How to Run 100 Miles: The Art and Science of Endurance — Week 11

Physiology First
7 min readJan 9, 2022


First off, congratulations on tacking the 30/30 cycle for the last time this past week! Keep this one in your back pocket and consider making it your stand by wrap-up or start to the training year. That’s what we’ve been doing for the past two seasons at The Distance Project, typically starting in November or December. It’s helped our athletes feel ready for the year of trail running and mountain adventures by building a rock solid base of pure strength.

This week we deload from the 30/30 with an all body weight workout. Keep this concept in the arsenal as well-after 4–6 week periods of intense training we always add a body weight week to the training cycle.

Last week we talked about cold exposure as a throttle for athletic adaptation. This week we’re turning our attention to the heat.

I just wrapped up a run in the icy cold rain here in Portland, Maine. Jumping into a sauna at the home of my friend (and fellow How to Run 100 Miles member, Stacy. The health benefits of sauna are well documented and provide an absolutely astounding array of positive adaptations in the body.

“Sauna use, sometimes referred to as “sauna bathing,” is characterized by short-term passive exposure to extreme heat. This exposure elicits mild hyperthermia — an increase in the body’s core temperature — that induces a thermoregulatory response involving neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, and cytoprotective mechanisms that work together to restore homeostasis and condition the body for future heat stressors.-Dr Rhonda Patrick

Read her incredible body of work on all things sauna below.

By the way, her site, Found My Fitness, is one of the premier health, fitness, longevity, and human performance training sites on the internet. Definitely check it out!!

One of the questions that we often get from athletes has to do with the benefits of traditional wood barrel sauna vs infrared sauna.

This short clip from Ben Greenfield on the cost benefit analysis of the two options is an phenomenally thorough overview in less than 10 minutes.

We can’t add a broad sauna challenge as it’s obviously not accessible to everyone but if you have a sauna or have access to one definitely take advantage of it throughout this program and beyond. I like to practice the following breathing ladder in the sauna. Give it a shot, and if you don’t have access to the extra heat you may still enjoy practicing the breath ladder!

Inhale for 4 seconds. Exhale for 6.

Inhale for 6 seconds. Exhale for 8.

Continue with the addition of 2 seconds to both the inhalation and the exhalation until you get to an 18 second inhale/20 second exhale-or as close as you can come to this breathing pattern! I find it to be a great test of breathing capacity, stress tolerance, and pressurization pairs very well with the sweat, heat, and detoxification benefits of getting your sweat on in the sauna.

If you live near a hotel you may find that they have a sauna and gym membership pass. That’s what Lex and I do here in Portland. The sauna below is at a hotel that we frequent a few times per week and it’s been an awesome investment, especially in the Maine winter!

This week’s body weight training cycle adds some new movements and goes deeper into the biomechanics of old school, traditional exercises like push-ups and lunges and how they relate to running mechanics!

Day One: Strength and Conditioning

Warm-up: 3 rounds

A.) 80 ft bear crawl.

B.) 15 calf raises

C.) 30 second jump rope

D.) Ball Montage. If you don’t have a medicine ball mimic the patterns with a 1o pound weight plate.

Bodyweight training cycle.

3 rounds:

15 push-ups

40 bicycle sit-ups. (Do not crane your neck on these. Imagine shooting your left palm directly across you body to connect with your right foot as it moves towards your reaching left arm. This relationship of nose over sternum over knee over foot as the right ab wall compresses and the left ab wall expands is running-at least from the perspective of stacking the skeleton in an optimal position and allowing the natural fluid management/pressure management systems of the body to do their thing!

30 lateral lunges. (15 per side.) Look for the same relationship in this exercise in the video below. It’s all the same thing-and once you begin to see and feel the movement principles that guide human biomechanics you can choose which rules to maintain and which to break with agency and purpose. There is a reason that people squat differently when under extremely heavy load and using impingement based strategies to treat the body as one big crane. There is a reason that people squat differently when they are racing one another to complete 100 squats as well. Optimal biomechanics feel good and translate into patterns that you’ll find throughout human locomotion. If you asked Lex to jump laterally she would land in the exact same position as in this video-and a similar position to the one in the bicycle crunch. If you asked her to pole vault and land it would look completely different ;)

10 alternating plyometric split squats. (5 per side.)

Core: Copenhagen Plank Tabata. You’ll find Lex and I demonstrating these in the PFU in Action workout from

Accessory Work: 3 rounds

4 per side hip airplanes.

30 second hamstring walk-out.

Aerobic Base: Day One

Run: 12 miles. Nasal only breathing. Goal: Imagine head of femur and ischial tuberosity (back pockets) as two magnets. Notice what happens when they move towards one another as opposed to away. More glute engagement, less back strain, more like running in a telephone booth than falling forward with your belly button leading the charge.


Post run breathing: 2 minutes

Inhale through the nose. Exhale through the mouth. Repeat until heart rate is approximately 60% of Max HR or until you feel like you can comfortably return to nasal breathing.

Strength and Conditioning: Day 2

Same as day one. Use this second exposure to the workout to really feel out the principles at play. If you truly understand one exercise you’ll understand your body and human movement at a deeper level than most others. This is a competitive advantage as well as a hugely valuable investment in your own health autonomy, vitality, and longevity.

Sprint Day:

We now have a dedicated sprint day once per week. You can choose to attach it to the strength and conditioning days or train these short sprint sessions independently.

A.) Sprint Warm-up Matrix

Sprints: Take this sprint effort at a moderate intensity and use it as an opportunity dial in the mechanics that we covered throughout the program so far and to ease back into the sprint work. Maintain a 60–65% effort this week.

3 rounds of:

5 x 20 meter sprint x 5. Walk back to the start after each effort. Rest two minutes between efforts.


Post run breathing: 2 minutes

Inhale through the nose. Exhale through the mouth. Repeat until heart rate is approximately 60% of Max HR or until you feel like you can comfortably return to nasal breathing.

Aerobic Base: Day Two

Run: 13 miles. Loose time trial.

The goal of this run is just to get a baseline for your half marathon time. It doesn’t need to be a P.R level baseline as if you were running the race of your dreams and leaving every ounce of your effort out on the run. Look at it as a “training run time trial.” Run a solid 13 miles and mark down the time. Breathe as you would normally at this point and gauge how natural nasal breathing has become, or if it still feels like a significant effort. Mark this down as well and we’ll circle back to it later in the program!


Post run breathing: 2 minutes

Inhale through the nose. Exhale through the mouth. Repeat until heart rate is approximately 60% of Max HR or until you feel like you can comfortably return to nasal breathing.

We hope that you enjoy this body weight focused training week with some slightly longer runs and that you’ll join us on the Live Learning Labs on Monday and Wednesday at 1pm this week if schedule allows!

We’ll go over some additional tips for all of the exercises covered this week. As always, these live learning labs will be available on the PFU platform to watch independently anytime!

Have an awesome week of training and celebrate your progress in making it to the close to the halfway point of the program!




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