Tag: run

Fitness Swellness: My review of the Peloton Tread

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I planned to post this a few months ago, but then the Peloton Tread was recalled. Now that it’s back on the market, well, here you go! My experience trying out the Peloton Tread for 3+ months.

If you’ve following my running journey, you know that I really dislike treadmill running. I need the stimulation of different scenery, having to pay attention to where I’m going, the terrain, everything. To go step after step on a treadmill has always been terribly boring to me. I’ve mostly done treadmill workouts begrudgingly while on a press trip when a treadmill run is the easiest or safest option in my destination.

So when Peloton offered a trial of the new Peloton Tread back in early February when it launched in Canada, I considered turning down the opportunity for two reasons; would I even use it, given how boring I find treadmill running? And also, I just don’t have room for a treadmill in my downtown condo. 

But my curiosity got the better of me. And the most shocking thing happened.

I enjoyed running on the Peloton Tread.

I know, I couldn’t believe it either. 

A 20-minute class (most of the ones I did over the three months were 20-minutes long) flies by. The instructors are a super fit, attractive bunch (hello, Adrian!) and their banter keeps it entertaining and motivating (take a class with Chase, and it feels like he’s your personal hype man). I took a few longer classes, but never made it to taking a 60-minute class because my trial was unexpectedly cut short when the Tread was recalled (more on that later. Note that I tested out the Peloton Tread, which was launched in Canada and the U.K., not the higher-end Tread+).

My favourite classes were the ones with speed intervals; I definitely need the distraction of changing up my pace and having breaks to keep me focused. The one tempo run I completed dragged on—just maintaining the same pace, I felt that familiar treadmill boredom settle in.

The treadmill itself is beautiful. Streamlined, with a huge, crisp screen. It takes up a massive amount of space, and given that it needs a significant amount of clearance on all four sides of it I had them place it right in the middle of my living room and it was truly in the way the whole time I had it. How much space does it need? According to Peloton, “173cm L x 84cm W x 157cm H. Additionally, you will need at least 2 m of clearance directly behind the Tread and 60 cm of clearance on either side.” That’s a lot of space when you have a small Toronto condo.

And still, I enjoyed having it to work out on even though it took up so much room.

So much so, I ended up using the Peloton Tread every single day. Why? For one, I figured I’d try to make the most out of it while I had it, and also, I found it really pleasing that the app’s calendar showed a workout every day. Sure, I could’ve also tried other classes on the app to have the calendar colour-blocked with a workout, but running is the only workout that is a habit for me so it just comes more naturally to me; doing a different type of workout takes more out of me, I need to motivate myself more to wrap my head around getting up and actually doing it.

Also, another reason I ran daily on it? I remembered that if I completed 100 Tread workouts, I’d get into the Century Club (the little club you get into when you complete 100 of the same workout on Peloton).

Three main reasons I liked the Peloton Tread:

  1. I could run late at night on the Tread. My schedule has been unbearable for months. And even though last year I often ran at night through the spring and summer so I could complete the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee early, I know it’s not the safest thing to do. During the time I was trialing the Tread, I would get home at 11 p.m. and that’s the only time I could carve out time to work out, so it was great to use with my schedule at the time.
  2. The Tread’s design. It’s sleeker than any treadmill I’ve ever seen. The dials to change the pace and incline are easy to use. The large, bright screen is beautiful. I like how you could either emphasize the volume of the instructor or the music. It runs pretty quietly; I never had any neighbours complaining. I didn’t get too involved with the community aspect of it; while I did high-five other runners during classes, I never did get to try the Session function as I don’t know any other Tread users.
  3. The Peloton classes. I already mentioned Adrian and Chase. But let’s talk about the powerhouse female instructors. My favourites included Selena Samuela and Olivia Amato—I found they kept me focused without veering too heavily into motivational talk that’s eyeball-roll worthy territory. And classes with Becs Gentry? As a marathon runner, I couldn’t help but be inspired by working out out with this elite runner. I see there are a lot of new Tread instructors, too, which is great, I liked being able to switch up whose class I would take, and now there’s more to choose from. Aside from the instructors, I also enjoyed taking part in live classes and seeing my rank within everyone taking part; I expected the average Peloton user to be an elite runner, but I was pretty satisfied with my ranking and it was like getting a little pat on the back.

