Applied Science Part 5: Enter Hermes, Running Loading
Updated: Apr 20
If you’ve been following this blog series, you know the mission of StratFit (strategic fitness); the titanic quest to create an enter system of technoscience for physical training.
So far, I have detailed how to throw the Atlantean gridwork over the training-competition process of the realm of Kratos, the world of strength sports: competitive Weightlifting, Powerlifting, and Bodybuilding.
However, the world of physical training is not entirely under the dominion of the titan of strength and power. The Olympian god Hermes also reigns over part of the world of performance: speed, endurance, and running in particular. In this work, I will detail how to expand the concept of the Actual Training Load into the realm of Hermes, which I present as Body Across Terrain (BAT) action.
Combat sports athletes, bat-and-ball players, military/police service people, and others face challenges in the field that require strength, power, speed, and endurance in varying proportions. Many athletes combine barbell and BAT training in their programs to prepare for the physiological demand variability their disciplines require. Clearly, the next step in our titanic mission is to expand Atlas’ grid so that it will envelop Hermes’ world of speed and endurance.
By the end of this installment, the Atlantean work of StratFit will reveal the synchronicities between the training realms of Kratos and Hermes. This revelation is a monumental step in perfecting the art of cross-training. For success in battle, the combatants require abilities and attributes across the physiological ability spectrum, from speed to power to strength to muscular endurance. By enframing the entire world of cross-training, we blaze the trail to the peak of Olympus for combat sports athletes. We place the coaches of these warrior arts in the seat of Zeus and give them a god’s eye view of the entire process of the true sons of Ares of the modern age.
Body Across Terrain
Body Across Terrain (BAT) refers to training that consists of the athlete cyclically moving their body some distance, including running, climbing, cycling, and swimming. The terrain can be standard, such as a track or indoor climbing wall, or irregular, like trails or mountain faces.
BAT training traverses the physiological ability spectrum from maximal speed (sprinting) to maximal endurance (marathon). Climbing is a direct application of pure Muscular Endurance.
I present the term “Body Across Terrain” because it is a more comprehensive conceptual framework than the current terminology for this type of training. Most literature conceives of running and climbing as two categorically different actions, while in reality, they lie on opposite ends of the same spectrum. Pure running occurs on an absolutely horizontal (0 degree) plane, while pure climbing occurs on a pure vertical (90 degree) face. All running against an inclination lies on the spectrum between horizontal running and vertical climbing. Once terrain inclination reaches a certain degree, incline running becomes crawling; at further degrees of inclination, the hands must use holds for the athlete to move further, and crawling becomes climbing.
The “Body Across Terrain” training is a comprehensive concept for this spectrum of movement. This blog will focus on standard horizontal running since it is the main application of BAT action. My white paper on BAT loading has full detail on inclined running and climbing. I will deal with cycling and swimming in a future work.
Just as I turned to the sons of Kratos (Weightlifting and Powerlifting world record holders in the super heavyweight division) concerning barbell work, I first turned to the direct descendants of Hermes to understand the metrics of BAT action. Hermes’ speed and endurance are the metaphysical equivalents of Kratos’ strength and power, so running world records are the act-ual Hermetic equivalents to the Kratoic super heavyweight world records in competitive lifting. To begin integrating BAT action into the mathematical loading framework, I employed the same process I used for barbell action.
To understand BAT performance, I used the records of all competitive running activities, from the 100 Meter Dash (maximum human speed) to the 100-mile run (maximum human endurance).
Integration of BAT training into the Actual Loading system requires the same three variables as barbell actions-
Training Amount (reps)
The Spatial Form Stress Factor
To begin this work, I first turned to the most outstanding human performance in recorded history concerning speed: Usain Bolt’s World Record 9.58 second 100 Meter Dash.
I logically landed on Bolt’s performance as the point of departure for the applied science of BAT training for the same reason I did so with the super heavyweight world record holders of weightlifting and powerlifting for power and strength training. I had the aesthetic idea that the world record or best performance in the history of an event or art represents something both essential and absolute about that discipline for the whole of humanity. Only the very best of something can reveal the absolute, fully spectral truth about the thing in question.
If we want to know about sculpture, we look to Michelangelo's David. When we want to know about the art of painting, we look to Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
To understand the essence and absoluteness of power, we look to Lasha Talakhadze’s Snatch, of Force to Benedikt Magnússon’s Deadlift. So in our Atlantean task to understand the essence of speed and running, we look to Usain Bolt’s literal lightning bolt of a 100-meter dash.
