If you're fortunate enough to have great weather year-round then running outside can certainly be an attractive option.
But if you want to be sure of sticking with your running routine, sometimes it's difficult to find the time or motivation, particularly if you can only find time to run early in the morning or late at night.
Aside from the time of year and time of day, it's also important to take into account the likelihood of injury, and being able to prevent any long term health issues.
These are just a few of the reasons why adding a treadmill to your current workout plan can be a great choice for both complimenting, and perhaps even replacing your current outdoor running.
However, despite their effectiveness at reducing the impact on your knees and joints, they aren't the most compact of machines when it comes to their size.
If you don't want to compromise on the length of the running area but still want to make the most of your space, the best option might be one of the folding designs from ProForm or Sole Fitness.
If space isn't an issue, then we would recommend one of the Precor machines, purely because they specialize in treadmills that have a fixed design and don't fold away.
Whichever option you choose, there are several checks to carry out to make sure that what you're buying is a high quality treadmill that can support your style of workout.
These are as follows:
Size of the running area - You want to make sure the running area is large enough to support your full running stride.
A length of 50 inches will be fine for anyone close to 5ft tall, while a 56 - 60 inch stride is better for users 6ft or taller.
Preset workout programs - Modern treadmills offer everything from a basic hill climb to setting up a virtual running route through France using Google Maps.
Find a balance between programs that will hold your interest and make you want to keep training, and what your budget allows for.
Running deck cushioning system - This should also really include the motor, but it's hard to judge the quality of the cushioning system simply by looking at pictures or watching YouTube videos.
If you can't try out the machine before you buy, try to find as many customer reviews as you can and read about their experiences.
For treadmills with higher incline settings of up to 15%, and speeds of up to 12mph, try to make sure your treadmill has at least a 3.0 CHP motor to maintain a steady belt speed.
Safety features - This doesn't need to be anything too fancy, but try to make sure you find a machine that at least offers a safety key and emergency stop button.
Password protect options are available, but they do tend to add a lot to the price.
User IDs - If you want to track your heart rate or calories burned with any accuracy, find a machine with user IDs that allows you to enter at least your weight and age.
These also let you keep track of your workout history and can even allow you to create your own custom workout programs.
It's best to make a list of the features that you are sure you need, and distinguish these from those which are considered more 'nice-to-have'.
This way, not only can you make sure the treadmill you buy will support your training, but also that it will hold you interest when it comes to workout variety.
You can also use the list to filter out any machines that are outside of your budget, as it's important not to spend thousands of dollars on extra technology or workout settings that you will simply never use.