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80/20 Endurance Blog

Advancing in Another Direction: The Difference Between Retreat and Defeat

By Matt Fitzgerald | July 20, 2022

In late November 1950, at the height of the Korean War, United Nations troops under the command of Major General Oliver Smith were encircled and attacked near the Chosin Reservoir by a vastly larger Chinese force. Facing total annihilation if they tried to hold their ground, Smith’s men instead executed a fighting withdrawal, puncturing the […]

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Is Lactate Measurement Essential for Endurance Training Optimization?

By Matt Fitzgerald | July 12, 2022

Lactate is having a moment. Our metabolite du jour owes its newfound celebrity largely to the hoopla surrounding the recent success of certain elite Norwegian endurance athletes, most notably triathlete Kristian Blummenfelt, who won the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Men’s Triathlon (held in 2021) and the 2021 Ironman World Championship (held in 2022), and who holds […]

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A Zone By Any Other Name Would Be Complete

By David Warden | April 10, 2022

I recently had an e-mail exchange with an athlete regarding training intensity zones. He wanted to know how he could merge the industry standard Zone 1 definition of 50-65% of maximum heart rate into the 80/20 Endurance zones. This was news to me, because after more than thirty years participating in endurance sports this was […]

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Art Versus Science in Coaching

By Matt Fitzgerald | April 5, 2022

“These other young coaches have their science blah blah but they are not as successful.” —Coach Hailye, Out of Thin Air There’s an endurance coach I follow on Twitter who tweets a lot. We’ll call him Dick Smart. I find him quite impressive on one level. A real numbers guy, he knows more about using […]

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Coaching Mastery

By Matt Fitzgerald | March 27, 2022

What is the job of a coach? At the most basic level, it is to help athletes achieve their goals. Sounds reasonable, no? But the problem with this definition of the coach’s role is that it treats athletes’ goals as givens—as things that athletes come up with on their own and bring to coaches for […]

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Book Review: Scientific Training for Endurance Athletes

By Matt Fitzgerald | March 22, 2022

When I was a younger man I used to shake my head in pity when reading the writings of endurance sports experts of a certain age. They tended to repeat the same things over and over, evidently because they had nothing new to say. Because they hadn’t learned anything new about their field of expertise […]

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Let’s Clear Up the Irrational Thinking Surrounding Fasted Workouts

By Matt Fitzgerald | March 15, 2022

Among the benefits of traveling internationally is that it gives you a different perspective on your own country. For example, in 2015 I spent two weeks in Kenya conducting research for my book The Endurance Diet, and it was there that I came to fully appreciate how screwed up America’s relationship with food is. As […]

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Training with a “Whatever Works” Mindset

By Matt Fitzgerald | March 8, 2022

In a recent blog post I mentioned that highly successful endurance athletes have a “whatever works” mindset. Today I’d like to expand on this concept and contrast it with a phenomenon that I call means attachment, which is common among less successful athletes. As the name suggests, means attachment entails becoming attached to particular means […]

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In Defense of Not Crying

By Matt Fitzgerald | February 25, 2022

When I was fourteen years old I suffered a catastrophic knee injury during a soccer game. I didn’t even know what an ACL was until the orthopedic surgeon who patched me up (sounding more impressed than sympathetic) explained that I had torn mine clean off the bone. What I did know, well before I received […]

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All About (Intensity) Balance

By Matt Fitzgerald | February 22, 2022

Billy Sperlich is one of the world’s leading experts in the area of training intensity distribution (TID) in endurance sports. I’ve often cited his research, which he conducts out of the University of Würzburg, in my books, articles, and blog posts. Recently, Sperlich released a series of eleven tweets summarizing the “experiences and takeaways” he’s […]

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