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Cross-Training

We Tried It: Peloton’s Train Like Allyson Felix Program

What it feels like to train like the GOAT—no bike or tread needed.

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Watching the Olympics, it was impossible to not feel inspired by the women of Team USA: They ran fast, they ran hard, and they won medals in a truly weird Olympics year. But for the fifth Olympics in a row, Allyson Felix stood out as the quintessential badass, making history and surpassing Carl Lewis to become the most decorated track and field athlete ever. And she did it with a personal backstory that made even getting to Tokyo this year a huge accomplishment.

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So what does it feel like to train at the Allyson Felix level? Us mere mortals may never know, but Peloton teamed up with her to try to answer the question in a training program launched earlier this summer. Felix (along with her husband) is apparently an avid Peloton user, which as a Peloton-er myself, makes me feel like I’m one step closer to the gods. The company is putting out Champions Collections of classes with bunches of pro athletes, but after watching Felix dominate the track, I wanted to try out her training program.

You have to have the Peloton app (with the 30-day trial you could squeeze in this program for free, no problem), running shoes, light weights, and a yoga mat, but that’s really it. None of the classes require the Tread (the two running classes are audio-only, so you can take them outdoors) or the Bike, and while the yoga class recommends two yoga blocks, they’re totally optional.

Seven days and 10 classes later, I can say that I’m nowhere near Felix level—but the program gave me a well-rounded workout week that I’ve been missing, with yoga and meditation that I know I should be doing, but never seem to make the time for. Each class was actually Felix-focused, too; it felt like she truly had a hand in this programming, and the instructors use her music faves, training insight, and backstory in each workout. Here’s a look at each of the classes.

Inside Allyson Felix’s Peloton Training Program

Day 1:
20 Minute Run-Walk
Instructor: Jess Sims
Equipment needed: smartphone, running shoes

Thank you Peloton for starting off the week with this pyramid run-walk. As a baby runner, I loved having someone upbeat in my ear encouraging me and keeping time (I think the best part of Peloton is the instructors)—the longest run portion, 90 seconds, flew by.

Day 2:
30 Minute Lower-Body Yoga Flow
Instructor: Kristen McGee
Equipment needed: yoga mat, yoga blocks (optional)

Pros: Kristen McGee is a great instructor and I felt really accomplished after this fast-moving flow; my sore calves from the previous day’s run got a great stretch; my heart rate got seriously elevated. Cons: Where did my balance go? This class reminded me how important it is to not take up yoga once every 2 months if you want to reap real benefits.

Day 3:
20 Minute Core for Runners
Instructor: Selena Samuel
Equipment needed: one dumbbell

“Allyson said she loves doing ab workouts because they can absolutely be done anywhere and don’t take much time to do,” Selena said during the warm-up portion of this workout, which alone was almost as much as my abs could take. Have you ever done 20 minutes of straight core work? RIP me.

5 Minute Full Body Stretch
Instructor: Selena Samuel
Equipment needed: none

Just really thankful to be laying down at this point. Selena mentions that Felix stretches before and after each workout. I definitely do not, but my muscles feel great after this.

Day 4:
5 Minute Rest Day Meditation
Instructor: Kristen McGee
Equipment needed: none

My rest days are usually spent staring at a screen. Taking five minutes to focus on my breathing and relaxing my mind feels novel in the best way. The music in the classes up to this point has been upbeat, hip-hop, lots of Lizzo. This meditation utilizes chill piano to get you into a totally calm state.

Day 5:
20 Minute Strength for Runners
Instructor: Selena Samuela
Equipment needed: one dumbbell (minimum 10 lbs.)

For me, cardio is fine, but strength training is great. After a rest day I felt ready to crush this workout. If you ever need encouragement to pick up some weights, take it from Felix: “Allyson stands by having an equal amount of time of work in your running as much as you have of your work in the gym,” Selena shares. There’s definitely a lot of lower-body work today and unilateral movements, great for balance and running form. The EMOM–every minute on the minute, for the uninitiated–finisher leaves me a very sweaty mess.

5 Minute Hips Stretch
Instructor: Selena Samuela
Equipment needed: none

I so rarely take the time to do a proper cool-down and stretch warm muscles, and my body often suffers from it. My hips feel open and loose after this.

Day 6:
10 Minute Peak Performance Meditation
Instructor: Kristen McGee
Equipment needed: none

Earlier in the week, McGee mentioned that Felix always takes one rest day a week. Since I’m not an Olympian, I’m thankful for two recoveries this week. This meditation focuses on visualizing hard work leading to success, a strategy Felix employs before races. McGee shares an A+ quote from Felix to provide some extra motivation to finish off the week: “Being strong looks a lot of different ways. And it’s not just this one image we have in our minds. There’s so many different ways to be strong. And it’s about just embracing that. I am capable. I am strong. I believe in myself.”

Day 7:
10 Minute Warm Up Walk + 30 Minute HIIT Run
Instructor: Jess Sims
Equipment needed: smartphone, running shoes

Most Peloton classes include a built-in warm-up, so dedicating 10 minutes pre-run is scaring me a little; what am I about to get into? The warm-up walk includes moves like knee hugs and ankle circles—much better than my usual five minute quick walk. The run mixes sprint intervals based on RPE, and if I wasn’t listening to Jess Sims with a background of Lizzo and 90’s hip-hop, I’d have tapped out after the third interval. But I finish the 30 minutes out, and I’m ready to add more intentional workouts to my next week.