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80/20 Endurance Blog

Obsessive Lactate Measurement Is NOT The Reason Norwegian Endurance Athletes Are Winning

By Matt Fitzgerald | June 20, 2023

There’s a phenomenon that armchair psychologists refer to as shiny object syndrome. You won’t find it mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (at least I hope you won’t), but its existence is widely acknowledged among lay observers of human nature. According to a Wikipedia writeup, “Shiny object syndrome is the situation […]

Ego Death and Athlete Coaching

By Matt Fitzgerald | May 24, 2023

Every once in a while, an athlete I’m coaching will confront me with information that they’ve obtained from another source and that (at least in their perception) challenges what I’ve told them or what I’m doing with them. For example, an athlete might say to me, “You always have me do some work at higher […]

What Are You Afraid Of?

By Matt Fitzgerald | May 8, 2023

I have a vivid memory of sitting in trigonometry class on a Thursday afternoon in the fall of my junior year of high school, sick with fear. I mean this literally. The fear was centered in my stomach, agitating my recently eaten lunch with such violence that I felt queasy. It wasn’t, I should say, […]

Separating Want from Need in Training and Racing

By Matt Fitzgerald | May 1, 2023

You want perfect weather conditions for your half-marathon PR attempt on Sunday. But do you actually need perfect weather conditions? You want to beat your average pace from your last tempo run in today’s tempo run. But do you really need to beat it? You want to avoid niggles and minor illnesses in the remaining […]

Is Impatience Holding You Back as An Athlete?

By Matt Fitzgerald | April 18, 2023

A while back I wrote a piece titled, “If It’s Not Hard, It’s Not Hard Enough.” In it, I addressed the irony that people become endurance athletes because they want to do something hard, but many of them freak out when they discover that achieving their goals is harder than expected. In essence, they want […]

There’s No Such Thing as a Self-Coached Athlete

By Matt Fitzgerald | April 12, 2023

I learned recently that only 9 percent of triathletes have a coach. This struck me as a very small number—until I learned that just 5 percent of runners have a coach. Now, I’m no mathematician, but I think this means that 91 percent of triathletes and 95 percent of runners are self-coached. Or does it? […]

Yes, But How Do You Feel? More Evidence That Subjective Training Metrics Have More Value Than Objective Metrics

By Matt Fitzgerald | March 31, 2023

Everything changed when the stethoscope was invented. Credit Rene Laennec, the 18th-Century French physician and flautist who invented this revolutionary device. Laennec liked to carve his own flutes out of wood, and it was these musical instruments that gave him the inspiration for the medical instrument that has become a symbol of the entire medical […]

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

By Matt Fitzgerald | March 24, 2023

In my late teens and early twenties I was a meathead, visiting the gym several times a week to toss around heavy things. At some point during this period I developed a hypothesis that there are both relative and absolute components to how weightlifters perceive resistance. Suppose you are able to bench press 200 pounds, […]

Endurance Training Is Like a Veal Cutlet

By Matt Fitzgerald | March 21, 2023

“Believe in your system, and then sell it to your players.” —Billy Donovan I love the above quote from basketball coach Billy Donovan. Like Donovan, I believe that athletes perform better when they understand and believe in their system of preparation. The very same system will yield very different results depending on whether it is […]

Why I Never Have and Never Will Listen to Andrew Huberman’s Podcast

By Matt Fitzgerald | March 13, 2023

Back in 1999 I attended a party in San Diego where a guy who had just seen and loved the film The Matrix made it his life’s mission for 20 or 30 long minutes to convince me to see it also. It was a tall task, as movies of the sci-fi/action genre bore me to tears, […]

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