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80/20 Endurance Blog

A Case for Treating Your Next Big Race as the Most Important Thing in the World

By Matt Fitzgerald | January 2, 2019

Recently my brother Josh sent me a link to an article on the John Templeton Foundation website that I found quite interesting. Titled “Sanctifying Everyday Difficulties: Motivational Consequences of Sanctifying Difficult Experiences,” it concerned the work of Daphna Oyserman, a professor of psychology at USC. Oyserman has spent a number of years studying ways in […]

How Will Endurance Athletes Train 50 Years from Now?

By Matt Fitzgerald | December 24, 2018

One hundred years ago, Scandinavian athletes dominated elite distance running. They trained rather differently from today’s elite runners. Hannes Kolehmainen is a good example. His primary fitness activity during the long Finnish winters was cross-country skiing, and even in the summer he did more walking than running. He was, however, among the first elite runners […]

Just Because Something Works Doesn’t Mean Something Else Wouldn’t Work Better

By Matt Fitzgerald | December 17, 2018

Imagine you are completely sedentary and you have been for some time. Then one day you decide to train for a 10K running event. The specific training method you choose is Yoga—30 minutes a day, six days a week. To assess the effectiveness of this program, you actually do a 10K before you start on […]

What Would Spock Do?

By Matt Fitzgerald | December 10, 2018

Lieutenant Commander Spock is one of the most iconic nonhuman (well, technically half-human) characters in television history. When I watched Star Trek as a child, my understanding was that Spock’s lack of emotion made him really smart. I’m not sure if this was Gene Roddenberry’s actual intent in creating the character, but regardless, my impressionable young […]

no excuses

Make 2019 Your Year of No Excuses

By Matt Fitzgerald | December 3, 2018

Recently in this space I wrote about a study in which French researchers looked for associations between “psychosocial factors” and the likelihood of failing to complete a 140-km ultramarathon. My focus then was the finding that runners who scored high on measures of self-efficacy were more likely to reach the finish line. What I did […]

Book Review: Inside a Marathon

By Matt Fitzgerald | November 26, 2018

On October 3, 2018, runnerworld.com published an article titled, “Galen Rupp: American Record Could Go Down in Chicago.” In its ninth paragraph, after providing some background on the existing American record for the marathon and Rupp’s buildup to the 2018 Chicago Marathon, writer Sarah Lorge Butler hedged, “To be clear, Rupp says, he’d rather win […]

I’ve Got Your 2019 New Year’s Resolution

By Matt Fitzgerald | November 19, 2018

I came home from my time with the Northern Arizona Elite professional running team last summer convinced that every serious athlete should carve out a little time each day for what I will loosely classify as physical therapy. I’m talking about foam rolling, mobility exercises, and other activities that help put the musculoskeletal system in […]

Mental Predictors of Physical Performance

By Matt Fitzgerald | November 12, 2018

Every endurance athlete is familiar with the idea that certain physiological tests can be used to predict endurance performance. For example, the classic VO2max test is a very reliable way to assess how well an athlete is likely to do in a race or time trial. Other examples are the Wingate test and a simple […]

my first ironman training in 17 yrears

Coaching the Coach: How I’m Training for My First Ironman in 17 Years

By Matt Fitzgerald | November 5, 2018

My 2010 book RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel includes a chapter titled “Winging It” in which I advocate—for experienced athletes only—the practice of training without a formal plan. I don’t go as far as to recommend that athletes completely make up their training as they go along. Rather, I suggest they establish certain […]

The Two Words That Best Describe an Effective Training Program

By Matt Fitzgerald | October 29, 2018

“Hard fun.” In my opinion, this two-word phrase constitutes the ideal description of an endurance training program that’s really working. As a coach, I can’t think of anything I would rather hear an athlete say in response to the question, “How would you describe your experience of the current training segment?” than “Hard fun.” Why? […]

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