A Running Rep
Running coaches do not usually describe/prescribe running training/competitive amounts in reps like lifting; this is due to the cyclic rather than acyclic nature of the movement of running. Coaches always have and will always prescribe running (and all BAT training) as distances (meters-kilometers or yards-miles). But to use the StratFit Actual Loading equation, we need a number of reps for a training unit as well as the intensity of the unit. To turn a distance prescription into a standard number of “reps,” we must determine a distance that can be definitive as a universal BAT “rep.”
We don’t have to normalize a distance for lifting reps because lifting activities are not done for standard distances. Lifting meets are done for a certain number of spatial-form actions; there is no distance prescription. Taller lifters will always have to move the bar farther than shorter ones. With running and all BAT sports, competitions are structured into standard distances (100 M, 200 M, 42 KM: Marathon, etc.), which contain many “reps” in a single action/activity; since these distances are standardized for all athletes, it is also necessary to normalize the rep distance for all.
Usain Bolt is the most outstanding athlete in recorded history in terms of running speed (we could say he manifests Hermes’ speed in the act-ual realm). For this reason, I had the idea that his stride distance could be a universal running “rep” distance. This idea grew out of the broader aesthetic concept I just mentioned, that the best of something reveals the essence of that thing. Using Bolt’s stride length as a universal running “rep” will uncover many training/competitive loading synchronicities between serious running and lifting training, validating my aesthetic intuition.
Usain Bolt’s average stride length in the 100 M dash was 2.7 meters. I will use this as the rep distance for all calculations. With this, we can break all standard distances into amounts of reps. The following table has the rep amounts for some standard competition distances.
We can now divide any distance by 2.7 M and determine the number of reps for all BAT (running and climbing) actions/activities. So we now have the amount quantity for the Abstract Internal Load equation. The next step is to determine the intensity of running activities.
The Weight lifted (commonly simplified to MASS: Kilograms or Pounds) relative to a one-rep maximum determines the intensity of barbell and dumbbell actions/activities. Essentially, the Force is the determinant quantity. For running, the determinant is speed.
Running intensity is the speed (meters per second) of the action/activity, divided by the athlete’s maximum running speed. As I did elsewhere, we will turn to the world records for all standard distances to determine the (estimated) running intensity with which an athlete can apply in that distance.
To compare the spatial forms of competitive lifting to each other (to understand how each affects any particular athlete in terms of loading), we imagined that all super heavyweight world records were done by one super-human being. This being would be the imaginary exemplar of power and strength; Kratos.
We will employ this same imaginative process for running; we will imagine that all world records for distances from the 100-meter dash to a full marathon as being performed by a single super-human being in terms of speed and endurance, an imaginary Hermes.
Naturally, Usain Bolt’s physiological attributes/abilities are quantitatively and qualitatively very different from those of Eliud Kipchoge (marathon world record-holder). Bolt possesses the aspect of Hermes's extreme speed and running power, while Kipchoge has the endurance aspect of the Olympian god. My purpose in this work isn’t to determine the specific adaptational training effects of or the critical physiological attributes required for success in various running distances and intensities. The goal is to integrate all running into the broader loading scheme so that we can intelligently prescribe any distances and intensities in long-term cross-training programs.
To determine the running intensity of a standard distance, we divide the average meter per second of the world record for that distance by 10.44 MPS, the average speed of Bolt’s 100 M dash. This process will provide the ideal intensity for that distance for any athlete of any training level. The table below shows the running distance, record holder, time, MPS, and average ideal intensity for the world records of all standard distances.
Bolt holds the record in both the 100 and 200-meter races, and his speed in both was nearly the same, so we call those the 99% percent intensity distances (recall that we have to use 99% rather than 100% in the loading equation to receive rational values). When I began the spreadsheet experiments I realized that 99% intensity was returning loading values that weren't aligning with real-world praxis. Since 98% is still considered maximal according to both Naglak and Farfel's intensity zone tables I placed 98% in the equations for runs under 200 meters and found that this returned loads that perfectly aligned with real-world prescriptions of expert running coaches. For our system, we will use 98% for any running prescriptions under 200 meters. We now have the intensity and reps for all standard distances to determine the Abstract Internal Training Loads. The results are in the table below.
