The ProForm Boston Marathon 3.0 treadmill is built to the highest spec of any ProForm treadmill, with a 20% incline gradient, 15 mph belt speed, and powerful 4.25 CHP Commercial Pro motor.
But as the entry level model in the collection, how does this compare to the Boston Marathon 4.0, and are the workout programs tailored towards distance running or general fitness?
In this review we take a closer look at the features that make the Boston Marathon treadmills so unique to the home fitness industry. This includes the design features, console functions, entertainment options, and workout programs, to help you decide if the Boston Marathon 3.0 is the best treadmill for your own home gym.
Design and safety features
The Boston Marathon 3.0 combines the very best features ProForm has to offer into a single treadmill, from the high power motor through to the industry leading warranty coverage. This includes the largest running area of any ProForm treadmill, measuring 20″W x 62″L. This is 2-inches longer than any of their Pro series machines, including the bestselling Pro 2000.
You also have the benefit of their largest incline range, where the running deck can be adjusted from -6% through to +20%. This is a steeper decline than we’ve seen on any home treadmill, and the steepest gradient outside of NordicTrack’s Incline Trainers (40%). Having this range means you’re able to create more challenging workouts than you could on any of their other treadmills, most of which have a maximum incline of 10%, 12% (Premier series), or 15% (Pro series).
Having such a wide incline/decline range is designed to emulate real-world running situations, and will automatically adjust depending on the workout program you choose. This includes the Boston HD video workouts, which were filmed on the actual Boston Marathon course and designed to simulate the natural terrain.
The 4.25 CHP Commercial Pro Motor is the same as the one you’ll find in their top-of-the-line Pro 9000 treadmill. But the big difference between the two is weight capacity, where the Pro model has a higher weight limit (350 lbs) compared to the Boston Marathon 3.0 (300 lbs). This is something we’re a little surprised by, and would expect the 350 lb capacity to be available on the Boston Marathon treadmills.
To put it in perspective, the loss in weight capacity is unlikely to be from the steeper incline, as NordicTrack’s Incline Trainers also have a 350 lb capacity, but adjust to a much steeper gradient (40%), and offer the same -6% decline. We don’t believe the frame strength would be an issue either, as it’s covered by a lifetime warranty and we’ve seen plenty of ProForm treadmills support 350 lbs (Pro series). The most likely reason is the higher belt speed, as we’re unable to find any other home treadmill that matches the 15 mph maximum speed (4-minute mile pace) available with their Boston Marathon treadmills.
As with many of their modern treadmills, the motor has also been fitted with ProForm’s in-home efficiency booster, which reduces the amount of electricity needed to power the motor and tread belt. The motor itself is constructed from high-grade components and has an internal cooling system to reduce vibration and wear on parts, thereby creating a quieter indoor running experience.
As with their Pro series treadmills, ProForm have fitted the Boston Marathon collection with the latest safety features to ensure it’s suitable for individual runners as well as family environments. This includes a 4-digit child-safety passcode that makes it impossible to set the tread belt in motion without the correct combination.
A similar feature is the safety screen timeout, which automatically resets the console if no buttons are pressed and the belt remains stationary for a set amount of time. You also have a set of extra long safety handles for stability assistance, and a safety key slot at the console.
If you haven’t used one before, the safety key acts as a fail safe to stop the belt in the event of a fall. It’s a short length of cord with a clip at each end, where one clip attaches to your clothing and the other to the console. If you move too far from the console, the clip detaches and the belt slows to a stop.
ProForm Boston Marathon 3.0 – Features Summary
- 15 MPH QuickSpeed® Control
- 20% incline, -6% decline
- iFit® Enabled
- High definition Boston Marathon course route video to follow
- 10″ Full-Color Touch Screen
- 4.25 CHP Commercial Pro Motor
- Dual 8-inch CoolAire™ workout fans
- 20″W x 62″L Non-Stretch, 2-Ply, Commercial Tread Belt
- Cadence Coach advanced performance monitoring
- 400 lb Weight capacity
Display console design
The Boston Marathon 3.0 treadmill console is packed with all the entertainment features you could hope for, with the largest built-in display of any home treadmill.
This 10″ full-color web-enabled touch screen includes a built-in Android™ browser, allowing you to post to social media and check up on the latest news without stepping off the treadmill. By simply swiping the screen you can switch back to an overview of your workout performance, with feedback such as speed, time, distance, heart rate, incline/decline, and number of calories burned.
You also have dual multi-speed 8-inch built-in CoolAire™ workout fans built into the console, which offer a level of climate control to your indoor running workouts, keeping you cool to help increase your endurance.
There’s even an iPod® and MP3 compatible Music Port that lets you connect to the built-in Intermix Acoustics 3.0 sound system, where you can listen to your favorite motivational workout music via the two 3-inch speakers.
If you don’t want to use the web-enabled screen for its entertainment options, you can still use it to view the Boston HD video workouts that ProForm filmed on the actual Boston Marathon course.
When we compared the Marathon 3.0 model to the upgraded 4.0 model, we found no differences in the range of features offered by the console. Both have the 10” screen, 8” cooling fans, iPod® compatible sound system, and HD video of the Boston Marathon course. Both consoles are iFit enabled.
Heart rate monitoring
Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any way to measure your heart rate. We found no mention of EKG touch sensors in the manual or on the website, and we couldn’t see them built into the handles.
