Looking back, my break from running needed to happen. Without working in any other cardio variation (or giving myself enough rest), I had mentally exhausted myself of it, and my routes became stale and boring. Top all that off with nightly knee pain, and you can see why I called it quits.
But after four months of not hitting the road, I started to miss the mind-clearing stress relief that running can provide. I knew it was time to lace up my sneakers, but I was terrified of doing it alone - and how out of shape I was bound to feel. So, I enlisted the help of Peloton's outdoor guided runs on the Peloton app.
I decided that Peloton instructor Robin Arzón's 20-minute 90s hip-hop "fun run" was a safe bet for my first time back on the road - the HIIT classes could definitely wait.
From taking Arzón's strength and cycling classes, I was also aware of her contagiously positive attitude, clear instructions, and advice to always listen to your body.
What set Peloton's outdoor runs apart from other guided jogs I've taken in the past was the fact that it had music - not just the instructor's commentary. Arzón would provide updates on what section of the run we were entering while peppering in some tips here and there, but otherwise, the high-energy playlist powered the run - meaning, I felt like I could clearly hear it the entire time.
Her commentary always came at the right moments, too. More often than not, I'd hear her voice when I wanted to give up or when my racing thoughts were getting the best of me. It was a welcomed distraction.
I had never worked intervals into my runs before, and I was surprised just how much they really helped mix things up. Four rounds of 30 seconds of running at a fast pace, followed by 30 seconds of recovery jogging, pushed me through that notorious mid-run slump.
All throughout the run, Arzón was giving reminders to approach the run personally. If it was your first time running for a while (me), there was no need to sprint through the intervals - or even increase your pace if you didn't want to. If this was a workout where you wanted to go all-out, she encouraged you to believe in yourself and pick up the speed.
The last minute of her guided run was a cooldown walk - effectively forcing me to make time for recovery before sprinting up the stairs to start my day.
I won't lie: I felt very much out of shape. But I also now know these classes will make easing back into this sport way less scary.