When prescribing any of these distances in training the corresponding intensity in the table is the maximum possible intensity for that distance. If a coach instructs his/her athlete to complete the distance as fast as possible, the intensity in the table will be the approximate intensity. Although it is approximate this procedure is extremely useful for laying out long-term programs.
Just as with lifting, these Abstract Running Loads are just that, abstract. To act-ualize them, we must determine the Spatial Form Stress Factor for running. In part four, I detailed how to determine the stress factor for a rep of each lifting spatial form. I followed the same logic for running. Since I used Usain Bolt’s stride (2.7 m) length in his 100 Meter dash world record as a universal running rep, I used this same rep to determine the three necessary quantities of the spatial form stress factor: Work (Newton Meter), Time Under Tension (Newton Seconds), and Power (Watts). To determine these quantities, I took account of some different variables (compared to lifting), such as contact time (of Bolt’s foot and the track) and Ground Reaction Force. The full complexity of the process can be viewed here.
Just as with the lifting spatial forms, I summed the Newtown Meter, NS, and Watts of a single stride in Bolts 100-meter dash to determine the stress factor quantity sum for running. The result is in the table below.
To make the running quantity sum relevant for Actual Internal Training Load calculations, we must relate it mathematically to Prilepin's Table, as was done the for the major lifts. Prilepin’s table was the point of departure for the whole loading system.
Since Prilepin's table came from an extensive study of elite-level Weightlifting, so the average of the physics quantity sums of the Snatch and the Clean is a Stress Factor equivalent to 1. I divided the running quantity sum by the Snatch-Clean average value (from the super heavyweight world records) to arrive at the running Spatial Form Stress Factor. The result is below.
With the running spatial form stress factor in hand, we can now determine the Actual Internal Training Loads of the standard running distances. I included an abstract 0.14 warmup load for all activities (as I did for lifting activities in the first paper) for rigor. The results are in the table below.
We can now place the actual internal running loads into a table with lifting loads. This operation reveals some interesting correspondences between these Olympian and titanic worlds. The results are in the table below.
Various Actual Training Loads- White: Training, Light Blue: Sprinting, Purple: Weightlifting, Red: Powerlifting, Yellow: Endurance Running. All examples include a 0.14 abstract load for the warm-up.
There are some fascinating observations to be made from the table. Note that the Load (2.95) of a 15 Kilometer run (36% of a full Marathon distance) is very close (only a 0.09 difference) to the previously established Medium lifting session load (3.03). This finding is consistent with expert praxis in the world of Hermes, where 14.4-19.2 kilometers is considered a standard marathon runner's medium session.
I calculated the Load from what sprintingworkouts.com considered a large speed-endurance load (a high-amount sprinting workout). I considered the warm-up to be a 0.14 abstract load as I did with all other activities, and applied the loading equations to the prescribed main runs: 1 * 200 M, 1 * 180, 1 * 150, 1 * 120 (All runs are =<200 M, so all intensities are 98%). The actual Load came to 3.62; the difference between this and the previously established large (lifting) session load (3.74) is only 0.12.
The Actual Load (4.18) of a half marathon (21 KM) lies just about right between the established loads of a large session (3.74) and a large training day (4.52); it is 0.44 greater than a large session and 0.34 less than a large day. A 30-kilometer run load (5.38) is very close to the established very-large training day load (5.23), a difference of only 0.15.
Perhaps the most interesting synchronicity of the realms of Kratos and Hermes is found between a Full Marathon and a Powerlifting meet with the Strict Curl. The Marathon comes to a 7.6 actual load, while the meet comes to 7.9, a difference of only 0.3; this shows close synchronicity between the sport of Maximum Strength and the sport of Maximum Endurance that was previously unknown.
As mentioned earlier, my second white paper also details how to integrate other forms of Body Across Terrain training into the loading system, including climbing and inclined running. Coaches and athletes interested in the details should check it out.
We have now brought the dominions of Kratos and Hermes under the titanic purview of lord Atlas. The amalgamation of the worlds of strength and power with speed and endurance in the act-ual loading system naturally expands the Atlantean grid over the realm of Ares: cross-training for competitive combat. Strength & Conditioning coaches can use the all-encompassing loading system to calculate, organize, and prescribe cross-training loads for Boxing, MMA, Grappling, and bat-and-ball sports athletes. The system will also help lifters integrate running for general physical preparedness into their programs and vice-versa for runners.
Integration of BAT training into the world of Strategic Fitness has taken us one more monumental step on our titanic purpose.