recommend using the emergency switch instead of trying to adjust the speed down. Look, using the emergency switch will not break the treadmill; it’s just going to bring it to an immediate stop.

If you push the treadmill too fast, it will sweep your feet away from underneath you. It will shoot you backward and off the treadmill if you are lucky. However, in most cases, it does not push you back first.

Instead, it just flips you into the air, and it can be extremely dangerous because it often leads to faceplants and awkward landings, then it pushes you back.

I understand that pushing yourself is part of most people’s workouts. Seeing how fast you can go and how much you have improved is a challenge, but don’t push the treadmill too fast because you can hurt yourself if you can’t keep up.

Can You Run Faster Than A Manual Treadmill?

The medical departments of sports teams typically use manual treadmills. They do not have a motor, and therefore they do not have a top speed. The speed depends entirely on you and how fast you run.

Manual treadmills have a bit of resistance that plays a massive factor as you start your run, but as the conveyor gains momentum, the resistance begins to dissipate, and running starts to feel more natural. All of that said, you cannot run faster than a manual treadmill; here’s why.

Instead of the treadmill setting the pace, a manual treadmill works by having you set the pace.

Final Thoughts

Treadmills are great for everyday use. They can help you build your running strength and help you increase your running speed. I do not think you should worry about running faster than that treadmill’s top speed, and if you use my tips, you should have no problem maintaining pace with your treadmill.

Notes And Sources


Peter is a software developer who loves to take every opportunity to go outside that he can get. Peter grew up going on long backpacking excursions with his family every Summer and now enjoys staying at the beautiful Texas State Parks and swimming in the amazing Texas Rivers.

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