Breathe To Perform
10 min readApr 15, 2021

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Endurance Redefined:

Phase Two

My Aunt is sick.

She’s going to be 90 years old this May and she’s headed into open heart surgery pretty close to her birthday.

She’s scared of the surgery.

I’m scared too.

She raised me like a mother and I can’t imagine not hearing her voice on the other end of the phone on Sunday evening’s anymore.

Every time we talk, that voice is just a little more faint. It’s a little bit weaker. Communication is becoming more of a strain.

Her mind is sharp and her health is otherwise fine, save for the leaky valve in her heart.

Unfortunately, it only takes one weak link in the chain of physiology to break us away from the people, places, and experiences that we love the most.

We are extremely resilient biological organisms with the limitation of being made entirely of meat. As the writer Terry Bison pointed out, that’s pretty strange.

We’re sentient, conscious, mortal meat with clear and obvious needs from a preservation perspective.

These needs are as objective and universal as any truths in the universe. A healthy brain, a strong heart, dense bones, organs that function-there’s a list of parts that requires maintenance in to keep our bodies alive and thriving.

The stories that we tell about the reality of being human are the stories that either rob us of our life, or allow us to amplify our brief time as walking, talking, thinking meat by respecting the laws of human biology and doing the work that makes bodies work.

My Aunt told a story that goes like this: Women don’t exercise.

That’s it.

That’s the narrative that relieved her of the burden of maintaining the strength her own body. That’s a heartbreaking narrative with consequences as deep as deep can get.

My drive to write this program is not a drive to see people win medals or stand on pedestals. I just can’t care about that shit. Sport performance is a fun compliment to the process of helping someone say “fuck the culture that feeds it’s own identity by eating my future. I’m taking ownership of my body and mind with purpose and I’m building them to go the distance.

My drive is to incite a spirit to kill the narratives that hold back an empowered approach to longevity in exchange for platitudes about what “runners/cyclists/swimmers/insert singular activity extended way too far into identify need to “do” to stay fit for their sport.

It’s working with others to redefine endurance and push the limits of possibility with a deep and objective respect for the needs of our bodies and minds. Life is a sport-and this is a program for people who are ready to train for it.

The basic needs of our bodies can be met with a minimal investment in endurance training. Not “run a lot because it feels good” training. Do the work to build an unstoppable body and mind that doesn’t break-endurance training.

What drives me to write simple training programs with personal stories behind them is the knowledge that so many people will end up facing the fear that my Aunt is facing off with right now simply because no one made a compelling enough case for objectivity when looking at our bodies and what they need to serve as vessels for our consciousness for as long as possible, while running as well as possible.

This isn’t always a story I’ve stick with. When I’ve attempted to ape another narrative, either for a sense of belonging, or because I often seem to need to live through a specific failure to bring truth to an observation, I’ve always paid the toll at the end of every dead end road that I ran down.

My Aunt is a fighter. She has the spirit to walk through hell and become stronger with each step. I only wish that my own narrative to her over the years would have been more persuasive. I wish that her body possessed the strength of her mind as she faces these immense challenges. By painting a picture of my Aunt’s current scenario-the struggle for peace of mind given a mind that thrives within a body that is broken-and help even one person work backwards from this conceptual endgame to play different moves…

I trained for the Eastern States 100 like I’ve never trained for anything in my life.

I remember once running 10 miles in the morning, 10 in the afternoon, and 10 at night. I ran my first 100 mile week during this training cycle. I didn’t do half as well in the race as I did running 1/2 the miles in preparation for my first 100 miler, Virgil Crest.

Training for Virgil looked like weightlifting, jumping, tons of force and power development, and one long run per week. I placed in the top ten and felt AMAZING throughout the entire training cycle. Nutrition, sleep, training/life balance was entirely on point.

Eastern States felt like living through the experience that I’d seen leave so many runners totally wasted, while somehow needing to “know” whether I was shortchanging my potential by not going “all in” on one very specific kind of adaptation.

The question that this begs is “what type of adaptation” does running actually produce? What is the “point” of it?

Aerobic capacity-the ability for the body to remain in the presence of oxygen-is a specific adaptation, related to breathing.

The skill of running is a specific adaptation, related to countless hours of deliberate practice.

Building the elasticity to spring across the earth while exchanging forces with its rolling surface as opposed to sinking into the ground as though you’re running in sand it a specific adaptation.

Throughout the Endurance Redefined program my goal is to help you identify specific adaptations and create them with agency.

In the meantime, here is a question that only you can answer. Your answer will help to guide you in identifying the specific adaptation that you seek.

How do I want to feel?

Answering this question honestly is a window into identifying the training practices that are worth pursuing.

It is also a window into better understanding ourselves.

It isn’t until we get to the elephant in the room which is “Who the hell am I?” that we add any degree of relevance to goals that simply need context and clarity to make sense for decades as opposed to training seasons.

Zoom out from a society exhausted by abundance and place yourself in the light of history.

You are a powerful animal at the top of the food chain with unprecedented resources to maximize your experience on this planet while making an impact on the world through the process.

You are designed to wake up hungry for growth, thirsty for learning, and driven by purpose.

You’re designed to feel inspired.

You’re built to feel unstoppable.

