Training for endurance with the peloton has never been easier because apart from long-distance classes it has also workouts that are specifically designed to prepare you for the event.
Today I will cover my favorite ways to use peloton workouts for endurance training, whether that’s training for a 5K run, or competing in your first marathon.
- The peloton offers over 2,000 long-distance rides and runs in its workout library. (They also have several outdoor and strength training wokrouts to make you a better runner.)
- Each of these workouts are designed to build aerobic fitness, decrease resting heart rate and increase your stamina, as well as entertain you (this last one is a big one for me).
Best Peloton rides for endurance
I’m gonna start by listing the best peloton rides for endurance because bike classes are the most popular.
The peloton bike is good for endurance training because it has over 800 long-distance rides. (That’s including any class with a duration of 45 minutes or more.)
The longest rides last from 75 to 90 minutes. Those classes are designed to ramp up your aerobic capacity (aka maximize performance).
With higher aerobic conditioning you can, of course, maintain moderate intensity for as long as possible, without feeling muscle fatigue.
It also gives access to thousands of other classes (e.g upper body strength) that help to work on muscles that aren’t used during endurance sports.
Here is the list.
1. Power Zone Endurance Ride
Those are the longest peloton rides that work on stamina by slowly reaching your aerobic zones.
The pace is moderate and comfortable, which helps you to add more mileage and workout volume, without exhausting the body.
This is a series of classes where your main goal is to improve athletic performance and stamina through prolonged aerobic effort.
The class duration varies between 30 to 90 minutes and is taught by some of the best peloton instructors, including former Division 1 distance runner Matt Wilpers.
Why this class?
As a whole, this class is good for endurance because training at submaximal intensity (for a prolonged period of time) enhances aerobic performance and increases lactate tolerance.
This is an example of training adaptations of muscle to endurance exercise, which has been well-researched and documented by John O. Holloszy, MD, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, for over 40 years.
In his study, Dr. Holloshy concluded that regular endurance training not only helps to improve the respiratory capacity of the muscle fibers but also increases fat oxidation, and reduces lactate production during exercise.
In other words, training harder for longer make the body more efficient with using oxygen, so you can run with less effort at a controlled and conversational pace. (Plus, the body uses less sugar and more body fat as the main energy source.)
My favorite peloton endurance instructors are Matt Wilpers and Christine D’ercole.
Not only do they make you feel comfortable during long-distance rides, but also inspire and share a lot of knowledge and personal experience from their cycling career.
According to Matt Wilpers, the key to improving endurance efficiency is high volume and high mileage.
The more you spend time on the bike (or on the treadmill) at a moderate pace, the more stamina you build.
2. Heart Rate Zone Endurance Ride
Similar to the peloton power zone, this class is all about building aerobic capacity and stamina.
Here, however, your goal is to progressively move towards the anaerobic zone.
The goal of this class is to go from the lowest to the highest heart rate and be able to maintain that effort for a long period of time.
In a nutshell
- This is a series of classes that last between 45 to 75 minutes and are taught by Christine D’ercole.
- The class focus is to be able to maintain a certain heart rate and progressively move from one zone to another.
Keep in mind that this class requires you to wear a heart rate monitor.
Why this class?
In general, the HRZ peloton is good for endurance because it helps you to run longer than what is normally comfortable for you.
Progressively reaching the anaerobic threshold allows you to run (or cycle) longer when you’re doing regular steady-state training.
In other words, intermittent training with a higher pace where you’re out of breath pushes the envelope and allows you to be more comfortable in longer sessions.
The key distinction is that you don’t need to prioritize those types of workouts.
Studies have shown that heart rate zone endurance and tempo runs are important for improving performance for distance athletes, but the big part of the training should consist of easy, low-to-medium pace runs (Casado et al. 2019).
This means if your goal is to train for endurance, you should only spend a couple of sessions per week on higher-intensity rides.
(Of course, the main component of endurance running should be a conversational ride.)
During my marathon training on the peloton, I used the heart rate zone endurance rides max once per week.
This is enough to create muscle adaptations while saving my energy for strength training and steady-state rides.
3. Pro Cyclist Ride
This is a series of 14 cycling classes led by the former American professional road racing cyclist.
The class duration ranges between 30 to 45 minutes and is all about adding more resistance while keeping the same pace.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’ve already talked about Pro Cyclist Ride in one or two articles.
In fact, I’ve used this workout to burn 2542 kcal, which I documented in my post about peloton classes that burn the most calories.
In a nutshell
- This class is good for endurance because it improves the body’s ability to maintain physical effort around the lactate threshold.
- When the lactate accumulation in the blood is higher than it can be removed, it conditions the muscles to work longer at the same effort.
What I like about the pro cyclist peloton is the intensity of the class.
Progressively adding more resistance mimics hill climbing. (This is another modality you can use to add more intensity, without increasing the cadence.)
