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80/20 Blog

On the Importance of Starting Endurance Races with a Full Emotional Fuel Tank: My Black Canyon 100K Postmortem

By Matt Fitzgerald | February 17, 2020

During my flight from Oakland to Phoenix last Friday, a mantra for the following day’s Black Canyon 100K trail run came to me: Stay positive. I realized instantly that it was the perfect choice for the occasion because it made me feel more relaxed about the looming challenge.  I don’t really get anxious before big races […]

The Power of Low Expectations

By Matt Fitzgerald | February 10, 2020

As I write this, I’m just over a week out from the Black Canyon 100K, the longest running race I’ve ever attempted. My previous longest was a 50-miler that just about killed me. It’s fair to say that ultramarathons in general are not my strength. I think it’s because I land heavy. When I run […]

At What Point Do Long Runs Transition from Training to Punishment?

By Matt Fitzgerald | February 3, 2020

Rob Krar competes in—and often wins—100-mile ultramarathons. When training for these events, he never runs farther than 35 miles. From a purely mathematical standpoint, a 35-mile training run might seem like inadequate preparation for a 100-mile race. But there’s a reason Rob and other champion ultrarunners cap their training distance at or near 35 miles: […]

My Take on the Carbon-Plated Running Shoe Controversy

By Matt Fitzgerald | January 27, 2020

Last week a package was delivered to my front door. Inside it was a shoebox, and inside the shoebox was a pair of snazzy pink running shoes in size 11.5. Yes, they were Nike Vaporfly Next%’s, the footwear at the center of a raging controversy about what runners should and shouldn’t be allowed to wear […]

How to Deal with Race Day Cold Feet

By Matt Fitzgerald | January 20, 2020

We’re all familiar with the phenomenon of cold feet. You want something very badly until you’re on the brink of getting it, then suddenly you’re not so sure you want it anymore. Usually associated with nuptials, cold feet strike not only brides and grooms on their wedding day but also endurance athletes on race days. […]

There Should Be a Strava for Diet

By Matt Fitzgerald | January 14, 2020

I have too many ideas. I could write two books a year for the next 100 years and still not get around to writing all the books I have ideas for, let alone execute on my non-book-related ideas. I even have an idea for a book called 100 Books I’ll Never Write. Yeah, it’s that bad. […]

Endurance Racing as a Spiritual Experience

By Matt Fitzgerald | January 6, 2020

Eliud Kipchoge is known chiefly for two things: winning and breaking records. He has won eleven of the twelve marathons he’s raced (finishing second in the only one he didn’t win). In 2017, he made the first formal attempt to cover the marathon distance in less than two hours, shocking the running world by coming […]

The Official 2020 80/20 Endurance Holiday Reading List

By Matt Fitzgerald | December 16, 2019

Looking for a good endurance-related book to give to yourself or another endorphin junkie this holiday season? I’ve got you covered. Here are five such books I’ve read and enjoyed recently. I’m confident there’s at least one in here that you’ll enjoy also. Swim, Bike, Bonk: Confessions of a Reluctant Triathlete Will McGough Every triathlete […]

How to Get Better at Running by Not Trying

By Matt Fitzgerald | December 4, 2019

Recently my brother Josh sent me a link to a fascinating article in Quanta Magazine about neuroevolution, a subdiscipline within the field of artificial intelligence. Like other approaches to AI, neuroevolution is all about creating mathematical algorithms, but whereas traditional approaches attempt to create algorithms that solve problems efficiently, neuroevolution seeks to create algorithms that maximize novelty […]

Training, Diet, or Sleep: Which Is Most Important for Fitness and Performance?

By Matt Fitzgerald | November 27, 2019

In last week’s post, I addressed a fundamental question: What are the major objectives of an endurance athlete’s diet? In this post I would like to tackle an even more basic question, which I’ve already given away in the title. Namely: Which is most important for endurance fitness and performance—training, diet, or sleep? As you’re about […]