How Many Miles On The Elliptical Equals A Mile Running

When it comes to comparing the distance covered on an elliptical machine to running, many factors come into play. As an avid fitness enthusiast, I have often wondered about the equivalence between the two activities. Let’s delve into the details to understand how many miles on the elliptical equals a mile of running.

The Elliptical Machine vs. Running

The elliptical machine is a popular low-impact cardio option that simulates the motion of running without the same impact on joints. When using the elliptical, the feet move in a smooth, elongated oval-shaped path, which engages both the upper and lower body. On the other hand, running involves a more linear motion and places greater stress on the joints, especially in activities like outdoor running.

So, how do we compare the distance covered on the elliptical to that covered while running? The key lies in understanding the resistance, incline, and the individual’s stride length and pace.

Resistance and Incline

Many elliptical machines allow users to adjust the resistance level and incline. Higher resistance and incline settings can make the elliptical workout more challenging and simulate the effort required for running uphill. This makes it challenging to determine a straightforward conversion from elliptical miles to running miles. For instance, covering one mile on high resistance and incline may require more effort than running the same distance on a flat surface.

Stride Length and Pace

Another factor to consider is the individual’s stride length and pace. The elliptical machine allows users to adjust their stride length, which can affect the distance covered per revolution. Additionally, the pace at which one uses the elliptical also plays a role in determining the equivalence to running. A faster pace on the elliptical may cover more distance in less time compared to a slower pace.

Calculating Equivalency

Given these variables, it can be challenging to provide a precise conversion of miles on the elliptical to miles run. In my experience, I’ve found that a general rule of thumb is to consider covering 1.5 to 2 miles on the elliptical for every 1 mile run. However, this can vary widely based on the factors mentioned earlier.

Personal Experience

During my own workouts, I’ve noticed that a 2:1 ratio works well for me when comparing my efforts on the elliptical to those of running. This means that if I cover 2 miles on the elliptical, I feel like I’ve put in a similar amount of effort as running 1 mile outdoors. Of course, this is a subjective measure and may vary for each individual.


In conclusion, it’s important to recognize that the comparison between miles on the elliptical and miles run is not a one-size-fits-all equation. The variables of resistance, incline, stride length, and pace make it challenging to provide a universally applicable conversion. However, through personal experimentation and observation, individuals can find a ratio that feels equivalent for their own workouts. It’s all about finding the balance that best suits your fitness goals and overall well-being.