As you may have heard, the Peloton Tread was recalled a couple of months ago. There’d been some incidents of the screen falling off. While I at first intended to continue using it, when I got a pretty stern email to stop using it immediately, I realized I didn’t want to have to potentially deal with a broken screen and any damage or injury it could cause to me, my condo floor or my pets, so I quit using it promptly and the Tread was picked up a couple of weeks after that.

The Tread has since been relaunched (as of August 30, 2021) and has been updated with regards to safety:

  • There’s now Peloton Tread Lock. So you have to enter your passcode to unlock it in order to use it.
  • The instructors talk you through the safety features before each workout.
  • There’s a safety key you should clip on as you run (but this was always an existing feature).

I haven’t tried the Tread since its relaunch, but I will say I miss having the Tread for workouts; ever since I stopped using it, I barely ran all summer and I’m only now starting again with a few runs outdoors. While the timing of my Peloton Tread trial was great because I ran indoors for the last part of the dreary winter, I wish I’d gotten to try it out when actual races were taking place so that I’d be in the middle of marathon-training season. I know I found myself pushing harder during speed work on the Tread compared to my speedwork outdoors  so it’d be a great tool to have while in training for a race.

My best friend misses me having it, too. She uses the Peloton app for workouts and liked having me to talk about Peloton with (yes, there’s totally a cultish side to it! I even tuned in to watch Cody on Dancing With the Stars and even never even taken a Cody Rigsby class ever!)

I’ve gotten a few DMs asking about my thoughts on the Tread. So here you go. Could you get a similar experience using the Peloton app for its workouts, but running on a different brand of treadmill? Yes, probably. I should mention that the Tread has a traditional running belt, compare to a shock-absorbing slat belt; I personally don’t have a lot of experience running on a slat belt but the slat-style is said to be more cushioning and result in less impact on your joints. If you’re a serious runner, you might want to opt for the slat-belt style (which is on the Tread+, which has not yet been re-released yet).

If you appreciate great design and the 23.8-inch screen of the Tread (it truly is a fantastic display)… well, if you’re in the market for a treadmill, then you might find it worth the investment to go for the Tread; if you’re wondering about the cost, it’s $3,295 (plus the all-access membership fee of $49/month). If you’ve already got a ‘mill, then maybe just subscribe to the app to try out the workouts first.

If you have any specific questions about my experience with the Tread, slide into my DMs or comment here!

 How are you keeping fit nowadays?

 

3 Comments October 4, 2021

Fitness Swellness: Chicago Marathon 2018 race recap

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It all started with a sneeze. Then I was quickly completely congested. This all happened during the short flight to Chicago on Friday.

“It’s just the plane’s recycled air,” I told myself. I often get sniffly on planes or whenever there’s excessive air conditioning. I brushed it off, even though I continued to sniffle once I got of the plane and through the evening. I refused to acknowledge or even mention to anyone I was getting a cold. If I didn’t acknowledge it, it’d just not become a full-on cold, right? Is that not how it works?

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Saturday morning, bright and early, I met with the Nike team (Nike Canada hosted me to run the marathon), and I knew this was most certainly a cold, and I admitted to Melissa from Best Health  (for which I most recently wrote about healthy things to do in Portland) that I was coming down with something. I took it extra easy during the 5k shakeout run. And since this cold was now a real thing that I could no longer pretend was not happening, I posted it on my IG Stories, and I got a few recos (thank you!) and got some zinc lozenges and cough drops.

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I was so disappointed. Here I was on an incredible Chicago Marathon weekend with Nike and I felt like crap on the inside. I didn’t let it damper my spirits for the race and activities, though. I customized Nike slides to wear post-race, and decorated a Just Do It tote bag. I got a motto drawn onto my arm: I am stronger than I think. Even better were the panels I got to attend with Nike, including hearing Elyse Kopecki (co-author of Run Fast, Eat Slow and its sequel Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow, which I got signed — can’t wait to cook from it!), and Joan Benoit Samuelson, Amy Cragg and Jordan Hasey. So inspiring to hear these women at the top of their field share a bit about their journey and they were so encouraging, too. Plus, I got to ask Elyse about carb loading, more on that in another post.

