How to Run 100 Miles: The Art and Science of Endurance-Week 10

Physiology First
7 min readJan 2, 2022
Physiology First Board Member, Ethan Smith 15, chilling out in a December ice bath at The Distance Project

This is our last week on the 30/30 cycle! If you’ve been adding weight each week this should be a demanding, satisfying, and challenging workout that demonstrates just how well a focused and periodized approach to strength development pays off. We just wrapped up the cycle at our training center, The Distance Project, and everyone is feeling strong, springy, and ready to tackle their Spring races in a few months!

This week’s training is the last identical block that you’re going to see on the program as we will begin to add in more running specific drills, plyometrics, skill focused warm-ups, and strength programming that builds up gradually and focuses on common weak links in the endurance running chain.

As you perform the 30/30 for the last time ask yourself the following:

Do I really understand the internal rotation/external rotation concept at my femur as I work on squats and single leg squats? Do I understand it in relation to foot mechanics? This “spring system” of the body is critical for optimal running and if you have any questions related to this concept this is a great time to ask them on the PFU platform!

This “squatty run drill” from Adarian Barr is a good opportunity to “feel out” this concept.

When we think about all movement as compression or expansion and internal rotation or external rotation we can reduce movement skills to a few simple variables.

If my foot lands on the ground and the arch can’t relax momentarily to transmit and absorb force I can’t capitalize on the physics of running. It is both the action and the reaction. The alternative is to run on the sides of my feet with my femurs in external rotation-which is an action with a reaction as well. The action is overloading joints and the surrounding tissue and the reaction is lost force production at best and injury at worst.

We are 4 months out from our goal race at this point and there is so much time to build a springy, supple, strong, endurance running machine that power’s over mountains and feels awesome doing it. Once again-this is a great time to reach out to Lex or myself if you need a more clarification on the concepts of gait.

This conversation with Gary Ward is a deep divesinto foot mechanics and gait and is a gem of an interview. (It asks for a lot of interest in foot mechanics and the joint/bone/tissue structure of the foot from the listener. It’s definitely worth a listen on a long run with the knowledge that retaining even a small bit of the biomechanical mountain of details in this conversation can be extremely helpful. It may not be the most immediately engaging conversation in the world-but it may save a ton of money, time, and confusion in navigating the world of foot injuries that plague many endurance runners who are then left to the expertise of those who haven’t gone down the rabbit hole of biomechanics that someone like Ward has built their career on exploring at maximum depth.

A drill that you can put into practice to reinforce this concept (and work to restore the pronation/supination mechanism of the foot) is to fold up a sock and place it underneath your arch. As you lunge into the sock work to crush it with your arch by letting your foot flatten slightly and your toes reach forward as if you were working to push away a pen that was placed on the ground in front of your toes. As you lunge back imagine uncrushing the sock and allowing your foot to return to its natural arch.)

This video has no sound, but you’ll get the picture.

Chilling Out: How Cold Exposure Unlocks Athletic Potential

This episode of the Huberman Lab posdcast is all about the performance benefits of cold exposure. We use cold exposure frequently at The Distance Project-mostly for the state control benefits such as controlling the nervous system through breathing. The benefits of cold exposure from a physical standpoint, however, are absolutely astounding. The quote from Dr. Huberman below speaks volumes….it’s a powerful statement with the science to back it up!

“Temperature is the most powerful variable for improving physical performance and recovery.” -Dr. Andrew Huberman

The running sessions are what we are going to modify this week. We are reducing the mileage and placing our focus on getting the most out of the 30/30. We have plenty of time to put in the miles, this is the time period to build the foundation for those miles!

The first aerobic capacity run this week will be a 10k with nasal only breathing and the second will be an 8 mile run. We’ll be heading into an increase in mileage in week 11 so use these runs to focus on form and breath and enjoy them!

While we reduce the mileage and keep the strength training the same we’re going to add in a bout of cold exposure to experience what Andrew is talking about-and what Ethan is experiencing in the lobster tank in front of the gym:)

Cold Training Challenge:

End your showers this week with a transition from hot water to cold. Use your breath to calm your body and stay in the cold no longer than 4 controlled breaths. With practice you can train to make 4 breaths last minutes! Try the practice out this week and notice how it makes you feel. If it’s something you’re interested in exploring further try starting your showers cold and maintaining the 4 breath principle or filling up the bath with cold water and ice and taking a full-on ice bath. It’s a practice that many of our athletes have really come to enjoy and the mental and physical fitness benefits are out of this world.

If you don’t have a lobster tank handy, there’s always natures ice bath as well :)

Post run plunge in one of our favorite training spots, the Baldface Loop Trail in Chatham, New Hampshire

Aside from the mental state and athletic performance benefits, cold immersion has a host of benefits for the brain and preventing cognitive decline.

Dr. Rhonda Patrick describes cold thermogenesis as “the link between synapse regeneration,” and says, “cold exposure and cold shock proteins may pose as significant puzzle pieces into combating cellular degeneration and aging.”

This short article covers some of these benefits while touching on the relationship between cold thermogensis as well.

To close out this week’s training plan we have a cheap purchase recommendation for you. We’ve bought several of these 6 pound medicine balls for the training center and (providing that you have something to throw them at-a sturdy wall, a smooth rock, a tractor tire ;) you’ll have a blast with these things-and if you’ve seen any of our Physiology First University live videos you know that we use them a ton in our training. As we get closer to race day we’ll want to keep plyometric power output high while minimizing impact on the body.

Next week we’ll deload from the 30/30 strength cycle and gear up for a new training block with an emphasis on building an explosive, durable, and unstoppable endurance athlete!

Don’t hesitate to message us if you need any more support throughout the program-we’d still love to get a live meeting for participants on the calendar and we need to hear from you if that’s something you’d find valuable and would like to be a part of!

Wishing everyone an awesome week of training and congratulations on making it through the 30/30 this week!

David

--

--

Physiology First

Physiology First University provides brain and body based education and 21st century skills. Be part of the evolution of education and #learndifferent.