Shoe vs. Training: Create Your Body's Natural CARBON PLATE

The carbon plate has become the star of the Olympic Trial build up and all of the rage in shoes these days. For good reason as it increases propulsion and energy return.

The idea behind the plate AND the new innovative mid sole foam is to create more STIFFNESS that creates more energy return. Just like our muscles, tendons, and ligaments are meant to coil energy and then release it - elastic energy!

Stiffness, tightness, force production, all of this is necessary to improve run performance AND for heathly, strong longevity in the sport.

Here is my "DON'T DO THIS, DO THIS" list to help train this way:

-> DON'T underestimate how crucial it is to train the feet. They are your foundation of stability, force production, power, and energy return.

DO train your feet as YOUR MAIN focus of strength. You are only as strong as your feet.  For those of you who have my book, The Cool Impossible, you know how potent my foot strength program is.

Using the FREO Slant Board trains the feet to engage the big toe and arch, which in turn activates the calves for superior muscle elasticity - or your body's own CARBON PLATE. HOW we train the feet, dictates how we fire our muscles and create stability at our knee and glutes/hips. And this is the holy grail for running performance and health.


-> DON'T rely on gravity or leaning when running.

DO focus on providing force into the ground to propel yourself forward.


-> DON'T continue to rely on stretching and group classes that focus on hyper mobility that deflates elastic energy, stability and strength.

DO focus on power metric drills to create more force, elastic return, and stiffness to improve health and speed.


-> DON'T focus on developing strength in the gym thru heavy and slow lifting or high rep, low weight.

DO focus on developing proper run strength by doing power metric drills, short, fast sprints, eccentric and isometric training.


-> DON'T stop focusing on foot strike and resist that their is a proper way to run.

DO be patient when transitioning to a forefoot to heel strike technique. How we use our feet and strike the ground dictates everything.


-> DON'T consistently rely on tempo and long easy runs for ongoing improvement. This is no different than relying on the above gym strength.

DO incorporate short sprints, short uphill AND downhill intervals, and VO2max workouts, regardless of the type of runner you are.


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Comment by Andriy Blokhin on October 18, 2020 at 11:24am

Thank you, Eric.

Comment by Eric Orton on October 18, 2020 at 10:28am

Hey there Andriy -

5-6 X 3-4 minute intervals at your VO2max velocity tend to be the best workouts. This would be your SP Zone 6 in the Cool Impossible speed chart.

And with this, be sure to get equal rest (3-4 min) between each.

Hope that helps.

Comment by Andriy Blokhin on October 10, 2020 at 7:07am

Eric, thank you for your highly educational posts! What kind of VO2max workout would you recommend doing? 

Comment by Eric Orton on August 25, 2020 at 1:57pm

Hey Brad - I always do the upper body ball work, year round and continue to find creative ways to make it more challenging by reducing/adding speed of movement. Altering rest intervals, etc.

Throughout the year, I will phase in push ups during busy times or when I am traveling. 

I also strength train for climbing, with a lot of campusing and bouldering type of training on my home climbing wall.

Comment by Eric Orton on August 25, 2020 at 1:51pm

Hey Ben - the two drill videos are very different. The power metrics are a library of drills I use with my athletes to help with form, speed, coordination, elasticity, etc.

Where as the Eccentric/Isometric drills are specifically that, designed to improve eccentric and isometric abilities, which in turn help with ground contact time, force generation and reaction, cadence, etc.

All of these go into helping speed, strength, and everything needed for improved running, they are just for different purposes to meet that end result.

And these are meant to go hand in hand with the potent foot/leg exercises in the book. Everything works together. However, I would give priority to foot strength first, to develop the foundation and then work into drills, based on what you have time for.

I always hav my athlete do the foot program year round, and phase in drills of this natural based on the athlete and where we are in the program/year.

Hope that helps - E

Comment by Ben Lynch on August 24, 2020 at 7:45pm

Great Post. Two questions please.

I have had a look at the videos for the "power metric drills" and "eccentric and isometric training drills" . These both look very similar, is one a better version of the other or do they target different things?

How does ths fit with the the lower body strength training exercises in the book  (Swiss ball lunges etc). Are the above videos better or  replacement?

Comment by Bradford Gantt on August 24, 2020 at 6:42pm

Thanks for this, Eric. It makes complete sense and doing your foot strength (and ball) training from TCI has been super helpful for me. Makes a huge difference on the trails. Do you ever supplement these with upper body pulling or any other movements, or are these enough for total body strength. Thanks!

Foot Core

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