Chicago is a city I love, and I’d planned on maybe going to one museum Saturday afternoon, but with how awful I felt I just went to my room at the Chicago Athletic Association after the brunch and panel with Nike and relaxed for several hours. Around 6 p.m. I knew I needed to fuel, so I grabbed some roasted eggplant rigatoni at the Little Beet Table. Which I hear was delicious, however I couldn’t taste a thing since I was completely congested.

RACE DAY

Sunday morning, I got up at 5 a.m. and forced myself to eat a bagel with peanut butter (I always have a hard time eating a breakfast before a morning run). And, as though my body knew it needed to perform for me that day, I was thankfully not congested. I did have a very disheartening thought, though, as I got dressed that morning. All along, I’ve been saying I don’t know if I’ll PB but I know I’ll finish the race. I’ve never suffered anything during a race that I’ve felt I couldn’t continue the race so I felt confident I’d cross that finish line. But at dawn on Sunday, I realized I’ve never run a marathon with a cold. And that it was possible I’d just be too exhausted or even just too lightheaded (I am prone to fainting) to finish, and that freaked me out. “Nope, you’ve got this. You may have to go slower, but you can finish this race,” I told myself.

With Nike, we walked across the street and made our way to the Balbo Hospitality Tent. Bag check, portapotty visit and then since I’d been assigned corral D (which sent me into a panicked tizzy on Saturday night, once I saw what the expected finish time was for corral D), headed out to get into the wave 1 start. I ended up deciding to start at the back of corral D since that’s a faster corral than what I can run.

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My goal for the race initially was to try to BQ. Then the BQ standards changed and got tougher. So I decided to try to PB. My marathon PB is 3:46, just under 3:47. So I had planned to run with the 3:45 Nike pacers. But those pacers were in a corral behind mine. So I decided I’ll just try to run even splits for a 3:45 finish; this is often my plan, however, I always go a little faster in the first half or so since I’m feeling good. But this time I told myself to rein it in.

So I did, I naturally ran a little too fast for maybe the first 8k or so but I kept telling myself to dial it back to the pace I needed to finish 3:45. And it worked, mostly. I felt like I was running pretty comfortably, and i was somewhat tired thanks to the cold but I was thanking my lucky stars that I was not completely congested.

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I was so focused on how I was feeling and my pace that I actually forgot about the weather conditions. It drizzled a bit and then became heavier on and off throughout the whole race. But I was just so happy that the actual temperature was relatively cool that I didn’t even notice when it’d stop or start raining. Keep in mind that I think my brain was a bit foggy thanks to battling a cold.

Chicago is a pretty phenomenal race thanks to how well it’s organized and the crowd support. While I love the flat route, I will admit I don’t find the views for most of the race that stunning (especially considering  how beautiful the city is!), but the so-so views are made up for with the incredible crowd support. This year, I don’t know if I’m imagining this, I think there were fewer people out cheering than in 2014 and 2017. I’m going to guess it was the wet weather. This just made me super appreciative of the people out there in the rain with their signs and claps and happy faces. I always try to smile and if I can muster out a thank you because having people there cheering provides such a huge boost. “Pain is temporary. Instagram is forever. Do it for the ‘gram!” read one sign that made me giggle.

Sometime into the second half of the race, a girl running the race tapped me on the shoulder when I slowed to grab a Gatorade and said “Good job!” And it lifted my spirits. I tried to return the cheer when I came across her at the next water station, but she was distracted getting her own water. But she ran up to me later and started chatting a bit. I think she said her name was Natalie (I think…I have the worst memory!), lives in L.A. but is from Chicago. Thank you, girl, our brief exchange lifted me out of the repetitiveness of the tough task at hand for just a moment! I had hoped we could run the rest of the race nearby one another but at this point (probably around the 25k to 30k mark) I was tiring and slowing down and I watched her disappear into the runners ahead of me.

At the halfway point, I was about 2 minutes behind a 3:45 finish, and I was fine with that. After 25k is when it all went downhill. I was feeling increasingly tired and then realized how far I’d fallen behind that target, at which point, I knew I couldn’t PB and so I just viewed the rest of the race as a long run in one of my favourite cities and did my best to enjoy everything going on around me.

