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80/20 Endurance Blog

Mental Toughness

The Trouble with Mental Toughness

By David Warden | March 6, 2021

At the February 1982 Ironman World Championship, Julie Moss had a comfortable lead with less than 2 miles remaining. Then her body began to shut down. Staggering and crawling, she dragged herself across the finish line, and into endurance sports lore. The broadcast of Moss’ determination on ABC’s Wide World of Sports has motivated thousands […]

Henry David Thoreau

That Coach Is Best Who Coaches Least

By Matt Fitzgerald | February 28, 2021

In his classic political manifesto Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau writes, “That government is best which governs least.” It’s an interesting idea. Thoreau does here not deny that government serves a necessary function, but he does contend that it performs this function best when it does the bare minimum for the citizens it serves and […]

No Hope

Improve Your Mental Game with the One-Month “No Hope” Challenge!

By Matt Fitzgerald | February 21, 2021

I once coached a runner, let’s call him Kevin, who used the word “easy” more often than any athlete other I’ve ever worked with. It was like some kind of verbal tic. He deployed the adjective at least once in almost every post-run comment he left on his online training calendar. Granted, “easy” has some […]

Matt Laughing all the way to finish line

Laughing All the Way to the Finish Line

By Matt Fitzgerald | February 15, 2021

Dear Dr. Young, The good news is I have heart disease . . . These are the actual first words of an email message I sent to my primary care physician a couple of weeks ago. I had just undergone an angiogram to determine the source of an abnormality seen in my EKG reading during […]

Excessive Training for Ironman Triathlon

A Lot of Triathletes Train Too Much During Ironman Prep

By Matt Fitzgerald | February 8, 2021

There is a consistent pattern in my coaching of endurance athletes that I wasn’t conscious of until quite recently. When I coach amateur runners for marathons, more often than not I increase their training volume relative to their past habits. But when I coach amateur triathletes for Ironman events, quite often I have them train […]

FeelBreathe

Will Respiratory Muscle Training Finally Catch On?

By Matt Fitzgerald | January 30, 2021

In last week’s post I discussed the idea that innovation in endurance training methods obeys the Law of Good Enough, as I call it. This simply means that elite coaches and athletes identify and adopt better training methods at a pace that is no faster than is necessary to succeed again existing performance standards. An […]

Sandor Iharos training

Why It’s Impossible for Your Training to Be Better Than “Good Enough”

By Matt Fitzgerald | January 23, 2021

I’m not a total science geek, but I do take an interest in certain scientific fields, including evolutionary biology. My brother Josh, who is a total science geek, being aware of my more casual interest, suggested recently that I check out a book called Good Enough: The Tolerance for Mediocrity in Nature and Society. Written […]

David Krakauer

May the Smartest Runner Win

By Matt Fitzgerald | January 16, 2021

A few years ago, New York Times writer Gretchen Reynolds penned an interesting article titled “Running as the Thinking Person’s Sport.” It focused on a then-recent study by neuroscientists at the University of Arizona in which it was shown that high-level distance runners had significantly higher levels of connectivity in certain parts of the brain […]

Maria Kang

What’s My Excuse?

By Matt Fitzgerald | January 10, 2021

In 2013, Maria Kang became an overnight sensation when a photograph that showed her posing underneath the caption “What’s your excuse?” clad in shorts and a sports bra, her chiseled abs bared, and her three young children surrounding her, went viral. The reaction was mostly negative, critics accusing Maria, an attractive 32-year-old with a well-toned […]

Callum Hawkins mental fitness

Is Mental Fitness Innate?

By Matt Fitzgerald | January 4, 2021

Callum Hawkins came into the 2018 Commonwealth Games Marathon in Australia with high expectations. Having set a national record of 1:00:00 for the half marathon and finished fourth in the World Championship Marathon the prior year, the 25-year-old Scotsman was supremely confident in his ability to claim a gold medal for his small, proud country. […]