Running instructor Jess Sims told us how to bring our indoor running game to the next level with the new treadmill.
It’s finally here: the long-awaited Peloton Tread is now available in Canada. Can the American company, known for its at-home exercise bike with a months-long waitlist, make a treadmill covetable? If anyone could, we’d bet on them. At the core of Peloton’s success is, yes, its fancy high-end equipment, but also its energetic, hurts-so-good instructor-led classes, from HIIT and bootcamp to cycling and running. The Peloton Tread combines the sleek design the brand is known for with useful functional changes. For instance, it swaps the traditional digital speed and incline buttons for two (highly addictive) knobs that make levelling up your run almost, dare we say, fun. We connected with Peloton superstar instructor Jess Sims to talk about the benefits of running and how to ease back into it, plus why the Peloton Tread completely changes the indoor running game.
Give me the Peloton Tread pitch: why are you excited about it and why should other people be hyped about it too?
My favourite thing about it is the speed and incline knobs. They completely change the game. In class, when I say, “Every time the song says this word, we’re going to add 0.1 to our speed,” it’s so easy to do with that knob. It’s just so user-friendly. It empowers you to go faster and to go higher up on that incline because you know you can take it down as quickly as you put it up.
The other amazing thing is how it makes you feel like you are in a class, which is so important right now when we can’t go to studios. The screen is right there in front of you. It’s so crystal clear that you actually feel like you’re in the room with the instructor. [The instructors are] always looking right into the camera, talking directly to you and motivating you to keep going.
What type of runners is the Tread geared to? Newbies? Ironman racers?
We offer so much content on the Tread. We have walks, we have power walks, we have hikes — and those are at all levels. Then we have a walk plus run, a 50/50 split of walking and running — and those are important. When I talk to anyone who says they hate running because they get so sore, I’m like, okay, well, how long did you run for? And they say 20 minutes. Well, when was the last time you ran? They’ll say, oh, five years ago I used to run every day.
Guess what? In five years, your body has lost its ability to adapt to the impact of running. In order to run long-term and make this a lifestyle, you have to do 30 seconds of jogging, 30 seconds of walking — or 45 seconds on, 45 seconds off — and build yourself up. And that’s exactly what these walk plus run classes deliver. If you’re very, very beginner, it’s going to be a very light jog. If you’re more intermediate, it can be a run.
Once you get into running, all the runs are levelled. There’s beginner, intermediate and advanced. We have 10-minute classes and 60-minute classes, so it really eliminates any excuse or reason as to why you can’t take a class.
On top of all that, we have bootcamp. That’s why we say that our Tread is more than just your typical treadmill, because it’s a full-body piece of equipment. In a bootcamp class, you’re running, then you get off the tread and you go onto your mat and you’re lifting weights, so you get that hybrid.
How many times a week should someone be running based on their experience?
It depends on your goals and your current fitness level. But in general, for a beginner, I recommend doing walks and walk-plus-runs two to three times a week to start. For intermediate, I would say three times a week starting off with the 20-minute classes. For more advanced runners, like someone who does the Ironman, maybe five times a week. We have tempo runs — which are very important for marathon runners and racers — where you’re running at a very challenging pace for the majority of the class. I would recommend doing a tempo run, an endurance run, some intervals and definitely taking strength classes because we know that helps prevent injury and build the muscles that help you get even faster and stronger.
What are some general tips on running form?
Eyes are always up. Never look down — there’s nothing for you on the ground. Keep your chin parallel to the floor. Shoulders are down, away from your ears. You want to keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees, and you’re going to pump them back and forth, swinging like a pendulum by your side. Imagine that you have ice cream in your hand: you want to have a little bit of tension, but not too much tension where you would crush it.
For your core, you want slight tension. Don’t hold your breath, of course, but think of that [contraction] you would make if someone would sucker punch you in the stomach. Keep your pelvis tucked under – a lot of us accidentally arch our back while we’re running. Pick your knees up and flip your heels up towards your butt. When you’re in a walk, you start on your heel. When you’re in a jog/run, you are more mid-foot. When you’re sprinting, you’re on your forefoot.
What advice would you give someone to get excited about getting back into running?
One thing that I like to say is you don’t have to run, you get to run. Just shifting that perspective. A lot of us, whether or not you’re a former athlete like myself, used to be punished with running. When we shift that experience to this is something that we get to do, it takes the pressure off of ourselves.
And start off doing less: less is more and slower is more. Even if you can go for a sprint right now from here to the next block, it doesn’t mean you should. For someone who is just getting back into it, take your time, understand that it’s a journey and understand that it’s a beautiful thing. It’s a time for you to be alone with your own thoughts, stay super present and not worry about your to-do list.