This is in comparison the the Marathon 4.0 model, which clearly states that it supports telemetry heart rate monitoring (chest strap) and that ProForm even include a chest strap with the treadmill.
Workout programs and user profiles
When you’re buying a new treadmill, the quantity and variety of workout programs available can be an important factor in selecting the best model for your personal fitness goals.
ProForm and NordicTrack treadmills are the best in the industry for workout variation, thanks to their extensive onboard workout collections and access to the iFit service. But the Boston Marathon 3.0 also has a number of unique features that really set it apart for anyone that’s serious about distance running or marathon training.
In addition to the 4 workout program categories, you also have the Boston Marathon HD Video Workouts, which are available at 3 different experience levels; beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
These are 16-week or 20-week programs designed to prepare you for the Boston Marathon, which were created as a collaboration between ProForm and the Boston Athletic Association coaching staff. But even if you’re not taking part in the Boston Marathon this year, they are still a unique and effective way to prepare for your next long distance running event.
If you prefer to workout at your own pace, or are comfortable with making adjustments to the speed and incline throughout your workout, the Manual program will be your best option.
Unlike the Onboard workouts, you’re following no preset profile of speed and incline settings, which you can set to any level at any point during your workout.
- Onboard workouts
If you prefer a bit more structure in your training, the Onboard workouts follow a preset profile of speed and incline settings, which are defined in a series of segments.
As you progress through the segments, each of these settings will automatically adjust, leaving you free to concentrate on your running performance and not worry about staying in touch with the console.
ProForm also teamed up with the Boston Athletic Association coaching staff to create high definition video workouts, filmed on the actual Boston Marathon course. This simulates the natural terrain and allow you to train for the race from anywhere in the world. Choose from 16-week or 20-week programs; then select beginner, intermediate, or advanced level training. You can then listen for Cadence Coach, which acts as a metronome with an audible tone that keeps you in sync with your target finishing time.
- Set-A-Goal workouts
As with the upgraded Boston Marathon 4.0 treadmill, you also have access to a series of target-oriented workouts. These allow you to set a goal for the time, distance, number of calories burned, or pace of your workout.
Having the target to work towards can be an effective source of motivation, and still offers you the freedom of changing the belt speed and incline when needed, as they follow no preset profile.
- iFit® workouts
Boston Marathon treadmills are iFit enabled, meaning you don’t need to purchase the wireless module separately as the technology is already built into the console. But if you want to start using the iFit workouts, you will need to create an iFit account, which means paying for a subscription to the service (usually costs around $99 per year).
Once you’re signed up for iFit, you can download personalized workout programs straight to your console, tailored towards a variety of personal fitness goals. You can even race competitively against other iFit users around the world, or use Google Maps™ technology to recreate real-world running routes, where the incline will automatically adjust to match a change in terrain.
This is a feature we’ve only ever seen on the Boston Marathon treadmills, and essentially acts as a much more convenient alternative to the Quick controls on the console for adjusting the speed of the tread belt.
Supplied with two straps of varying sizes, the ring is fitted with increase and decrease buttons that act in the same way as the buttons on the console. Unfortunately there’s no equivalent ‘Incline Ring’ for adjusting the incline settings, which in many cases would remove the need for reaching the console altogether during a workout.
Comprehensive fitness tracking is available for up to 4 users via your iFit account, which is accessible from your computer, tablet, smart phone, or Boston Marathon 3.0 console.
Ease of assembly and maintenance
ProForm continue to be one of the best fitness companies in the industry for designing cardio equipment that’s quick to assemble, with clear setup instructions that are easy to follow. Although it’s probably not something you want to base your buying decision around, knowing what to expect from the assembly process can help you get started with your new fitness routine as soon as possible.
Fortunately, the Boston Marathon 3.0 user manual includes clear step-by-step written instructions, accompanied by exploded diagrams with parts references to show how each part fits together. ProForm even include most of the tools you need, including a hex key that can adjust the walking belt.
It’s important to bear in mind that ProForm recommends three people for this assembly. That’s because having most of the treadmill pre-assembled cuts down on the setup time, but does mean you’re moving heavier parts around, such as the running deck.
If this isn’t possible, an alternative to self-assembly is the ProForm professional assembly service.
Professional assembly services
Many modern fitness companies now offer an in-home assembly service, which is often a more convenient option than assembling the equipment yourself.
ProForm only guarantee curbside delivery, but as part of the initial purchase they do offer an in-home assembly service, depending on your location. As an alternative, Amazon have also started offering their own home assembly service for treadmills.
With Amazon, your options very much depend on your location, but it’s an excellent way to find highly rated local companies that can setup the treadmill for an affordable price. Moving the treadmill to a new room isn’t included, so you’ll need to have the boxes in the location you plan on using the machine. If Amazon don’t have service providers in your area, you can sign up to be emailed when they become available.
Transport and maintenance
As with most of their treadmills, the Boston Marathon 3.0 is fitted with transport wheels, which make it easier to move between rooms if needed.
For maintenance, the user manual is packed with useful information to keep the treadmill running smoothly. This includes how to update the console firmware, calibrate the incline system, and troubleshoot basic issues.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: Lifetime
- Motor: Lifetime
- Parts and Electronics: 6 years
- Labor: 3 years