The ProForm Boston Marathon 4.0 treadmill is an upgraded version of the Boston Marathon 3.0, offering a wide range of incline and decline settings (-6% to +20%) and high enough belt speed (15 mph) to challenge even the most experienced distance runners.
In terms of its support for marathon training, this is one of the best home treadmills we’ve seen. But what can you expect from the workout programs and entertainment options? Is the Boston Marathon 4.0 exclusively for distance runners or does it cater for someone looking to improve their personal fitness or lose weight?
In this review we’ll be making some important comparisons between the two Boston Marathon treadmills, as well as between the 4.0 model and other top-of-the-line ProForm treadmills. This means taking an in-depth look at everything from the workout programs and design features, through to the entertainment options and warranty coverage, to help you decide if this is the best treadmill for your own fitness goals and budget.
Design and safety features
At first glance the Boston Marathon 4.0 treadmill seems virtually identical to the 3.0 model, with the same incline range, belt speed, and motor power. But the 4.0 model is the only one of the two to feature ProForm’s Runners Flex™ Impact Control system.
Runners Flex™ is designed to cushion the impact of your foot striking the belt, thereby reducing the stress placed on your feet, as well as your ankle, knee, and hip joints. But if you’re looking to emulate a real world road running experience, it’s a feature you can disable in seconds, creating a firmer running deck.
Another feature that’s unique to the 4.0 model is the SpeedRing®. It’s basically a more convenient way to adjust the belt speed when running, where you can change the belt speed using buttons on the ring rather than having to select from options on the console.
In terms of what’s powering the tread belt, you have a 4.25 CHP Mach Z™ Commercial Plus Motor, which has been constructed from high-grade components and features an internal cooling system. This helps to reduce vibration and wear on parts, which in turn creates a quieter indoor running experience. As with ProForm’s Pro series treadmills, the Boston Marathon collection includes a lifetime warranty on the motor, and uses an in-home efficiency boost to reduce the amount of electricity required.
This is powerful enough to maintain the industry-leading 15 mph belt speed throughout the -6% to +15% decline/incline range, even with the full 400 lb capacity. The weight limit is something that’s made even more impressive when you consider the top model in their Pro series (Pro 9000) is limited to 300 lbs, even with a shallower incline range (-3% to 15%) and slower maximum belt speed (12 mph).
Having such a steep incline increases the weight at which you burn calories, making it an excellent option for anyone that’s looking to lose weight in the shortest time. Although it’s not quite as impressive as the -6% to +40% gradient of the NordicTrack X11i Incline Trainer, it’s still steeper than any other treadmill from ProForm, Sole Fitness, Schwinn, and Precor.
We already mentioned how impressive the maximum belt speed was, but it’s worth emphasizing that at the maximum 15 mph setting this is equivalent to a 4-minute mile. No other home treadmill that we’ve seen, regardless of price, provides the same high belt speed setting. Most are capped at either 10 mph or 12 mph. Having this extra speed makes it a much better option for anyone that’s serious about improving their running pace and participating in distance running events.
But one of the most important features is one that we haven’t even mentioned yet, which is the 20″W x 62″L running surface. This is the longest tread belt of any treadmill from ProForm, and longer than the belts you’ll find on treadmills from Sole Fitness, Schwinn, and Nautilus, amongst others. This makes it the perfect fit for taller users, who may not be able to build up to their full natural running stride on something like the Power 795 and Sport 5.0 treadmills, which are limited to a 20″L x 55″L running area.
One final feature worth mentioning is the large 2.5″ precision-machined rollers. These serve to decrease tension and wear on the tread belt, which also counts towards a quieter workout. This is the largest roller that ProForm include on their treadmills, with most of their entry level models using a 1.9″ roller system instead.
As you might expect, the Boston Marathon 4.0 treadmill has all the latest safety features, including a 4-digit child-safety passcode. This is designed to prevent movement of the belt until the correct combination is entered, which is perfect for family environments with young children.
You also have the safety screen timeout, which is where the console automatically resets if no buttons are pressed and the belt remains static for a set amount of time. In addition, you also have all the standard safety features, such as a set of handles for balance assistance, and a safety key to protect you by stopping the tread belt in the event of a fall.
ProForm Boston Marathon 4.0 – 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 Mach Z™ Commercial Plus Motor
- Dual 8-inch CoolAire™ workout fans
- 20″W x 62″L Non-Stretch, 2-Ply, Commercial Tread Belt
- Runners Flex™ Impact Control
- Cadence Coach advanced performance monitoring
- Onboard Marathon Training
- Wireless Chest Strap Included
- 400 lb Weight capacity
Display console design
As with the earlier 3.0 model, the Boston Marathon 4.0 treadmill features a 10″ full-color web-enabled touch screen, with built-in Android™ browser. This allows you to watch movies, catch up on TV shows, and post to social media 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.
The dual multi-speed 8-inch built-in CoolAire™ workout fans offer a level of climate control to your indoor running workouts, keeping you cool to help increase your endurance. To keep you hydrated there’s a storage area for water bottles, but unlike most treadmills this has actually been attached to the back of the console.
There’s also an iPod® and MP3 compatible Music Port, which lets you connect to the built-in Intermix Acoustics 3.0 sound system and listen to your favorite motivational workout music via the two 3-inch speakers.
Quick Speed and Quick Incline controls are available at the console, but although this is an iFit enabled treadmill, you don’t have any of the same shortcut buttons that you do with one of ProForm’s Pro series treadmills. That’s because the workout navigation is handled entirely by the touch screen, resulting in a less cluttered, more intuitive console.
