If you thought the Peloton Row was the only news to drop this fall for the home workout giant, you’d be wrong. Runners, listen up — the Peloton Tread is also getting some new features, and they are designed to make the Tread a better training tool for performance runners.
I’ve run more than 100 miles on the Peloton Tread (read my Peloton Tread review for more on that experience) and was excited to hear more about the upgrades. So I sat down to chat with Peloton instructor and Tread training specialist Becs Gentry and Tread senior product manager Madeline Kruger to find out more.
Looking for more Peloton insight? Here’s what happened when we went hands-on with the new Peloton Row to see what it’s like working out on the $3,200 rowing machine.
What’s changing on the Peloton Tread?
The Peloton Tread will get a series of new features today (September 22). Here’s what runners can expect:
Just With Goals
Peloton has recognized that for users training for a specific event or following a specific training plan, being able to program in a time or distance goal is beneficial. The new goals element will sit under the "Just Run" feature.
“Essentially, it was built with runners in mind,” Peloton’s Tread senior product manager Madeline Kruger tells Tom’s Guide. “We know that our users' training plans don't always match with what our on-demand tread classes offer. Sometimes people have to run eight miles one day, and you have to essentially stack classes to get there. But now, you'll be able to go and set a time-based goal, a distance-based goal, or even a pace-based goal.”
“Once you're in a training program, you need to have a clear-cut vision of what each and every one of your training days looks like”, Peloton instructor and Tread training specialist Becs Gentry added. “Because otherwise, you might waste one. So we want runners to be able to get on and follow their own marathon training program, or do the session set by their coach. I think it's really, really important to keep people on track in terms of what they're training for, why they're training, and how to do it effectively because that's the biggest thing.”
The new auto-incline feature on the Tread mimics the auto-resistance features that have previously been available on the Bike Plus. When enabled, the Tread will automatically adjust the incline based on instructor cues. This is to offer a more seamless training experience, and to force you to push yourself a little harder, Gentry said.
“As humans, we take the easiest option all the time, the road most traveled is our best bet," she said. "A lot of people don't understand that hills are a part of speed training — they just think that they're annoying and hard. When you break it down for people that actually, running uphill is going to help make you faster and make you stronger, it changes something in people's minds. But I think just being able to switch off from worrying about the incline, and not having to move your arms, or adjust something — it's just going to happen. It's also going to feel more like an outdoor experience as well, which is brilliant for people training those more endurance sides of things because it does just happen outside unless you are really stubbornly hating hills. You're not going to get to an undulating area and turn it around and be like screw that. You’re going to suck it up. Because now you're not going to have to think about clicking that button four times, you can just zone out to it and the trend just rises up and comes down. I think it removes the barrier.”
“It also is pretty exciting for folks who take hiking or walking workouts that have steep incline changes, because it gives them the chance to have a much more immersive experience,” Kruger added.
Most runners will agree — if it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen. As part of the Tread update, Peloton will allow users to automatically sync their Tread workouts to the Strava platform upon completion of a workout. (Read our Strava app review, and check out some of the best workout apps to download).
“That’s been something that I've been nagging Peloton about for a while”, Gentry laughed. “Strava is social media for runners. But also, going back to marathon training, we have a Peloton outdoor marathon training program, but we know users follow their own training programs, either with a coach or on another platform. So now the fact you can integrate your training program, send it to your coach, feel good about it. It's phenomenal.”
Runners will now be able to view their mile or kilometer splits in class and for the entire workout post-completion.
“I think that's one thing to me that I spoke to the team about”, says Gentry. “The overall pace of a run can be really frustrating when you're training. To be able to see a progressive split is going to help people see where they're at on a daily basis, and help them understand what their coach means when they say easy run versus a tempo run. From somebody who's trained for marathons on the Tread, I know how easy it is to get carried away. I used to take a fun run, and I'd get so carried away, but that was supposed to be my warm-up miles. If I’d been able to see my progressive splits as I was going through that class. I'd have been able to turn it back a level. It allows you to really monitor yourself whilst having fun, which is certainly cool for runners.”
Peloton Tread updates: Are they aimed at athletes?
Is Peloton targeting the more advanced runner with these metrics and moving away from its USP — fun, accessible workouts? In a word, no.
“I think it's important for everybody,” Kruger told Tom’s Guide. “I think while the data is definitely geared towards somebody who is super metrics focused, it's really impactful, I think, for folks that maybe don't really know much about running, or who are wanting to improve their running experience. And for completely new runners to actually be able to track that progress from the start. Plus, when you look at auto-incline, you can think about one less thing while you're working out and maybe even push yourself harder than you normally would. Because your Trend is taking care of it for you. It's kind of a good feeling.”
Gentry agreed: “I think it's honestly a two-sided answer. Because yes, it's initially from the get-go going to appeal to more experienced runners. But on the other side, everyone's an athlete, everybody who moves their body in that chosen way is an athlete. And so I think this is going to help people maybe take that extra step in their journey that they hadn't thought of before because maybe they thought it was too complicated, or they didn't want to get a coach or they weren't that bothered. To take that next step and see themselves in a more confident light.”
Should Peloton users be excited? I haven’t had a chance to jump on the Tread and give the new features a go yet, but I’ll leave you with the ever-positive words of one of my all-time favorite instructors: “I think these changes are going really help everybody either feel more like an athlete or feel maybe like an athlete for the first time," Gentry said.