Curved treadmills are becoming more and more popular. They are here to stay! For runners, there are many perks. It doesn’t need electricity because it is manually driven. Therefore, with no motor, it is quieter, a better workout, and the running belt does not require adjustments or changing for 150,000 miles. Therefore, the right curved treadmill will last a very long time for gym owners or a lifetime for consumers who get one for their home. Curved treadmills also boast that they force you to run on your forefoot or midfoot which is arguably the most efficient way to run. Curved treadmills also have no limit to how fast you can run on them. Motorized treadmills max out around 10 to 12 miles an hour. These will go as slow as you want and as fast as you can propel them. Below is my personal review on the TrueForm Trainer which I bought and have trained on for a month now.
The first week took some adjusting to. I have run on a lot of motorized treadmills and put down a lot of miles outside. Running on a curved treadmill is different. The treadmill as a whole is more compact than a motorized treadmill yet still as heavy. The TrueForm Trainer is built like a tank. I know that the True Form Runner (TrueForm’s other model made here in the USA) is a little bit bigger and heavier. The Trainer is made in South Korea and the main difference is the belt resistance is a little bit less which translates to easier running. I chose the Trainer over the Runner for two main reasons. One was the fact that the belt was easier to propel (which I wanted for my really long runs and my easy days). Second, I wanted to own the lighter and more compact treadmill of the two for my home. Below are the specs copied from TrueForm on both the Runner and the Trainer so you can see them for yourself.
Runner Specifications:Dimensions: 64″ x 36″ x 63″ Unit Weight: 340lb Max Weight: 500lb Frame: 7 guage Steel Formed & Welded Covers: Single Piece – Aluminum Formed & Welded Tread Surface: Bonded Kraiburg Thermolast made by Smith and Wesson Bearings: 106 Sealed Steel Ball BearingsPulleys: Tooled Solid Aluminum Display: LED – Bright Display Rechargeable Battery
Trainer Specifications:Dimensions: 64″ x 31″ x 63″ Unit Weight: 270lb Max Weight: 400lb Frame: SteelCovers: Single Formed Reinforced PolymerTread Surface: Molded Thermoplastic ElastomerBearings: 112 Sealed Steel Ball BearingsPulleys: Injection Molded PolymerDisplay: LCD – AA Battery
Like I said, don’t give up on curved treadmills if you felt like the experience you had running on one was awful and awkward. It takes time to adjust. Your mind and body is experiencing something new. I had a pretty quick transition because I am already a midfoot and forefoot runner with pretty efficient form. For those who land on their heel you may not want to buy a curved treadmill but if you are willing to learn how to change to a midfoot and forefoot style of running, this treadmill will help you learn how to run efficiently over time. It would be hard to overstride on this treadmill because it would feel very awkward. Where and how you land on the curve of this treadmill is important. I also find that establishing a nice tempo and rhythm makes running on this treadmill much easier.
This said, the TrueForm Trainer has been perfect for my long runs, recovery day runs, and for the interval workouts. I have done 200m repeats and 800m repeats on this treadmill. My legs were exhausted after both of the workouts. I was sore for a couple of days. Overall, this treadmill does work your legs out more and I have had to have time to get stronger in especially the quads and calves.
The belt is smooth, quiet, and overall it is a very comfortable experience running on the curve. I don’t feel like I am running up a hill at all. I saw articles out there that compared the curved treadmill to running on a 7 to 8 incline on a motorized treadmill. I do agree that this is noticably a harder treadmill to run on but I would not say that I feel like I am running on a big incline at all. Instead, I would say each step you take is a little bit harder because you are propelling the belt and that takes energy and strength but it is more of a gradual grind on your legs that you can get use to. In fact, my theory is that learning how to run on this treadmill at all kinds of distances and speeds will make me a faster runner when I hit the roads again. So far, I think my theory is true because in the few road runs I have had, I am naturally running faster on the roads than I have had before.
Your hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors will also get a good workout on this curved treadmill. I really haven’t had much issues there but I do work out those muscles consistently in my strength training. If you do not do regular strength training for your different leg muscles, you might tire out much quicker and feel the effects on your legs when running on a curved treadmill.
The build quality of this treadmill is solid. Honestly, I dropped the treadmill bringing it down to our basement and nothing broke. It is made of quality parts. Nothing on the deck and belt looks or feels cheap. My only con for this treadmill is the included electronics. While assembling it, I sliced the wire that connected the handrail to the base. Fortunately, TrueForm customer service was awesome and they sent me a new one free of charge in about a week. Once I got the wires and electronics working, I found out the distance and time were way off every time I ran. I run with a Polar Vantage V running watch and I also have a nice Garmin. I use them to get an accurate measurement of how long I have been running and a better estimation of how far. For some reason, the TrueForm Trainer’s electronics are garbage! The time runs fast. For example, by the end of my 10 mile run today the timer on the Trainer was over 4:00 faster. The distance can’t be accurate either. Not even close! My watch had me at 10 miles for my run but the trainer had me at about 7. I am a very experienced runner and I know that the electronics on the True Form Trainer are not reading accurately.
While I am very disapointed in the electronics provided. This company has built a very good curved treadmill. The running experience is a solid 4 to 4.5 stars out of five for me. Maybe I need to have them send me a new electronics unit or maybe they will upgrade it in the future? Would I recommend this curved treadmill? Yes, based just on the fact you can do some great workouts on it, and I feel like this is a quality and well built product. My plan is to continue to use this treadmill a lot in the winter and on bad weather days. I will throw in some motorized treadmill workouts and get outside as well. In the spring summer I might run outside a lot more but this will still be in my weekly routine for a couple big reasons. One, running on a treadmill has helped with my plantar fasciitis that is caused by my long miles on the roads. Two, this curved treadmill is making my legs stronger and I want my legs to be as strong as they can be for my ultra racing plans.
While the curved treadmill isn’t for everyone, I do believe that a lot of the more experienced and serious runners out there need to take a look at buying one. It may help you achieve your fitness goals by simply being a different running tool that works different aspects of your mind and body. I am very happy to have my TrueForm trainer. My wife and kids are even using it for exercise. Walk on it, jog on it, or go as fast as your legs can sprint. There aren’t many limits! This is why the curved treadmills are here to stay.