Another thing that I like about this workout is the instructor. I like to train with Christian Vande Velde because of his growth mindset.
Apart from sharing a lot of knowledge and training tips, the former Tour de France rider reminds me that endurance training goes head-to-head with mental fitness.
For me, mental fitness is important in endurance because it helps you to continue with your training no matter how uninspired you feel or how many obstacles are in front of you.
Endurance training is the biggest area that exposes us to self-awareness and challenges the mind, as well as the body.
Building the ability to endure mentally in long-distance sports is as important as actually physical training and preparation.
According to Gucciardi et al. 2015 mental toughness is “a personal capacity to produce consistently high levels of subjective (e.g., personal goals or strivings) or objective performance despite everyday challenges and stressors as well as significant adversities“.
Knowing yourself and being mindful of your own emotions and behaviors while you’re in uncomfortable situations (like a long-distance race against the difficult) is a great self-awareness teacher.
Best Peloton running classes for endurance
Now let’s talk about the peloton running classes because they offer several options for endurance training.
In fact, the peloton has over 400 runs that are specifically designed for long-distance runners.
It also has running programs (You Can Run and Road to 26.2) that help you to prepare day-by-day for either your first 5K or even the full marathon.
4. Road to Your 5K
This peloton program is designed for people who want to start running and have a specific goal they want to accomplish – running their first 5K.
Road to 5K peloton is a 6-week program that includes 28 classes.
The class selection includes endurance sessions, as well as strength training classes where you use weights and bodyweight exercises.
Not only it helps to build muscle stamina, but also speed and power.
Why this program?
This program is good for endurance because it challenges both muscle strength and muscle endurance.
It consists of multiple intervals, long-distance runs, and cardio HIIT sessions.
All workouts are designed for people who had a break from training or are very new to running.
What I like about Road to 5K peloton is that each class unlocks only after you’ve completed the one before. (This means you need to follow the exact peloton curriculum.)
However, from my experience, I know this doesn’t have to be executed to the T.
If you’re new, and you’re looking to get started with 5K, use that program as a roadmap.
Here are some tips on how to get started with peloton Road to 5K.
- You don’t need 100% compliance – at the beginning is more important to develop a habit than actual performance. This means you want to complete all sessions, but you don’t have to be finishing all of them. Consistency over performance.
- Don’t just run – think of yourself as an athlete, not as a runner. This means you want to implement strength training, as well as interval training together with running into your workout. If you have an access to a gym, even better. Lift weights 2-3 times a week.
Want more tips on how to run your first 5K? Check out the Jason video where he shares his tips on getting the most out of the 5K training prep.
I think strength training is one of the most important components for any endurance athlete (more on that later).
5. Road to Your 26.2
Another great peloton program that is designed to take you by hand and prepare for endurance events is called Road to Your 26.2.
This program lasts for 5 months and also includes multiple classes that range from running, and boot camp all the way to stretch.
In a nutshell
- The Road to Your 26.2 peloton is an 18-week marathon training program.
- It has 142 sessions that include flat runs, intervals, strength, stretch, and boot camp.
- It works by applying the progressive overload principle where you add more intensity and duration with each consecutive week.
Together with workouts, you receive a lot of value from the instructors who share their personal experiences on how to get the most results in just 18 weeks.
What I like about the peloton marathon training is it was designed by a group of professionals who really understand the dynamics of how to design a long-term running program.
It has a good mix of steady-state easy runs, together with once to twice-a-week challenging tempo sessions.
I did one marathon training in the past and after the first 4 weeks, I was feeling like a train wreck.
I had no energy and because the training was so intense, I couldn’t keep up with my daily work.
However, the Peloton program is different.
This right balance allows you to blaze the trail, while still having the energy to maintain your day-to-day lifestyle.
I did this program together with two of my clients and have to report that it felt good. (To be honest, each week I was feeling better and better because wasn’t overtraining.)
6. Recovery Run
The peloton recovery run is a series of endurance running classes where the main goal is to run at a comfortable pace to enhance recovery.
Jogging at low-intensity help to flush out lactate buildup and other pro-inflammatory compounds from the muscles.
Why this class?
As a whole, the peloton recovery run is good for endurance because it enhances the healing process in the body after a hard week of training.
Back in the day when I was training for a marathon I would only run on my training day and do nothing on the recovery day.
Adding 1-2 recovery runs increases blood flow, stimulates lymphatic drainage, and reduces muscle soreness.
It may feel like doing nothing on the rest day is the best recovery method. But the reality is different.
Doing something easy like walking or even jogging helps to reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), reduce muscle fatigue and decrease pro-inflammatory markers.
In fact, studies have shown that the best post-exercise recovery technique includes low-intensity aerobic training (Dupuy et al. 2018).
