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80/20 Endurance Blog


Do Big Workouts Make You Nervous?

By Matt Fitzgerald | August 16, 2021

Raise your hand if you’ve ever gotten nervous before a big workout. Whoa, that’s a lot of hands! I guess it’s a universal experience. Here’s another question: Why do big workouts make you nervous? Chances are it’s for one of two reasons: Either you fear the suffering you anticipate experiencing during the workout or you […]


New Study Finds Most Age-Group Triathletes Are Still Stuck in the Moderate-Intensity Rut

By Matt Fitzgerald | August 9, 2021

It’s been nearly a decade since I coined the term “moderate-intensity rut” in reference to the widespread habit among recreational endurance athletes of doing a plurality of their training at moderate intensity. At that time, very few athletes were even aware of the existence of the problem. But much has changed since then. The books […]

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Is It a Real Problem or a Measurement Problem?

By Matt Fitzgerald | August 2, 2021

A few months ago, “Kevin” posted a concern about his training in the 80/20 discussion forum. He explained that lately his heart rate had seemed rather high relative to his pace, and the VO2max estimates he got from his watch had dipped slightly. A newer runner, Kevin was becoming discouraged and beginning to doubt the […]


Leo Tolstoy: Honorary Endurance Coach

By David Warden | July 30, 2021

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina Inspiration can come from unexpected authority. My progress as an endurance coach is nothing extraordinary: a mix of formal and informal education with a reasonable amount of experience and luck. Occasionally, my coaching philosophy is disproportionally shaped […]

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Do You Suffer from Workout Myopia?

By Matt Fitzgerald | July 27, 2021

German-born Canadian spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now has sold more than three million copies. I know this because it says so right on the cover. In the book, Tolle encourages readers to “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.” If this advice sounds familiar, it’s because it is. […]


Heart Rate Variability

By Matt Fitzgerald | July 19, 2021

There are two kinds of endurance athlete: Those who don’t know what heart rate variability (HRV) is and those who are about to find out. For as long as hearts have existed, these vital organs have contracted at a slightly erratic tempo, and it is this slight play in rhythm that we measure as HRV. […]

athlete runner doing YOU training

On the Importance of “Doing You” As an Athlete

By Matt Fitzgerald | July 11, 2021

Every once in a while a podcast host will ask me to name my favorite writer or to recommend a book to listeners. It’s always an awkward moment for me because it all but forces me to admit that I don’t read many books about endurance sports. Almost none, in fact. To be clear, I […]


Avoid Bonking and GI Issues in Your Next Ultra by Guzzling Carbs

By Matt Fitzgerald | July 5, 2021

I’ve been rubbernecking lately at a Twitter debate between scientific experts on human metabolism and obesity, on one side, and keto diet advocates on the other. The spectacle is both entertaining and tedious, and also revealing. What I’ve realized in observing it is that even I knew nothing about human metabolism and obesity, I would […]

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Extended Mind, Sports Watch Dependency, and Pacing

By Matt Fitzgerald | June 28, 2021

In the 1990s, philosophers Andy Clark and David Chalmers introduced the concept of extended mind, which proposes that the acts of thinking and feeling do not occur entirely inside one’s head. If you’re not familiar with this concept, it might sound plumb crazy to you, but if you give it a chance, you’ll see it […]


Optimism Is Overrated

By Matt Fitzgerald | June 20, 2021

When things aren’t going your way in a race or during a training block, it is helpful to remind yourself how much worse things could be. A lot of athletes who engage in this mental exercise choose prisoners of war specifically for such perspective-shifting comparisons—folks like Admiral James Stockdale, the U.S. Navy Admiral who spent […]