How to Run 100 Miles: The Art and Science of Endurance-Week 9

Swoldorf Returns! It’s a Christmas miracle !

I hope that everyone had a PHENOMENAL holiday filled with memories, magic, and miles if you chose to run ‘em! We took it easy on our end and walked the day away. A big strength and conditioning session the day before and the day after made up the bulk of the weekend training as the streets were a sheet of ice and we gave up the “gotta run to stay fit” mindset years ago. A slow slog through the snow isn’t close to the stimulus needed to create adaptation-although it’s super pretty and can be a great way to tap into flow and enjoy movement!

We opted for a “12 Days of Christmas” style workout on our end on Christmas Eve. This is a “CrossFit” artifact-and an example of how we used to train just about every night. If you want to explore the concept of diminishing returns-do one of these every day for a few months :) That said, workouts like this can be extremely fun and are a good example of how a little bit of variance and a solid challenge can spike dopamine and tap into a reward pathway that can be extremely satisfying-while challenging the body in way that it isn’t used to-unless you are in fact doing this every night…

12 Days of Christmas-Distance Project Style

1 Deadlift

2 Pull-ups

3 40ft shuttle sprints

4 Box jump-overs

5 Deficit Push-ups (feet elevated in as much of an upside down/pike position as you can manage while still doing an actual push-up-not just a micro arm bend :)

6 Russian Kettlebell Swings (Stop just above hip level)

7 American Kettlebell Swings (Swing to eye level or above)

8 Deadlifts

9 Barbell Burpees

10 Barbell squats

11 Barbell rows

12 Calories on Bike, Row, or Ski erg

Here’s how it goes. You treat the workout like the 12 Days of Christmas song. On the first day of Christmas you do one hang clean. (This is our version-not the CF version which I honestly don’t remember.) Next, you do 2 pull-ups and one hang clean. Then, 3 forty foot shuttle sprints, 2 pull-ups, and one hang clean. 5 box jump overs, 6 Russian Swings, 7 American swings, 8 deadlifts, 9 barbell burpees (jumping laterally over the bar), 10 squats with your deadlift/hand clean weight (any style that you can clean and squat with) 11 barbell rows, 12 calories on a bike or rower and….you’re fit :)

This week’s training plan is exactly like last week’s-except the weight on the 30/30 goes up by the smallest margin possible. If you’ve noticed-this workout is extremely demanding and produces a storm of adaptation in the body if done at the correct weight and intensity. We only have one more week on this cycle before transitioning to more movement skills, advanced running mechanics, and advanced breathing exercises. Enjoy this simple, tough training block and use it to identify weak links in your training chain. For example, the single leg squat variants are so much harder on my left side and I am looking forward to shoring up the difference to the greatest degree possible before Cruel Jewel 100 in May!

What we are going to add to the mix this week is how to optimize recovery. As these workouts in the 30/30 begin to “work” you are going to want to see the maximal gain for your efforts. This all comes down to the recovery window which is a trifecta of sleep, nutrition, and stress management.

Coach Lex is going to present a workshop on nutritional strategies that have worked for her and other athletes that we’ve coached on the platform this week so stay tuned for details! As far as stress management, we invite you to use the heart rate variability training program that we designed through our company Breathe to Perform which is available in the Heart Rate Variability Course here on the PFU platform.

Here is a sneak peak at the program that we are launching at Breathe to Perform-you already have access to all of the material as a PFU member but this short intro will give you a quick insight into how the heart rate variability training and Breathe to Perform audio program work:

This is a phenomenal podcast by Heart Rate Variability expert Dr. JT Wiles that goes waaay deeper than we do in our course. Not necessary to get the benefits of breath training and heart rate variability optimization-but very interesting if you’re interested in exploring the science of how the spaces between each heart beat serve as an indicator of our bodies overall ability to recover and to manage stress like a pro.

On the sleep side we’re going to go with this conversation between Dr. Andrew Huberman and Dr. Matt Walker. Matt now has his own podcast which is great for short, deep dives into all things sleep.

The other addition to this week’s program is our Unstick Your Sacrum series. This is a back pain relief and movement oriented approach to keeping your sacrum sliding and gliding while creating posterior pelvis expansion. This feels awesome for a lot of our athletes and we hope that it helps you to feel “unstuck” as well while keeping your movement options at the hip wide open.

Next week we’ll be back to our live meetings on zoom on Sunday evenings and a deep dive into pelvic floor mechanics for both male and female athletes-this often overlooked area of training is critical to going the distance in sport and life.

We’re going to leave you with this quick breathing drill to add to your warm-ups from one of our Physiology First Live Learning Labs this week. Catch them at 1pm on Monday and Wednesday-expect for tomorrow as I’m being interviewed on the Advocates for Education podcast about our work at Physiology First University. Super excited to connect with Nick who runs the project and talk about our vision for 2022!

This is the phenomenal paper that we reference in the video. A must read for anyone interested in decoding the physiology of anxiety and better understanding the relationship between breathing and state control.

Have a wonderful week and we’ll see you soon for more live convo’s, workshops…and hopefully for group training runs for those members who are in the New England area!

Have a great training week, all!

David and Lex



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