My old treadmill was several years old that I had gotten cheap from a friend a year or two ago. The motor burnt out on Wednesday. NOOOOoooooOOOO. Yes, I hate the treadmill. But I was using it more lately to try to hit my higher weekly mileage goals. This was a combo of trying to do miles conveniently (during the toddler's naptime, hopping on for just a couple miles to round out a run I gave up on early) and the heat completely sapping my energy and all my hydration.
So this treadmill death was during my big attempt for my first 50 mile week! My coach recommended the Nordictrack x7i Incline Trainer, a twitter friend supported the awesomeness of a very similar treadmill in the Nordictrack line, so I ordered my choice online from Sears midday Saturday, and they delivered it Sunday for an extra $10 weekend delivery charge. Even better, another $10 and they hauled away the old treadmill. And they completely assembled it. Win-win!
I went with the Nordictrack x9i Incline Trainer (generic pictures in this post come from this website).
|I know nothing about Jillian Michaels, but it appears she likes this Nordictrack... when there's lots of money involved. (Maybe she likes it anyway. Just being cynical.)|
It has a max incline of 40%, which I immediately tried when it was first delivered. I had to set it at like 1 mph but it was very cool. AND it has a max decline of -6%. So you can run uphills, downhills, and more importantly to a race course, rolling hills!
The incline/decline would sell it alone for more people, but the next part is the real kicker. A feature called iFit. It has a 10" touch screen that can actually show you the course you are running. For someone like me who has trouble just zoning out on a treadmill machine, this was a winner. You map a course on Google Maps, or choose one of their popular courses. Then, you choose it on the machine, and it will do the course WITH all the elevation grade changes you would have running it in real life. Then, on the screen, it shows you the Google Maps street view, in pretty darn good resolution, for the course as you run it, moving you along the path and changing the views with the speed you are running.
|Not. My. Arm.|
My first test was miles 10 to 15 of the San Francisco Marathon course I'll be running on Sunday. I mapped the 5 miles on the computer on the iFit website, then the wifi of the treadmill picks up all the data. A couple miles in I could already tell this was a much harder workout than a standard treadmill. My hips and gluteal medius (hope I said that muscle right!) were more sore like real road with the constant ups and downs of the course. And it was fun to relive the actual race course.
|Entering Golden Gate Park at Mile 12 of the SF Marathon|
After those 5 miles of the SF Marathon course, I ended up staying on it Sunday for my whole long run of 16 miles! I ran...
- 3.2 miles more of the SF Marathon course. Miles 15-18.3. This is smack in the middle of Golden Gate park, has some decent elevation gain, and was good for me to see on the screen because it was a hard section for me last year because you started to feel like you would never ever finish running in that park!
- 3.3 miles on the canals of Venice, Italy!
- 2.5 miles on the Monterey Canal.
- 2 miles along the road through Zion National Park in UT. That one was more challenging with an 11.5% incline at times!
So while I don't plan to get all my miles on the treadmill, I will add it in more often through the Texas summer and while I'm working on just accumulating so many weekly miles.
Cons for this treadmill?
- While it's a little expensive at $2,000, not sure I would really put that as a con since a lot of treadmills people buy new are $1200-1300.
- The iFit application they use for mapping could use some improvements. I'd love to import map data that I've exported out of a program like my Garmin or MapMyRun.com.
- And you can't start a workout in the middle. So if you just want to run certain miles, you should only map certain miles. Example: I mapped the San Francisco Marathon in 5 mile increments. Because you can't just jump to mile 10 to start if I had mapped it as one big single map.
- It will tell you your net elevation gain when you finish but not the split of how much ascent and descent you had. So if you mapped an out and back course, you can only see that you netted 0 ft gain. Sigh.
- I haven't figured out how to see my average pace. I can see my current speed expressed as pace. I can see my time elapsed and distance covered. But I'd love to see a changing figure for average pace.
Coming up for me on the treadmill... I mapped the first 15 miles of Big Sur Marathon. I can't wait to see the views on the screen. Or deal with the big incline that comes from miles 10 to 12. Known as a challenging course, it should make for a good workout in the near future!
And generally on the treadmill, I'm excited to have this for quick evening 2-3 mile runs. Where it's a pain to completely gear up, sweat to death, and then shower, sometimes for the second time that day. Instead I can hop on and add on a few more miles to my day anytime I want.