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

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I love singing. I love dancing. I hate running.

But in the past few weeks I’ve been seeing 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 like a fun challenge.

What is Taylor Swift’s 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 training to prepare for the show, he ran on a treadmill every day singing the entire 3-hour set list of the concerts. He set the speed to fast for the fast songs and jogging or fast walking for the slow songs, Swift told Time. While we don’t know the exact speed at which Taylor ran or walked, Runners World used the beats per minute of each track to estimate that she logged about 16 miles during her workouts.

That’s how the Taylor Swift Eras Tour” Treadmill Challenge was born. The challenge requires you to try to run through the entire 3-hour set list while lip-syncing to the songs (or quietly singing them out loud).

So much fun but very challenging.

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

In videos on social media, people dress up in sparkly clothes, makeup and other fun accessories to channel their inner Taylor. I thought they might be on to something and I was looking for something to help mentally prepare me for the physical feat.

I put off going to the gym for over an hour. So, trying to motivate myself to get moving, I decided to try out an outfit and went for a subdued (but totally out of my comfort zone) red lipstick. It did the job and off I went to the gym.

I Tried It: The Taylor Swift Treadmill Challenge

I strategically timed my business during busy gym hours (after the early morning rush hour) so I wouldn’t bother people or embarrass myself.

(Note to all my Swifties: My Spotify mixed up the playlist so the songs are not in the exact order of the tour setlist!)

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

At five minutes into this workout, I started to get dizzy because I usually jump off the treadmill. (I use five-minute jogs as part of my HIIT workouts, alternating between running and strength training.)

Jamming to Love Story brought my attention back to the task at hand. I was having fun, but I was also starting to feel really uneasy. The next song was You Belong With Me and at some points I sprinted with 8.0. I was so tempted to stop it, but instead I slowed down to a jog and even a walk during some verses. I was determined to continue!

Around this time, my WiFi went down, which stuck my playlist on Spotify. So I turned to my library for the Taylor Swift songs I had downloaded to my phone. The first was one of my personal favorites, Out of the Woods (which is not part of the “Eras Tour” set list). This song always motivates me to get rid of the everyday details that can sometimes drag me down. I started out walking 3.7 and then increased it to about 7. I surprised myself by finding a good stride, but I also started to visibly sweat during this song. (I’m talking about the swirling drops on my face.)

By the end of the song I had passed the 15 minute mark and was shocked that I had made it this far. I lowered the speed to 3.8 and Style was the next song to start playing. Keeping pace required me to increase my speed for a 7.0 run. This is where I started to feel a shin splint in 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 with a walk and then a sprint which got me going! I found myself approaching 2 miles and 20 minutes in time, which motivated me to keep going until I hit both.

What I thought of the Taylor Swift Treadmill Challenge

I liked that this exercise gave me momentum and I didn’t have to count or think about anything other than the beat of the music. I easily shifted my pace up and down the treadmill based on each track. It was fun to challenge myself and lip sync to some songs I’ve been listening to for years! I could put my mind on autopilot and let my body and rhythm guide me. And playing the songs mixed me up from the speed to a certain point and motivated me to go further than I otherwise would have.

I’m shocked to admit it, but this exercise challenge would encourage me to run again, maybe not five tracks at a time, but definitely a little longer than the usual five minutes!

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

Yes, I had fun with music, but I still don’t like running. So my biggest complaint about the training challenge is that it forced me to run. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m all about finding forms of exercise that you enjoy, and I never recommend that clients force themselves to do things they don’t enjoy.

I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to run for 3 hours and be successful in the challenge, so I didn’t like that I knew I was coming before I even started. This made it difficult for me to even try, and I had to really get my head in the game before I started and shift my goal from simply 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 practiced what I preach: Just showing up means you won!

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