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80/20 Endurance Blog

Is Periodization Overrated?

By Matt Fitzgerald | September 17, 2018

An interesting new study by researchers at the University of Western Australia investigated the effects of periodization in the training of runners. Periodization is the practice of sequencing workouts in such a way as to maximize fitness for a race of a particular distance on a specific future date. There are different philosophies and methods […]

8020 Triathlon book by Matt Fitzgerald and David Warden

80/20 Triathlon Is Here!

By Matt Fitzgerald | September 3, 2018

Several years ago I got an idea for a book called A High-Mileage Manifesto. The title pretty much says it all: It was intended to be a hard sell for high-volume run training and an antidote to things like CrossFit Endurance and Run Less, Run Faster, which were leading so many athletes down the wrong […]

A Message to Endurance Athletes Who Worry a Lot about Calories

By Matt Fitzgerald | August 27, 2018

I deal with a lot of athletes—mainly women—who worry a lot about calories. In particular, they worry about eating too much. As athletes, they fear that eating too much will negatively affect their performance. But they also fret about how eating too much will affect their appearance. Most of these athletes fail to cognitively distinguish […]

exhaustion after painful workouts

What Role Do Incredibly Painful Workouts Have in Endurance Training?

By Matt Fitzgerald | August 20, 2018

It is a proven fact that individual pain tolerance predicts endurance performance. Given two athletes with identical physical traits, the one with a higher pain tolerance will likely outperform the other in competition. It is also a proven fact that pain tolerance is trainable. Exposure to pain tends to increase pain tolerance. The practical implication […]

Why I Encourage Athletes to Be Hard on Themselves

By Matt Fitzgerald | August 13, 2018

The conditions for this year’s Boston Marathon were famously brutal, claiming many victims among the race’s 27,000 participants. Among them was professional runner Kellyn Taylor, who dropped out at 20K with symptoms of hypothermia. In a tweet posted later that day, Kellyn wrote, “I wonder if I just wasn’t tough enough to weather the storm.” […]

impossible to possible

Why I Never Use the Word “Impossible” with Athletes I Coach

By Matt Fitzgerald | August 6, 2018

Quite often, athletes I coach ask me questions like, “Do you think I could qualify for Boston?” or “Am I kidding myself to think I might still be able to PR at my age?” My answer to these questions is always some version of the following: “You won’t hear me say you can’t. Obviously, we […]

Train As the Athlete You Are Today, Not As the Athlete You Hope to Be on Race Day

By Matt Fitzgerald | July 30, 2018

I’m currently coaching a runner, we’ll call in Dylan, who’s training for the Berlin Marathon. Recently he asked me why I’ve had him run his recent marathon-pace efforts at 6:51 per mile (2:59 marathon pace) when he hopes and (more or less) expects to run closer to 2:50 in Berlin. His concern was that I […]

Are You Uncoachable?

By Matt Fitzgerald | July 23, 2018

The best teacher I ever had was a sociology professor at Haverford College named Mark Gould. I’ll never forget the first day of the first class I took with him. He basically spent 90 minutes scaring the shit out of the two-dozen 18- and 19-year-old students in the room. He handed out a syllabus featuring […]

Why Endurance Training Can’t Be Reduced to a Formula

By Matt Fitzgerald | July 16, 2018

Recently I tested a prototype of a wearable device that is intended to help runners monitor and control the intensity of their runs. During my back-and-forth email communications with the product’s lead developer, he sent me a link to a study titled “Intensity- and Duration-Based Options to Regulate Endurance Training.” The abstract began as follows: […]

The Human Body Is Not a Smartphone

By Matt Fitzgerald | July 9, 2018

Last week I received an email message from Dawn, a runner who had just purchased The Runner’s Diary, a book I authored back in 2008. Maybe “book” isn’t the right word. As the title suggests, it’s mainly just a training log, but it does offer some training and nutrition tips. Dawn told me that, although […]