CJ Albertson already holds the world indoor marathon record, so keeping his indoor Peloton treadmill workouts consistently interesting became the world-class runner’s most recent goal.

For mere mortals, simply cycling or running should enough of a workout. For Albertson, 27, who set a world record in 2019 with a time of 2:17, his latest marathon mission is s to take as many leaderboard spots on Peloton’s Tread sessions as possible. He began what he calls his 28-day challenge in late January and has been cranking out the treadmill mileage ever since.

Three million people are now actively participating in Peloton classes, as home on-demand and live-streaming workouts are filling the void of gyms worldwide being either closed or folks reluctant to return due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Albertson wants to defeat every one of them. In a fun way, of course.

“When I purchased the Peloton Tread and its subscription, I knew I wanted to make the most of it, and this seemed like a fun personal challenge,” says the Brooks Running-sponsored athlete. “This wasn’t really a long, thought-out idea. It just popped into my head and I ran with it.”

So far, with the challenge ending on Feb. 24, the Fresno native has already racked up more than 20 top spots on the platform, and hopes to smash a total of 80 first places, before his quest reaches the finish line. While others are grateful to get one workout in each day, Albertson may clock in several within a 24-hour period.

“There’s a few days where I can’t run on the treadmill due to my schedule and training plan, but I try to make up for it on other days,” Albertson says. “For example, on Feb. 2, I took seven classes and ran a total of 34 miles. Knowing myself, I’ll probably try to put up some ridiculous numbers in the last week.”

As part of his strategy, Albertson, who also holds the world’s best 50k run time at 2:42, normally targets the classes of Peloton coach Matt Wilpers, who he’s become a big fan of. He also selects runs with the most ratings to see if he can take those top spots too.

Typically, when you run that often, multiple running sessions can require a change in footwear. Another treadmill strategy Albertson utilizes is sometimes switching from his normal Brooks Hyperion Tempo running shoe, and changing to surprisingly, a trail shoe, like the Catamount, when he anticipates an “extra sweaty run” coming up.

So far, his stats seem to back up his methods. To date, CJ’s growing list of top spots include the 20-minute Hip Hop Run with Jess Sims (6km in 19:59), the 45-minute HIIT Run with Becs Gentry (12.44km in 44:58), and the 60-minute EDM Fun Run with Matt Wilpers (16.56km in 59:57).

Prior to joining each class, the leaderboard times are hidden, so simply cherry-picking the races he feels most comfortable with isn’t always so easy for Albertson. But when it’s over, whether he hits his goal of 80 or not, the experience of being part of a worldwide running family is victory in itself.

“I’m realizing that I’m getting more out of the experience than I thought I would,” Albertson says. “Each of the instructors are so different but are motivating and encouraging in their own unique way. Even as a professional runner, I can benefit from them, and it’s fun to be a part of a global community- especially in the live classes. It continues to remind me that running is far more than the results I achieve. The relationships, mutual support, encouragement, and shared joy among runners is what makes it so great.”

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