When I was starting to feel down in the dumps, I thought how I’m running a goddamn marathon, and not everyone can do that. I looked at my great marathon manicure. I said aloud, “I am stronger than I think,” as I glanced at the motto on my arm. And I told myself that I may not be PBing but I’m doing this race with a cold and I’m in a freakin’ Nike Chicago Just Do It ad on Michigan Avenue and that this is my 12th marathon. 12! that’s more than I ever dreamed of ever doing when it comes to running. I never even thought I’d be a runner! And that’s a big accomplishment and just enjoy the damn thing, Karen!

And it worked. I’ve had races where I just think, “I really just need to stop running, like, now,” or thinking “why on earth do I run marathons?!” (like at Hamilton last year, my worst marathon ever) but I kept the dreary, negative thoughts out of mind. As I ran down Michigan Ave., I realized I’d be passing by my Nike billboard. It was at the corner before you turn off of Michigan and I looked for it, but it was too crowded with people cheering. but I knew it was there, and I felt proud of myself as I ran those last 500 metres across the finish line. Here I am clapping for myself as I approach the finish line, and you can see I’m weary but pretty happy and not all “Get me off my damn feet already!”

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I finished in 4:10:27. I don’t know all of my marathon times offhand but I’m going to guess that that is my second slowest marathon of the 12th I’ve now completed. That’s 17,233 out of 45,000 or so runners, 5, 514th of the women who raced, and 919th in my age group.

POST RACE

I was incredibly tight right after crossing the finish line and it took forever for me to get to the hospitality tent. I was walking so gingerly that twice volunteers went to help me as I struggled to lift my leg to get on a sidewalk (yes, a sidewalk, I struggled lifting my leg those mere six inches!). Changing out of my rain-soaked clothes was pretty funny (getting on a pair of leggings immediately after a marathon is quite a task!). I got a small bite to eat, drank my Goose Island Brewery beer and was delighted when Sir Mo came to share a few words at our tent. After he spoke, I gathered my things and made my way to my Nike billboard to get a post-race photo.

I asked a family cheering at the race if they’d take my pic with the ad. They did and offered to take more when they saw me studying the pic. I accepted since my eyes were closed in the first photo. “That’s me!” I shared. They were so surprised and happy for me, that they gave me extra congrats, and even took a pic of me with their own camera.

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From there, I slowly walked back to the Chicago Athletic Association to shower before going to Au Cheval for a burger, and in my room was an incredible gift from Nike: Nike React Element 87s, an Apple Watch and the best part, a personalized bottle of Veuve Cliquot, congratulating me on the marathon, with a spot to jot in my marathon time. I’m copying fellow marathoner that day Brooke from Shape magazine and only opening it when I BQ. Champagne only lasts about 3-5 years so I’ve got a deadline to qualify! Can’t let that champagne go to waste!

After Au Cheval, I met with the Nike crew for rooftop drinks and bites at Cindy’s at the hotel, and then we headed out to the 3RUN2 post-marathon dance party, where I found the energy to dance the night away. So what if I had a flight in the morning, it was time to celebrate!

Thank you to Nike for an unforgettable weekend. Thank you to Nike Run Coach Brittany Moran for the training program and for answering all my questions over these last three months. Thank you to everyone who’s shared congrats and cheers along the way. Running has long had its ups and downs for me, and this summer had me seriously questioning whether marathoning is something I should continue, particularly during those summer training days I was drenched in sweat. But this experience and the notion that I’ve maybe helped someone think that they should try running themselves or that they should try training for a marathon or to run Chicago (do it!), it’s renewed my passion for the sport.

It’ll probably always be a love/hate relationship with running for me, but right now. it’s all love.

 

 

1 Comment October 11, 2018

Fitness Swellness: Register now for the 2018 Global Energy Race by Dempster’s

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Stoked to run the Global Energy Race by Dempster’s 10k again this year. If you recall, I had a blast with my friends in last year’s race. I may bring Billie Jean this year (dogs can take part in the 3K family run/walk, btw). I’m hoping the weather is not as insanely hot and humid this year, and that I don’t have an awful cold again (check out my race recap from last year here)!

Need more incentive? If last year was an indication, there’ll be loads of snacks at the finish!

Hope to see you there! Register now to take part in a good cause (for every kilometre completed, Dempster’s is donating two slices of bread to the North York Harvest Food Bank). Also, be sure to use the code KAREN for $10 off of your registration!

(sponsored)

Leave a Comment August 28, 2018

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