Allyson Felix On Exercising With A Mask & Designing For Athleta

She breaks down all of her favorite running looks.

Allyson Felix poses on the track
Patrick Smith/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

From postponed weddings to canceled vacations, 2020 has thrown everyone’s plans out the window. For Allyson Felix, the pandemic meant she’d have to put the Olympics on hold. It was a tough pill to swallow for the six-time Olympic gold medalist runner, mother, and activist.

“It was really hard,” Felix tells Bustle. “I felt like I had to take time to really grieve that process because the Olympics are something that you are so focused on. Everything comes down to literally the second you’re supposed to compete.”

Originally scheduled for summer 2020, the Tokyo Olympics have now been moved to next summer. Felix admits that she had to confront her feelings of frustration and disappointment. “To have that taken away — it felt like a loss,” she shares. “I gave myself the time to do that. Then I came back thinking, ‘It’s not canceled, it’s postponed, and I have to shift my mind and my goals now and still get after it.’”

Off the track, one of Felix’s longtime goals has been breaking into the apparel space, which is finally coming to fruition thanks to her new partnership with Athleta. Her first-ever collaboration with the athleisure brand just launched, and she’s eager to share her design skills with the world.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to have a signature line,” she says. “I love Athleta’s mission — it’s one that is so close to my heart — of empowering women and girls. It was a deeply collaborative experience along with another lead designer from Athleta’s team of all women, which makes me really excited about it.”

Like most of us, Felix saw her workout regimen completely altered by the pandemic. She wants people to know that even as an Olympic athlete, running in a mask and getting creative with workouts is challenging.

“I’m having struggles as well,” she reveals. “Be kind to yourself. If you are a new runner, don’t think you have to take on an hour run. It’s totally fine to run for a minute, walk for a minute. That also helps with the mask because it’s hard to have something on your face, so knowing that you don’t have to run straight through — enjoying it in these little circuits is one thing that can help.”

Another aspect that can be helpful? Cute running clothes, of course. Ahead, Felix walks us through some of her favorite pieces from her new Athleta collection.


“I love this track suit that I’m wearing,” she says. “It has a matching bottom as well, but I love that you can do it in pieces. Where I am in my life right now with working out — typically I’m not coming straight home. I might have to go to the grocery store or run errands, so I can just pop this over whatever I’m training in and make it work for the rest of my day.”


“What I wanted to bring to this was that when women put on these pieces, they would feel confident and empowered,” Felix says. “There’s a lot of love notes to them in the clothes.”


“The high neck bra looks great, but it’s also functional. You don’t always see that high neck. There’s something sleek about it. I feel confident in it, and it’s super easy to layer with.”


“Everything from coming up with colors and concepts — a lot of it was inspired from how I use pieces in my own training,” she shares. “I do a lot with layering, and I like to be fully covered when I’m warming up.”


“As I continue to progress in the workout, I like to move down to more minimal pieces, so we brought a lot of that into this,” she explains. “Those little details — the zippers on the tights, for example — all of that has been inspired by my own style and how I train in these pieces.”