For some athletes, adopting the 80/20 training method comes as a bit of a shock. (“I have to go how slow to stay in Zone 2?!”) But those who trust the program and stick with it are always rewarded.
Lindt de la Port is one such athlete. The 39-year-old South African had been running marathons and ultras for nearly a decade when, frustrated by injuries, he decided to give 80/20 a try. “It was a big adjustment at first,” he says. “A lot of walking and awfully slow runs. But, he adds, “I could see the gradual improvement in pace and my body never felt tired or sore.”
At the time, Lindt had a marathon PB of 3:09, which he doubted he would ever improve upon. After a few months of 80/20 training, however, he felt confident that he could not only lower his time but take a shot at breaking 3:00. And he did just that, clocking 2:56:51 in a virtual race hosted by the organizers of the Comrades Marathon. “My last km was my fastest (3:38) and I could have gone another 10 km at my average pace,” he says. “My body just felt incredible.”
When asked what advice he would offer other athletes considering slowing down to get faster, Lindt answers, “Patience,” noting that his average training pace dropped from 7:05 to 4:37 per km between August 2019 and May of this year. “Trust the program and trust the process,” he counsels, “and if you are insecure about running too slow, put your Strava on private!”