This is an evolutionary reality. Things that are not ferociously driven to survive and thrive die off, or they are killed by things that are.

If you are reading this you have the capacity to upgrade your expectation for what you are capable of experiencing in this life and putting in the work to actualize that experience. This begins with clarity on the question at hand.

Take a few minutes to get clear on how you want to feel in your body and mind, then take the actions that make this possible.

Training is the process of developing the mind and body. Don’t forget to be the architect, not just the construction crew.

This two week training block will conclude Phase One of the Endurance Redefined program. After this phase we will getting ready to run more, lift more, and build more of the fitness qualities that will help you run a great race this July. We’ll be moving into this territory prepared from the work that we did in phase one. Challenges favor the prepared, and the Race for the Future is a powerful opportunity to challenge yourself to go the distance.

We will be working in 40 minute blocks for the next two weeks. The breathing prior to training and post training will remain the same. We’ve added two minutes to the 15/45 run cycle.

We’ve added in part one of our Antifragile Calf Matrix. We borrowed many of these drills from Dr. Pat Davidson’s incredible Athletic Weapon program and they’ve helped our runners build calves, Achilles’ tendons, and feet that don’t break when it’s time to tear them on the road, track, or trails.

Phase One. Week Three Training Plan. (Repeat this workout three times per week for the next two weeks. The workout will take approximately 40 minutes. We highly, highly encourage you to perform the strength training portion barefoot. Your feet are the foundation for your endurance. This is the time to train them!)

A.) Breathing (1 minute)

Technique Tips: Lie on your back with mouth closed. Reach your arms to the sky. Inhale through nose. Exhale through mouth. Feel your ribs draw down as you exhale. Without letting your ribs rise on the next inhale, work to direct air into chest and upper back. Make these areas EXPAND with your breath. On each exhale work to force a little more air out. Exhale until you feel your abs engage. Breathing is stretching from the inside. Remember this feeling of taking full, expansive breaths throughout your training session.

Warm up (3 minutes)

B.) 8 split stance calf raises each leg. 8 walking lunges or walking med ball slams. 4 per side lateral lunge.

Technique Tips. Calf Raise: Step one foot back. Find heel of front foot and ball of back foot. Reach forward and exhale ribs down. Elevate body vertically with calf raises. Walking Lunge: Allow femur to internally rotate and foot to pronate on forward leg as you step through the lunge. Reach with opposite arm for counterbalance. Lateral Lunge: Get light on your kickstand leg and heavy on your loaded leg. Foot arches as you lunge. Femur externally rotates. Foot flattens and stretches as you return to upright.Femur internally rotates.)

C.) Antifragile Calf Matrix. Ten pogo jumps, ten side jumps, ten shuttle steps in place, 10 march, 10 run in place, 10 sprints in place. Repeat 2 times. Stay springy, go only as fast as you can stay light and not tense up the entire body.

D.) As many rounds for quality as possible in 10minutes. (The goal is not to go racing out of the gate like a bat out of hell in some CrossFit workout. It is to be deliberate, feel what you’re doing, and master these movements without any set number of repetitions that you “have to” perform. It will be helpful to take note of how many rounds you are able to perform, only to mark your own progress in getting comfortable enough with these movements to cycle through them more efficiently. (10 minutes)

8 push-ups

8 foam roller goblet squats. We’re off of our toes and getting into some weight. Use a weight that you could conceivably do 3–5 more reps with on each set.

8 single leg RDL per side. Make the smallest weight increase possible while maintaining the nuances of the exercise. You should feel some serious glute activation in these!

8 rear foot elevated lunge per side. Light weight or unweighted to get a feel for the movement and focus on hip shifting.

Technique Tip:

Begin this exercise in the bottom position with one foot supported against a wall. When you shift your back hip to meet front hip you should feel inner thigh and glute on front leg engage. As you stand up, let your femur remain in line with your big toe and let the foot flatten slightly and stretch. Reverse this as you stand back up. Allow the foot to arch. Allow the femur to externally rotate.

E.) 15 sec hard/45 second easy run for 18 rounds. Maintain nasal breathing throughout. (18 minutes)

F.) Continue with the foam roller plank tabata on two of your three training days. Add in this side plank tabata on the alternate day.

No video for this one -but here’s a description. Place the soles of your feet against a wall, stacked on top of one another. Knees, hips, and shoulders should be stacked in alignment and squared off at ninety degrees. Place the hand closest to the ground at forty five degrees and press up onto your forearm, elevating your hips slightly off of the ground. Reach forward with your top hand and breathe into the space between your shoulder blades. Hold for 20 seconds, rest for ten, alternate from side to side for four minutes.

G.) This week we begin to add some simple upper body dumbbell cycles to end each workout. These will progress throughout the program. This first cycle is as follow:

3 rounds: 10 bicep curls, 10 lateral raises, 10 front raises.

Thank you for joining us at A Race for the Future on 7/24 as we work to share mental and physical fitness principles with the young people who are about to take the wheel of the future. We hope that your training over the next two weeks helps you feel prepared to take the running, lifting, and skill development to the next level as we intensify the program over the next 14 weeks until race day!

David

Unlisted

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Breathe To Perform

Breathe to Perform helps to improve health, fitness, and performance through better breathing. Professional development services for workplaces and teams.