Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"Insider" Treadmill Maintenance Tips

Yesterday, it was time for our annual treadmill checkup, which is part of the extended service contract we bought with our treadmill. The repairman that came out was very knowledgeable and let me in on a few bits of interesting information that I thought I would share.

Most surprisingly, your treadmill works the hardest--and draws the most power--when you're walking between 3 and 4.5 miles an hour (both feet hitting the deck at the same time provides more friction). Treadmills apparently love speed, but I have always avoided speedwork at 11 MPH on the treadmill out of fear that I would break it. Well, those days are over!

  • Wear clean shoes--preferably a dedicated treadmill pair--to avoid dirt accumulation under the rollers and other parts.
  • Use a dedicated electrical outlet. For example, don't share your treadmill's outlet with a fridge, freezer, or an entertainment center.
  • Increase and decrease the speed gradually.
  • Unplug the treadmill after use to stop the electrical charge from heating up certain parts of the motor.
  • Keeping the treadmill outdoors or in an outdoor garage may void your warranty. This is why the first question you are asked when you call for service is "Where is your treadmill located?"
  • Plug the treadmill into a single-outlet wall surge protector (not in a surge protected extension cord with multiple outlets). If your treadmill breaks due to a power outage or power spike, it is easy for the repair folks to see that it was "surged" and that can void your warranty.
  • And...if you are a treadmill repair person, try to use those treadmills once in a while. Ironically, a high percentage of fitness equipment repair people seem to die an early death due to heart failures.
Here is another interesting fact: Apparently, the fitness industry banks on the fact that a whopping 85% of the equipment they sell will never be used. Wow! At least I am putting our treadmill to good use. Yesterday, I had a great treadmill training run: 2 miles warmup at 6.5MPH, followed by 2 miles at 9.1MPH, 1@6, 2@9.5, 1@6, 2@10, 1@6, 0.5@11, and 05. cooldown.

After all, I prefer to run outdoors, but sometimes the treadmill is a good alternative. Especially for flat speedwork, because there simply aren't that many flat places around here.


SnowLeopard said...

Those are some great tips Peter! Thanks for sharing those. I do have a dedicated "clean" pair of shoes I use, but I'm not afraid to do speed work on mine. :) I've already "run" one to the ground (it was old, and a less expensive model to start on), and am on my second~

Mark said...

Thank you so much for sharing pretty good treadmill maintenance tips.

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