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80/20 Endurance Blog

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 […]

Why I Eat Pretty Much the Same at 47 As I Did at 32

By Matt Fitzgerald | July 2, 2018

Recently I was invited to comment on the standard breakfast menus of several top ultrarunners for an article published on the REI Co-op Journal. Most of the seven athletes who were represented consumed fairly standard high-carbohydrate fare such as oatmeal, cold cereal, and toast for their first meal of the day. The one exception was […]

Making Periodization Intuitive

By Matt Fitzgerald | June 25, 2018

The term periodization refers to the practice of dividing the training process into distinct phases, each of which is defined by a specific purpose and made up of workouts that are intended to fulfill its purpose. Simply put, an athlete who practices periodization does different things at different points in the training cycle, whereas an athlete […]

The Goal of Becoming a Better Runner is Highly Compatible with the Goal of Becoming a Better Person

By Matt Fitzgerald | June 18, 2018

The apprehension runners feel before a race and the suffering they experience during a race constitute a sort of crisis state—a special kind of crisis state that is actively chosen by the runner. Like other crisis states, this one tends to bring one’s personal weaknesses to the fore. If a runner’s mind lets him down […]

How to Set a Good Race Time Goal

By Matt Fitzgerald | June 11, 2018

Many of the posts I write for this blog are inspired by athlete FAQ’s. Well, this is another one. And, quite honestly, I’m note sure why it has taken me so long to write it, because it answers one of the top three most frequently asked questions I get from runners who either have read […]

When Is It Helpful to Think about Running While You’re Running?

By Matt Fitzgerald | June 5, 2018

Basketball players shoot free throws more accurately when they focus on the back rim rather than on the action of their wrist. Weightlifters squat more weight when they think about pushing the floor away with their feet than when they concentrate on contracting their muscles. And runners run more economically when they focus on the […]

How to Avoid the Moderate-Intensity Rut as a Trail Runner

By Matt Fitzgerald | May 29, 2018

Trail running is becoming more and more popular—statistics say so. But I don’t need statistics to know that increasing numbers of runners are taking to the trails. I can tell by the emails I receive from advice-seeking athletes, a rising percentage of which are sent by trail runners. The question that is most frequently asked […]

“You Are Not a Watch” (A Lesson in Pacing)

By Matt Fitzgerald | May 21, 2018

In the context of endurance racing, pacing can be defined as the skill of distributing one’s effort across a defined distance in such a way that the distance is covered in the least amount of time possible. Although the body does the visible work in any kind of endurance race, the skill of pacing is […]

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