Indoor run on treadmill workout distance off by 15%

mrbg07546

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 4, 2015
16
6
I was getting 0.85 miles in treadmill and 1 mile on Apple watch. That's a bit off isn't it?
 

twisted-pixel

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2009
835
41
San Jose, CA
problem is that with a treadmill you can't tell if the treadmill is accurate or your watch is. Outside, with a phone, you have GPS to compare (and GPS is usually pretty accurate!!) but in your case, maybe the watch is right and the treadmill itself needs recalibrating.
 

mrbg07546

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 4, 2015
16
6
problem is that with a treadmill you can't tell if the treadmill is accurate or your watch is. Outside, with a phone, you have GPS to compare (and GPS is usually pretty accurate!!) but in your case, maybe the watch is right and the treadmill itself needs recalibrating.
Wouldn't the speed of the belt determine the distance???
 
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twisted-pixel

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2009
835
41
San Jose, CA
another thing I have found with using a treadmill is that your cadence might stay the same but your stride length changes as you try to stay in the 'running zone'. When you're out on the road you don't have to stay within a small area and this can influence the distance measured since the watch uses cadence to calculate your distance.
 

jbachandouris

macrumors 601
Aug 18, 2009
4,484
1,408
Upstate NY
I second the calibration issue. My gym NEVER calibrates their treadmills. So when they change belts, it's really tight and loosens up after use.

Coming from someone who relies too much on treadmills, it's your outdoor distance that will make a difference, not the treadmill.
 
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mrbg07546

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 4, 2015
16
6
Like the others said even the "indicated" speed of the belt may not be correct. Not saying the watch knows better either as there are so many variables involved. Outside with the GPS used for calibration is the most dependable on a walk or run.
. How does Apple watch collaborate? Do you need to do a outdoor workout? I have only ever done a outdoor walk workout(and boot a outdoor run ) would this mean collaboration is off?
 

DDanis60

macrumors newbie
Apr 10, 2015
26
10
Ive run on 3 different gyms treadmills numerous times with my watch and each run (different brands & relatively new machines) at each gym returns nearly the same results: .89 on watch at 1 mile on treadmill. by the time i reach my 5k treadmill distance, the watch is almost always right at 2.79 miles. kind of annoying but at least i know how far I am actually running. Either way, its not just your watch or your treadmill.
 

mush10

macrumors regular
Jul 15, 2008
127
33
No fitness trackers are ever accurate against the treadmill. As someone mentioned, there is more variation in your stride.

I would just let it count your steps and hit your activity goal. Until Apple updates the running App or allows third parties access it is not the best place to track runs. I use Garmin Connect and manually add any Treadmill work I do. Hopefully Watch OS2 will open up more options.
 

exxxviii

macrumors 65816
May 20, 2015
1,423
552
Another thing I have found with using a treadmill is that your cadence might stay the same but your stride length changes as you try to stay in the 'running zone'. When you're out on the road you don't have to stay within a small area and this can influence the distance measured since the watch uses cadence to calculate your distance.
This. I did a lot of calibration with my Garmin 910XT and its footpod for indoor and outdoor running. My stride length is significantly different on a treadmill versus outdoor running at the same pace. So, I had to calibrate my Garmin to match my treadmill running versus what it would measure outside. I don't know why, but I suspect it has a lot to do with the fact that you are not actually moving on a treadmill, so your push-off is not overcoming resistance and you have a more elastic surface on a treadmill.
 

NotSafeForWork

macrumors regular
Apr 9, 2015
239
87
Ive run on 3 different gyms treadmills numerous times with my watch and each run (different brands & relatively new machines) at each gym returns nearly the same results: .89 on watch at 1 mile on treadmill. by the time i reach my 5k treadmill distance, the watch is almost always right at 2.79 miles. kind of annoying but at least i know how far I am actually running. Either way, its not just your watch or your treadmill.
EXACTLY the same here.

My gym has 50+ treadmills (don't ask :rolleyes:) and I must have run on at least 12 of them with my watch. The error is exactly what was previously mentioned - a 5K (3.1 miles) on the watch comes in at 2.79 miles according to ALL the treadmills.

I think it was better before 1.01 update.

I also did a 20 minute outdoor run with my phone and watch to try to fix this but it made no subsequent difference.
 

jbachandouris

macrumors 601
Aug 18, 2009
4,484
1,408
Upstate NY
Which app should I use? The Nike app won't start for me and the Workout app seems to not accept my finger touch right away; not sure why.

Since I can't seem to get the watch to start right away, I have no way to check accuracy of the gym's treadmill.

