Audio Master Class: Red Pill Blue Pill Intervals

Not long ago I was creating an interval profile that ended up with an odd number of intervals because I ran out of time before I needed a cool-down. Nothing wrong with that; who says there has to be an even number? No one! However, I was alternating fast flats with climbs, and I wasn’t sure what the final one should be. I decided to let my students choose. I was going to just let someone write down their preferences, then do a game of sorts to decide if we do that or not. I came to class with the idea that I’d figure it out as I came to the last interval. I put two songs at the end of my playlist, one for a climb and one for a fast flat, and would simply select the one that the class picked.

Just before class, as I was writing the profile down on the whiteboard, I used two dry-erase pens: a red one and a blue one. The caps of the pens looked like a red pill and a blue pill, which gave me the idea from The Matrix. I only used it on the final interval of my profile, and had no other reference to The Matrix, but everyone loved it, and from that idea spawned this profile, Red Pill Blue Pill.

I think you’re going to really enjoy this one! The efforts are hard to harder (two-step intervals), and the theme brings in a few of the concepts of The Matrix, specifically the concept that there are two scenarios, the blissful ignorance of life in the Matrix or the painful truth of reality outside of the Matrix. The red pill keeps you in the ignorance, and the blue pill takes you out into the painful reality. Other than that I don’t delve deeply into the movie theme.

You’ll have to line up the second half of your playlist so that you can quickly select whatever terrain your students choose, via the Red Pill Blue Pill method.

If you are a big fan of the movie and come up with other references to The Matrix to add to this profile, or have other perfect songs to use, please add them to the comments. This is one of those profiles you can do again and again, using some different songs, and every single time it will come out different. I’m quite sure this will become one of your go-to profiles!


  1. I just taught this class this morning, and it was a blast! Thanks Jen, as always, for the inspiration. A couple twists I added to the “choice”: (I had everyone in the class write their choice on a piece of paper.) (1) Pick a person, tell everyone that she is the “target” – it is her choice that is at issue. Then point out three people, and tell them they are the tribunal, and each gets to vote whether she gets the red pill or the blue pill. (2) Pick a person, tell him that he can give the red pill to anyone in the class – the goal is for him to try to predict the other rider’s choice so he gets to ride what he originally picked. (You can reverse this one and tell the player to give anyone in the class the blue pill.) (3) Pick a person and tell her that she gets to decide which pill will be handed out, but she doesn’t know who will get it. (I was hoping she would pick the red pill, and she did – everyone laughed when I walked around the whole class, then came back to her and asked her what she picked – she got the red pill!)

  2. I’ve a profile which I created years ago called Stay the Course – for about 35 minutes we rode flats, rolling hills, ascents, descents, then came to a fork in the road – riders about 5 minutes before got to choose whether they took the left fork or the right. Left fork was an ascent and the right a flat(ish) road. Once they reached the fork, decision was made and they had to ‘stay the course’.

  3. Great profile Jennifer, I also really like this:
      Juno Reactor – Mona Lisa Overdrive V2 (Matrix Soundtrack)

    It looks like a very difficult climb very fast but ‘I find that by’ can use for so many profiles

  4. Author

    Imogen, that’s another great way to spin this Matrix concept! And, yes, that song is very high on my list of all-time favorites. It’s one of my planned “Wednesday Timeless Classics” one of these days!

  5. I just thought of another way to play this based on what Lori wrote. As people come in, you offer them a red or blue strip of paper and this dictates where they sit…(that will shake things up). Then you are teaching two different “paths” and then at the end split the group with two different outcomes. I like this a lot

  6. Also if you want the best song for a hard climb…clubbed to Death by Rob Dugan, in my Top 3 of tracks ever!
    great Profile Jen.

  7. Author

    Lisa, I LOVE the lyrics to Free Your Mind, and I had no idea it was lyrics from the Matrix. I never saw The Matrix in the theater, only on DVD, and I don’t think I was paying close attention, because I didn’t remember a whole lot about it (not a huge sci fi fan). 😉

    While creating this profile, I was asking my husband about the movie, and he said, “I think you need to rent it again and watch it!”
    I guess so!

  8. Whoops – I was obviously confused – it’s only Free Your Mind that uses the Matrix script.

  9. This fits perfectly with a mini-block that I am doing with my students! We have been alternating weeks working on speed skills and muscular endurance, for a total of 4 classes. I will use this to close out the block and have a lot of fun! Thanks Jen!

    P.S. Did you know that two songs that you have used in the past, Flip Your Mind by Karmadelic and Free Your Mind by The Lounge, use language from the blue pill/red pill scene in the Matrix? (I even suspect that Karmadelic simply altered Fishburne’s voice electronically – or their speaker sounds uncannily like him.) I’m going to use one of them as my warm up song when I introduce the idea.

  10. This is an awesome profile you can use over and over again with it never being the same ride. Josh and Scott did this several years ago at WSSC (The Matrix Ride) with the whole premise being to choose wisely at the beginning. The twist to their ride was that no matter what path you chose in the beginning, we all eventually traveled over the same roads and wound up in the same place. The whole thing is about commitment. Make your choice and stick with it. Don’t sit on the fence or decide 60 seconds in that you want the other road. #becommitted.

    Yours offers an entirely new twist.

  11. You asked for other Matrix references, and this one came to mind:

    When the computers changed something in the matrix, you would see something occur oddly twice. For example, Neo saw a cat get up and shake. A split second later the cat was lying down again and repeated his rise and shake. This “change in the matrix” meant that the computers had sealed off all exits in the building and were on the attack against Neo and his companions.

    You could work this into the ride by way of repeating the fast flat or climb you just did instead of alternating it (this is the cat) and then bringing in a really unexpected killer drill to symbolize that the computers were on the attack.

    Just a thought…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *