The List: My favorite recent iFit runs

I have no idea what else to write about today but I’m currently staring at our treadmill, so here we are

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
iFit classes are filmed all over the world.

The last couple of weeks have been a complete bummer, to say the least, with the highly contagious omicron variant making the pandemic feel as suffocating as ever as the coronavirus era prepares to enter into its third year, which hurts just to write. This has made it especially hard to think creatively in recent days, which is how I found myself under deadline and with zero ideas for today’s List. Seeing that I’m sitting here at my desk in the basement, staring blankly at our treadmill, I thought I’d rank some of my favorite recent iFit runs. You’re welcome.

6. Death Road Pillar Run, Bolivia

I’ve written about my fondness for iFit trainer Tommy Rivers Puzey, aka Tommy Rivs, a couple of times in the past, and this run is no exception, with the trainer leading you down Bolivia’s death road. The trail has apparently earned its name, with Rivs detailing instances where tour buses plunged off of cliffs and ticking off figures related to the hundreds of cyclists who have skidded off the road and into oblivion. Anyhoo, impending doom aside, this is an easy downhill run with some great scenery, even if the heights induced vertigo-like sensations, at times.

5. Ocean Beach, Northland, New Zealand

Zac Marion is an affable trainer, the kind of guy who would likely hand you the puka necklace off his person if you asked. And the entire New Zealand series is worth doing, both for the scenery and the variety in the workouts. Plus, it starts off with him asking you what you hope to see while traversing the country, and what you want to do with your time there, an inquiry that led me to say, mid-run and out loud to absolutely no one, “I want to kill a Hobbit.” Moving on, this is a solid oceanside run, mixing up tempos and efforts. I’ll even forgive the mid-run non-sequitur where Marion says that he wore his flowered hat specifically for this run, only to turn around and add that, actually, he always wears this hat. WHICH IS IT, ZAC? 

4. South Rim-to-River Run

Split over six parts, each run lasting 40 to 45 minutes, this series allows you to join Tommy Rivs in a run from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, down to the banks of the Colorado River, and then back up. The first four parts were a breeze, while the last two, done largely at a steep incline, had me ready to cuss Rivs out. Still, finishing the trek left me with a real sense of accomplishment.

3. St. John’s Fortress Endurance Run

Here, Rivs leads you on a run alongside the bay to the walled city of Kotor and then (unfortunately, for my quads) up into the hills, which made for a punishing end to the hour-plus run. Despite the incline, the setting offered a mix of history, political intrigue and postcard-worthy views that helped most of the time breeze by.

2. Ponta Delgada Interval Run, Sao Miguel Island, Azores

I’ve explored much of this wild, volcanic island with trainer Leah Rosenfeld, enjoying some relatively flat runs alongside massive lakes and more challenging turns that shift the action up into the mountains. This run fell toward the latter, with some steep inclines giving way to some pretty phenomenal views.

1. Soca Gorge Endurance Run

This has become my go-to workout if I want a relatively long (it lasts around an hour) but not completely taxing run, since a bulk of it takes place at a decline. As nature settings go, this is some of the best iFit has to offer, with Rivs leading you through a pristine mountain gorge and past tumbling waterfalls and grassy meadows. All the while, he ping-pongs between trivia, including a dissection of Ernest Hemingway’s experiences during World War I, which formed the basis for his novel A Farewell to Arms, and legit tips on running technique, breaking down cell physiology and gait in an easily digestible way. The dude really is the best.