In this post, we interview certified UESCA Running Coach, Tina Kuhr, who is a treadmill product manager for Life Fitness. As a lot of us run on treadmills to train, this post gives great insight into not only what to look for in purchasing a treadmill, but also tips to stay motivated and engaged when running indoors.
Treadmill Product Manager…not exactly a job that you hear about a lot but one we’re envious of! How did you get into this field?
I started out as a product manager for baby clothing at the Gap in San Francisco after college. When I moved back to Chicago, I held a variety of jobs and ended up getting into teaching fitness and even opened my own studio. After I sold the studio, I continued teaching until I decided I wanted to get back into the corporate world. I was teaching at Orangetheory at the time and made a connection with someone who worked at Life Fitness. When I started, I was a product manager for cross-trainers and bikes, and I eventually took over the treadmill category in January 2019. As a lifelong runner, managing treadmills is a dream!
When seeking out a treadmill to purchase, cost aside, what should some of the major considerations be?
The first thing is to actually get on any treadmill you’re considering purchasing to make sure it feels good to run on. All treadmill brands have different suspension systems, which is what allows for shock absorption when walking or running, and they feel different. Other important considerations are speed settings, console and entertainment options, and durability.
As an avid runner, do you find yourself training on a treadmill a lot or do you try to keep work and training separate?
I found I was running on the treadmill almost too much actually. It’s so convenient to work out in our showroom during lunch. I am trying to make it a point to get outside for at least 2-3 runs a week before the winter hits.
A lot of people dread running indoors, do you have any tips to keep running indoors engaging and fun?
I actually LOVE treadmill running. I like being able to accurately choose my speed throughout a run. Also, there’s great people watching around the gym and through the windows to the outside. To keep it interesting, I like to change the speed by .1 every 15 seconds to 2 minutes and vary the incline frequently. My treadmill workouts these days are almost always interval training. For those who want to forget about the run, they can take advantage of the entertainment offered on the treadmill console. Life Fitness premium treadmills come loaded with Netflix, YouTube, TV, games and more to keep you distracted.
When running on a treadmill, is it hard to focus on your run and not on the experience from a job perspective?
The only time I’m overthinking the experience is when I’m running on a prototype, or using new software or programming because then I’m required to give feedback. Running is a mental escape for me, so I can easily get lost in my run and not think about work.
What are the main differences between a commercial grade treadmill, and say, one that you can get from a big box store?
The biggest difference between a commercial grade treadmill and a consumer treadmill is the longevity and durability. Commercial grade treadmills are built to withstand being used all day by a variety of runners. Consumer treadmills are built to handle just a few workouts each day. Commercial treadmills usually have faster max speed and inclines, different console experiences, and can have stronger motors as well. Consumer treadmills can have different power requirements for the home. My mom and I both bought Life Fitness treadmills seven years ago (before I worked here), and neither of us have ever had to service our treadmills or had any issues with them.
Tina – thank you for the great post and tips!!
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