I tried the viral Taylor Swift treadmill challenge. Here’s how long it took me

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I like to sing. I like to dance. I don’t want to run.

But over the past few weeks I’ve seen the Taylor Swift Eras Tour” treadmill challenge all over social media and it piqued my interest. I’m a personal trainer who enjoys trying new workouts and I’m a huge fan of Swifts music so it seemed right up my alley as a fun challenge.

What is the Taylor Swift treadmill challenge?

The internet started buzzing after Swift shared the workout she used to prepare for the “Eras Tour” in an article in the TimesPerson of the Year issue. He explained that as part of his physical training to prepare for the show he runs on the treadmill every day while singing the concerts throughout the 3-hour setlist. She sets the pace to fast for fast songs, and a jog or a brisk walk for slow songs, Swift told Time. While we don’t know Taylor’s exact running or walking pace, Runners World used the beats per minute of each song to estimate she logged about 16 miles during the workout.

Thus, the Taylor Swift Eras Tour” treadmill challenge was born. The challenge requires you to attempt to run the entire 3-hour setlist while lip syncing the songs (or quietly singing them out loud).

Very fun, but very challenging.

Granted, the only cardio exercise I get besides walking is running for five minutes at a time on the treadmill and playing tennis 3-4 times a week. So it’s definitely out of my comfort zone. And to be honest, when it came time to actually jump on the treadmill, I was scared.

Social media videos feature people donning glittery outfits, makeup and other fun accessories to really channel their inner Taylor. I thought they might be on to something and they were looking for something to help psych me up for physical activity.

It took me over an hour to go to the gym. So, in an attempt to coax myself into action I decided to try on an outfit and opted for understated (but completely out of my comfort zone) red lipstick. It did the job and I headed to the gym.

I tried this: The Taylor Swift treadmill challenge

I strategically timed my attempt during off-peak times at the gym (after the morning rush) so as not to annoy people or embarrass myself.

(A note to all my Swifties: My Spotify shuffled the playlist, so the songs are not in the exact order as the tour setlist!)

I used the beats per minute of the music to inform my pace and started walking at 3.7 pace to the first song, You Need to Calm Down. For me, it was a brisk walk. The next song was Love Story, which had me running. I increased the speed to a jogging pace of 5.0 and raised it to 6.3 for the chorus.

Around the five-minute mark of this workout, I started to get in over my head, because that’s usually when I jump on the treadmill. (I use five-minute runs as part of my HIIT workouts, alternating from running to strength training and back again.)

Jamming out on Love Story brought my attention back to the work at hand. I’m having fun, but also starting to feel dizzy. The next song was You Belong With Me and at some point I was sprinting in 8.0. I was tempted to stop, but instead slowed to a jog and even walked a few paragraphs. I am determined to continue!

Around this time I lost my WiFi, which froze my Spotify playlist. So I turned to my library of Taylor Swift songs that I had downloaded to my phone. The first is one of my personal favorites, Out of the Woods (which was not part of the “Eras Tour” setlist). This song always motivates me to leave the everyday minutiae that sometimes drag me down. I started walking at 3.7 and then cranked it up to around 7. I surprised myself by finding a nice step but I also started visibly sweating during this song. (I’m talking drops rolling down my face.)

By the end of the song, I had passed the 15 minute mark and I was amazed that I had made it this far. I turned the speed down to 3.8 and Style was the next song that started playing. Sticking to the beat I had to pick up the pace on a 7.0 run. This is where I started to feel a shin splint on my left leg, but I was having so much fun that I had to keep going until the end of the song. Bad Blood came next and I started walking and then a sprint, which got me in! I noticed that I was close to 2 miles away and 20 minutes on time, which motivated me to keep going until I hit two.

What I liked about the Taylor Swift treadmill challenge

I loved that this workout set the pace for me and I didn’t have to count or think about anything other than the beat of the music. I easily moved my speed up and down on the treadmill base with each song. It was fun to challenge myself and lip sync with some songs I’ve been listening to for years! I could put my mind on autopilot and just let my body and the beat guide me. And jamming to songs distracts me from the pace to a point and motivates me to go further than I would otherwise.

I’m shocked to admit it, but this workout challenge will encourage me to run again maybe not for five songs at a time, but definitely a little longer than my usual five minutes!

What I didn’t like about the Taylor Swift treadmill challenge

Yes, I enjoyed the music, but I still didn’t enjoy running. So my biggest complaint about the workout challenge was that it forced me to run. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m all about finding ways to exercise that you like, and I never recommend that my clients force themselves to do things they don’t enjoy.

I also knew that I wasn’t going to be able to run for 3 hours and succeed in the challenge, so I didn’t like knowing that I was coming up short before I even started. This made it difficult for me to try, and I had to really put my head in the game before starting and shift my goal from completing the challenge to simply seeing how far I could go and having fun with it (so I didn’t feel like I failed !). I practice what I preach: Just showing up means you win!


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