1.01 on watch.
 

firewood

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2003
7,635
870
Silicon Valley
My gym has 50+ treadmills (don't ask :rolleyes:) and I must have run on at least 12 of them with my watch.
Are they all the same model and brand? They could all have the same error.

At my local gym, I sure that all of the several dozen of the treadmills that I've used all say I'm running faster and farther than I really would be if running with the same effort (heart rate, etc.) outdoors, even if I set the inclines to the standard compensation of 1%. Maybe the gym calibrates them that way to make their customers feel better about their workouts there?

But I note that some people here report that the Watch reads over, and others report the Watch reads under. That's likely a calibration issues, with people calibrating with the stride and/or cadence that's slightly different between running on the road and on the treadmill.

So, indoors, I pretty much ignore the treadmill distance, Watch distance, and Garmin footpod distance, and judge my workout mostly by average and peak heart rate and duration.

If it were a home treadmill where I could tinker with it, I'd carefully measure the belt (after it's broken in and stretched out), put a highly visible mark on it, and count actual belt revolutions per 5 minutes. That would get me a more exact measurement. Then use a precision level on the footbed to check the 0% incline, since that's another gotcha.
 

exxxviii

macrumors 65816
May 20, 2015
1,423
552
At my local gym, I sure that all of the several dozen of the treadmills that I've used all say I'm running faster and farther than I really would be if running with the same effort (heart rate, etc.) outdoors, even if I set the inclines to the standard compensation of 1%.
This is true for all treadmill running. You run faster with the same level of effort. It is not a calibration issue with the treadmill. 100% of the treadmills I have run in hotels and gyms across the country all register faster than outdoors for the same LoE.
 
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firewood

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2003
7,635
870
Silicon Valley
This is true for all treadmill running. You run faster with the same level of effort.
This is true for treadmill running at a 0% incline at common running paces. That's why many treadmill running guides recommend increasing the incline of the treadmill footbed to somewhere in the range of 0.5% to 1.5% (depending on pace) to compensate for various factors, so that you don't run faster with the same level of effort.

But at one local gym, I have to increase the compensation incline to more like 2.5% or 3% before the reported pace seems to match the workout intensity. Maybe the place leans all their treadmills downhill. Or they could all be miss-calibrated by about the same amount.
 

NotSafeForWork

macrumors regular
Apr 9, 2015
239
87
Be interested to hear from someone still on v1.0. IIRC it was very accurate (or at least consistent with treadmill) at the start when I first got my watch.
 

Julien

macrumors G4
Jun 30, 2007
11,142
3,835
Atlanta
This is true for all treadmill running. You run faster with the same level of effort. It is not a calibration issue with the treadmill. 100% of the treadmills I have run in hotels and gyms across the country all register faster than outdoors for the same LoE.
Also treadmill running is fundamentally differant than outdoor running. On a treadmill the belt moves out from under you. In outdoor running you must push forward. This results in less hamstring engagement and creates a shorter stride length and higher cadence than you would outside.
 
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firewood

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2003
7,635
870
Silicon Valley
On a treadmill the belt moves out from under you.
And when running outdoors the ground moves out from under you as well.

Otherwise you have to assume that motion relative to non-accelerating inertial frames does not behave the same, which contradicts various laws of physics (Einstein, et.al. Go argue with them if you want to assume otherwise.)
 

Julien

macrumors G4
Jun 30, 2007
11,142
3,835
Atlanta

firewood

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2003
7,635
870
Silicon Valley
Im referring to the biomechanics of running and not astrophysics.
The laws of physics don't change on the surface of the earth, or on treadmills.

Just because a paper reports some data does not mean their analysis of the data is valid.

Perhaps some runners get sloppy with their form when they don't have to worry about falling off the belt or being dropped by the pack at race pace.
 

menace3

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2008
552
151
Seattle, WA
The treadmill usually does not connect any of your data such as height and weight. You hit a timer, and incline, and a speed and go. There is usually no maintenance to maintain anything. I wore a fitbit and the apple watch and neither one of them said I burned as much calories as the treadmill did.
 

firewood

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2003
7,635
870
Silicon Valley
This is true for all treadmill running. You run faster with the same level of effort. It is not a calibration issue with the treadmill. 100% of the treadmills I have run in hotels and gyms across the country all register faster than outdoors for the same LoE.
The treadmills in one Silicon Valley hi-tech corporate gym I used to train on registered slower, not faster, for the same LoE. Possibly because there was no gym marketing or membership sales department influencing the equipment setup and calibration accuracy.