There are several methods you can use to recover faster after endurance running like cryotherapy, omega-3 fatty acids, cold water immersion, and more.
However, I won’t be covering here all of them. (I’ve already covered them in another article “how to stop muscle soreness“, which I recommend you read. )
Best Peloton strength classes for endurance
Now let’s have a look at the most underrated component of endurance training, which is strength.
Many people want to run faster and longer, but they forgot that strength is the most important driver behind running performance.
It helps to fill the gap and target muscle weakness.
Not only it helps with developing stronger legs, but also leads to better core stability and greater bone density.
To learn more about the science behind adding strength training to the endurance sessions, check out this video where Jonathan interviews Chad Timmerman on his TrainerRoad podcast.
Multiple studies have shown that adding a strength training program (low to high intensity) performed 2-3 times per week has a significant effect on the performance of long-distance runners (Balsalobre-Fernández et al. 2016).
Keep in mind that the research is clear about the low to moderate intensity.
This means you can either do your strength training at the gym (moderate intensity), as well as at home with light to medium dumbbells (low intensity).
Personally, I always recommend joining the gym and doing heavy lifting sessions at least twice a week.
However, when the gym is not available, here are the best strength classes for endurance training.
7. Strength For Runners
A great way to start strength training is by choosing the Strength for Runners class from the peloton app.
You can find those classes in the “strength” category, then filter “strength for runners”.
Strength for runners is a series of classes with Matt Wilpers and Becs Gentry where they teach exercises designed to work on muscle strength.
Each class uses weights, as well as bodyweight exercises, and lasts between 5 to 30 minutes.
Why this class?
As a whole, this class is good for endurance because it triggers muscle adaptations that help to improve running strength and stability.
It not only helps to work on the muscles that aren’t engaged during the endurance run, but also helps to do the higher mileage easier.
In other words, lifting more weight helps to run longer with a better running economy. It also prevents injury and strengthens the joints and ligaments that are exposed to impact with every stride.
What I like about the strength for runners peloton is they have over 80 classes with a huge variety of exercises.
You see several variations of weighted lunges, squats, deadlifts, and jumps. This helps to target the muscle from a variety of angles.
- You may feel strong in doing forward lunges, but doing side lunges challenge different muscle groups.
- You may be comfortable with the back squad, but doing the goblet squad changes your alignment, therefore, involves using different muscles.
Working in all anatomical planes (sagittal, horizontal, and frontal) helps to target those stability muscles that aren’t involved when you run (or lift) in a straight line.
8. Glutes and Legs Strength
Another great option from the strength series is a peloton glute workout in the strength category. It will give you over 240 classes focused on your legs.
This is a series of classes that range between 5 to 45 minutes, all focused on building your glutes, as well as quads, hamstrings, and calves.
Each workout consists of 3-4 circuits where you do 4 exercises back to back with a rest in between the rounds.
Why this class?
Glutes are important for running. Doing 5-10 minutes of Glute and Leg workout directly before your endurance running session.
You can add a short sequence that activates the muscles and helps with keeping better stability during the run.
Plus, you may like this class because it focuses only on the lower body moves.
Doing lower body exercises back to back mimics the supersets, which increases the time under tension and leads to better muscle protein synthesis.
When it comes to burning calories, full-body workouts are king. Not only do they engage more muscle fibers (which requires more energy) but they also increase the metabolic rate.
However, for endurance training, the goal of the strength component is not to burn more calories but to build muscle.
That’s why focusing on just the leg workout or just the core will help to stimulate MPS (muscle protein synthesis) and trigger hypertrophy response (Krzysztofik et al. 2019).
This means if you’re already running for a number of days in a week, it’s better to focus your strength on one specific muscle group, instead of adding full-body circuit training.
9. Core Strength
Core strength is often neglected by endurance athletes.
However, having a strong core not only helps you with better posture but also reduces the injury rate and prevents back or hip pain.
A peloton core strength is a collection of over 500 classes that target abdominal muscles. The classes last between 5 to 30 minutes.
Why this class?
In general, core strength is good for endurance because it helps to maintain a good length-tension relationship between the pelvis and lumbar spine.
It also makes it easier to maintain a good posture throughout the run or cycling event.
Lower back pain is one of the most common problems among long-distance cyclists. And the biggest reason for that is weak abdominal muscles that stabilize the pelvis and lumbar spine (Streisfeld et al. 2017).
Another big reason is the bike setup. In either way, having a strong core is important. To learn more about how to reduce your back pain, check out my article “does peloton cause back pain“.
As you can see, there are several ways that peloton can improve your endurance training.
Not only it has a variety of long-distance rides, but it also has a collection of strength and power workouts.
To build muscle endurance the most important is the mileage on the road. This means doing easy runs (or rides) but more often.
The next best thing is adding strength training that can be done either in the gym or at home.