Heart rate monitoring
Telemetry heart rate monitoring was one of the major features that was missing from the Boston Marathon 3.0 treadmill. Fortunately it’s been included as a feature on the 4.0 model, allowing you to transmit your pulse rate to a receiver in the console via the Adidas® ANT+ Wireless Chest Strap (included).
The result is then displayed on-screen as part of a summary of your workout performance. Although you don’t have access to any onboard Heart Rate Controlled (HRC) programs, this can still be useful if you want to workout at a specific heart rate level.
Workout programs and user profiles
If you want to see consistent improvements in your personal fitness level, it’s important to vary your workout routine. But you also need to keep track of key performance indicators that show how you’re increasing your endurance, losing weight, or increasing your running speed.
This is especially true when you’re preparing for a marathon or prefer long distance running, which is why the Boston Marathon 4.0 treadmill features 4 different workout program categories.
Workout program categories
If you’re simply looking to step foot on the tread belt and start walking, jogging, or running, the Manual program will probably be your simplest option.
This program follows no preset speed and incline profile, and you’re free to adjust both settings via the Quick controls on the console, or the increase and decrease buttons on the Speed Ring.
- Onboard workouts
The onboard workout programs follow a preset profile of speed and incline settings, which is split into a number of segments. As you continue the workout, the profile will automatically progress through the segments, adjusting the running deck incline and belt speed to the predefined setting.
If you get half way through a program and find that it’s not as challenging as you had hoped, you can actually override the incline and speed settings. If you then decide to switch back to the onboard workout, you can simply press the ‘Follow Workout’ button.
- Set-A-Goal workouts
For many people, having a goal for each workout is an important source of motivation for achieving their best performance. That’s why ProForm have added Set-A-Goal to many of their modern treadmills, including the Boston Marathon collection.
This allows you to set a target for the workout duration, number of calories burned, distance, or pace. Although most of these options are available on the majority of ProForm’s indoor treadmills, the ‘pace’ option isn’t something we come across very often.
After setting your target, you can adjust the incline and belt speed as the workout progresses, and the program will continue until your goal is achieved.
- iFit® workouts
The Boston Marathon 4.0 treadmill is classed as ‘iFit Enabled’, meaning you don’t need to go out and buy the iFit module separately as the technology is already built into the console. However, you do need to setup an iFit account, which means purchasing an iFit subscription (usually around $99 per year).
Once this is setup, you can download iFit workouts straight to the console, from an extensive workout library of professional fitness programs designed by certified personal trainers. These are available in categories such as; Map, Train, Video, or Lose Weight. Map is particularly interesting, as it lets you download real-world running routes via Google Maps™ technology, where the incline automatically adjusts to match a change in terrain.
Each iFit account also supports up to 4 users, meaning that you can keep track of historical workout performance data even with more than one person using the machine. Competition workouts are also available, where you can race against other iFit users around a virtual running route.
If you’re training away from the treadmill, you can still access your iFit® account via your computer, tablet, or smart phone.
ProForm teamed up with the Boston Athletic Association coaching staff to create high definition video workouts, filmed on the actual Boston Marathon course. This is to simulate the natural terrain and allow you to train for the race from anywhere in the world. Simply select either the 16-week or 20-week program; then select beginner, intermediate, or advanced level training.
If you’re not sure how to manage your running pace, the Boston Marathon 4.0 also has a feature called Cadence Coach, which acts as a metranome with an audible tone that keeps you in sync with your target finishing time.
Although you can’t use the Speed Ring to start a workout or adjust program settings, it can be used for making changes to the belt speed without having to touch the console.
Supplied with two different straps to provide a comfortable fit for a range of different users, the Speed Ring has increase and decrease buttons, which will adjust the speed of the tread belt when pressed. There’s a small amount of ongoing maintenance in terms of replacing the 3-volt, coin-shaped lithium battery that powers the ring, but this is usually relatively inexpensive.
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 4.0 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 4.0 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
Overall Review Rating
5 / 5
At the time of writing this review, the Boston Marathon 4.0 is the best ProForm treadmill available for home gyms. This is based on a unique combination of innovative design features (enable/disable cushioning, SpeedRing), top-of-the-line design features (15 mph belt speed, 400 lb capacity, 20”W x 62”L running area, etc.), and extensive selection of onboard and downloadable workout programs.
But is this the best treadmill under $3000, or can NordicTrack, Sole Fitness, or other home fitness equipment company offer a more impressive alternative?
The short answer is that none of the offerings from NordicTrack quite match up. Their top-of-the-line X11i Incline Trainer comes closest, but although it offers a steeper incline (40%), the belt speed is capped at 12 mph and you have a slightly shorter running area. There’s also no way to disable the deck cushioning.
Sole Fitness have even less to offer, with a much more limited number of workout programs (10), fairly generic maximum belt speed (12 mph), and a less powerful 4.0 CHP motor on their top-of-the-line TT8 treadmill, which usually retails for around the same price as the Boston Marathon 3.0.
Although many of its features have been heavily upgraded to support running for extended periods as part of training for distance events, it’s still an excellent treadmill for anyone that’s new to fitness or looking to put together an effective cardio routine. The warranty is also exceptional for a home treadmill. Highly recommended.
Product dimensions: 63.6"H x 37"W x 74"L Weight capacity: 400 lbs