13 athletes share killer workouts

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Run if you can! Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix shares the ghastly workout that fills her heart with dread.

Beware. There really are things that go bump on the track. To celebrate Halloween, we've asked 13 athletes to share their scariest workouts.

Kelly Clark, snowboarding

My scariest workout would have to be running stairs. They're scary because they can be found anywhere; you can't get away from them! They're at every hotel, and even in airports. There's a set I love to hate in my hometown of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., that are heated in the winter so even snow doesn't give you a get-out-of-stairs-free card. There are about 70-plus steps and little platforms in between the sets, so if you're feeling ambitious, you can throw in some core moves on those. My favorite way to do them is the 20-minute challenge: You do as many laps as you can in 20 minutes. My record is 22, but I have heard of some people getting 26 laps. I guess I'll keep training!

Carli Lloyd, soccer

When I was in college, I used to dread the "YBMI" fitness test (as in, "you better make it"). We'd start by running a half mile in three minutes, rest for a minute and 20 seconds then run a quarter-mile in a minute and 18 seconds. After that, it was two shuttle sprints in 35 seconds or better followed by another half mile and quarter mile. It was a killer and had me on the verge of throwing up every time. But I wasn't fit back then! If you didn't make it, you got "breakfast club," aka extra conditioning work, every morning until you passed.

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Nothing strikes fear in Armintie Herrington quite like the specter of sprints.

Armintie Herrington, WNBA

In college at Ole Miss, our coaches set goals for us each game, like turnovers or number of points allowed, and if we didn't meet the goals, we had to run sprints after the next day's practice. And I hated running. So during the games, I was always scared, thinking about all the running I might have to do the next day at practice.

Jessica Long, paralympic swimming

My most dreaded workout is this weight set we call 30, 30, 30s. You hang from a bar and hold for 30 seconds in a knee tuck position with a 15-kilo plate in your lap. Then you go right into 30 leg raises and then hold for another 30 seconds in the knee tuck position with no plate. Do it three times through and you'll be feeling it for a week!

Meghan Duggan, ice hockey

Hands down, my most terrifying workout is the on-ice conditioning test. You have to skate from goal line to blue line and back seven times in a row. Then you rest five minutes and do it again. My body literally feels like death!

Elena Delle Donne, WNBA

My scariest workout is a drill I do to practice staying in the right defensive stance -- doing defensive slides while holding my arms straight out to the sides with a brick in each hand. I do it for a minute at a time, and it makes your arms and legs so tired, but you know you can't drop the bricks on the wood court so you have to push through the pain!

Ashley Wagner, figure skating

My most miserable practices are these circuit-training workouts I do that make me feel like I've been run over by a train afterward. I start with five minutes of agility ladder exercises, then go straight to four minutes of jump roping, then 50 sit-ups, plyometrics in the sand and sprinting up and down the beach. Then you repeat that four times. The kicker: The beach I live near, Salt Creek, has a crazy hill you have to run up. It's so draining!

Jenny Simpson, track and field

My first year at the University of Colorado, I was living in the dorms on campus. One night I finished my workout and headed for my cooldown back to my room. It was beginning to get dark really early, as it does in the mountains in the fall, and I was probably daydreaming a little too. All of a sudden, a caped man jumped out of the bushes. Before I even had a chance to react, Darth Vader was staring me down and coming at me with a glowing light saber! I had been so busy that week with school and running that I totally forgot it was Halloween! I've never been so caught off-guard and frightened on a run! The guy came after me and then ran off laughing with a group of friends. My heart-rate spike and breathtaking scream from that scare were like a second workout!

Natalie Gulbis, golf

The scariest workout I've ever done was paddleboarding in beautiful Hawaii. We were playing an LPGA event and I went paddling at sunset after a round. The farther I paddled away from shore, I quickly realized the tide was going out and waves were becoming choppier. I could visibly see the coral that I was dodging as I tried to get back. I was terrified the entire time and ecstatic to get back to shore!

Kalana Greene, WNBA

Running stadium steps is my most dreaded workout. Not only is it extremely hard -- running fast up a lot of stairs -- but when you come down, you are so tired you feel like you are going to stumble and fall all the way down. In college we would do a total of 120 stadiums as a team -- 10 each, nonstop. If a teammate couldn't make it, someone else had to make them up, and by the end there were people falling all over the stairs.

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Allyson Felix says her scariest workout is capped by two hours in the weight room.

Allyson Felix, track and field

My coach, Bobby Kersee, has the reputation of being demanding, intense and sometimes crazy! We have a lot of tough workouts, but the one we have most regularly that I dread is two times 600 meters, 450 meters and 300 meters followed by an all-out 200. Then we finish it up with two hours in the weight room.

Elana Meyers, bobsled

We have these "prowler pushes" during preseason training where you push this (already heavy) sled piled high with a ridiculous amount of weight. My top is 16 or 17 plates, each one weighing 45 pounds. I don't even want to do the math on that! We have to push it 20 meters and sometimes 30 meters -- that makes you want to throw up every time. I've blown out shoes twice doing this workout! It's so brutal. You'd think 30 meters isn't that long, but pushing that much weight is terrifying.

Essence Carson, WNBA

Thinking of one of my most terrifying workouts takes me back to college at Rutgers. Coach Stringer's preseason conditioning test was a nightmare: a 1.5-mile run, five 55s (double suicides in 55 seconds) and sideline ladders. It was terrifying because I knew it was beyond hard and that my legs probably wouldn't work once I was done.

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