Running – 80/20 Endurance

Running

What’s the Key to Avoiding Injuries? Keep the Ball Rolling.

By Matt Fitzgerald / June 6, 2020 / 0 Comments

Injuries are the bane of the runner’s life. More than any other impediment, they thwart the efforts of runners to build fitness and achieve competitive goals. For this reason, injury risk management is a critical component of the training process. If there is a way to reduce injury risk, you want to know about and, […]

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2019 Boston Marathon

Do It Because You Suck at It: Training and Racing with a Mastery Mindset

By Matt Fitzgerald / May 25, 2020 / 0 Comments

I ran my first Boston Marathon in 2009. Although I came into the race super fit, having just lowered my half-marathon PB, I knew within 12 miles that I was in for yet another long and disappointing day at the 26-mile, 385-yard distance. At 16 miles, I saw my family, who, at great inconvenience to […]

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Free Sample Chapter of Matt Fitzgerald’s New Book Running the Dream

By Matt Fitzgerald / May 4, 2020 / 0 Comments

Here, for your free reading enjoyment, is the first chapter of Matt Fitzgerald’s book Running the Dream: One Summer Living, Training, and Racing with a Team of World-Class Runners Half My Age. If you decide you’d like to read the rest of it, please consider purchasing a copy from your local bookstore. Explore other options […]

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To What Extent Is It Possible to “Cram” for a Marathon?

By Matt Fitzgerald / April 27, 2020 / 0 Comments

We’re all familiar with the phenomenon of cramming. You fail to attend any of your American Civilization 101 classes or to do any of the required reading all semester, and then, with one week remaining before the final exam, you hit the books and burn the midnight oil in a heroic effort to catch up […]

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Schooling Your Stride

By Matt Fitzgerald / April 17, 2020 / 0 Comments

One of my biggest pet peeves is the phrase “proper running form.” I can’t stand it. Why? Because it implies that there’s only one correct way to run, and nothing could be further from the truth. Even worse, it implies that good running form is defined by how the stride looks, which further implies that […]

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Now Is the Time for All Runners to Channel Their Inner Kenyan

By Matt Fitzgerald / March 30, 2020 / 0 Comments

Runners are goal-oriented by nature. It goes without saying that the pursuit of goals requires planning and a certain degree of control. It’s difficult to pursue the goal of, say, lowering your half-marathon PB if you don’t have a specific half-marathon event on your calendar and if it’s beyond your power to put one there. […]

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Is “Peaking” Even Real? Or Necessary?

By Matt Fitzgerald / March 23, 2020 / 0 Comments

The concept of peaking in endurance training goes back many decades. It’s essentially the art of timing your next big race to coincide with an ephemeral highpoint in performance capacity that is achieved through careful manipulation of training load and sequencing of training stimuli. A critical belief (or assumption) underlying the practice is that endurance […]

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The Carbohydrate Drip Approach to Race Fueling

By Matt Fitzgerald / March 9, 2020 / 0 Comments

The latest edition of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism features a study that will be of interest to any runner seeking to perfect his or her race fueling practices. Conducted by scientists at the University of Bath and the University of Nottingham, the study compared the performance effects of consuming carbohydrate in small doses at […]

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The Joy of Running Angry

By Matt Fitzgerald / March 2, 2020 / 0 Comments

I’ve finally gotten around to reading Graem Sims’s excellent biography of Percy Cerutty, Why Die? One of the things I like about it is how liberally it quotes from Cerutty’s writings, which are of mixed, yet surprisingly high, quality. I’ve highlighted a number of passages, including this gem: “To race superlatively I hold that one has to […]

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Why the Only Running Fitness Test I Really Trust Is a 5K Race

By Matt Fitzgerald / February 24, 2020 / 0 Comments

A study just published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology caught my attention, and I’d like to tell you about it. Conducted by researchers at the University of Worcester, it compared performance, pacing strategy, perceived exertion, and affect in a 10K solo time trial and a 10K race in a group of 14 male runners. Half of […]

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

By Matt Fitzgerald / February 17, 2020 / 0 Comments

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 […]

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

By Matt Fitzgerald / February 3, 2020 / 0 Comments

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: […]

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My Take on the Carbon-Plated Running Shoe Controversy

By Matt Fitzgerald / January 27, 2020 / 0 Comments

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 […]

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Train Like a Pro in 2020!

By Matt Fitzgerald / October 29, 2019 / 0 Comments

In 1997, when I was a struggling young poet (don’t laugh) in San Francisco, I wrote a letter to Dave Eggers, who was then merely a local literary celebrity whose reputation rested on his work as founder and editor of MIGHT magazine and not yet the international literary star he became three years later with […]

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Don’t Trust Your Treadmill

By Matt Fitzgerald / October 8, 2019 / 0 Comments

One of the more persistent myths in running is the idea that running on a treadmill is “easier” than running overground. Here’s a typical formulation of the myth, which I found on the website of the Houston Chronicle:  Running on a level road or trail is not the same as running on a level treadmill. […]

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A Novel Approach to “Training Through” Running Injuries

By Matt Fitzgerald / September 30, 2019 / 0 Comments

The August 2009 issue of Triathlete Magazine featured an article titled “The end of Running Injuries.” Written by yours truly, the piece introduced readers to the Alter-G antigravity treadmill, which, I claimed, “has the potential to completely eliminate traditional injury setbacks from the life of any runner (or triathlete) who has access to a machine.” This […]

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The Art of the Marathon-as-Workout

By Matt Fitzgerald / August 5, 2019 / 0 Comments

If you’re a relatively inexperienced runner, or a back-of-the-pack runner, stop reading now. This one’s not for you. Unless you’re just curious—then go ahead and keep reading. For most experienced competitive runners, a marathon is a race. You sign up, pin a number on your belly, and go for broke. The workouts that serve as […]

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Join Eliud Kipchoge and Me in Running a “Kamikaze Marathon” This Fall

By Matt Fitzgerald / May 27, 2019 / 0 Comments

Exercise scientists have two basic ways of measuring performance in their studies. One is a time trial, where subjects are asked to cover a specified distance in as little time as possible (or cover as much distance as possible in a specified amount of time). The other is a time to exhaustion test, where subjects […]

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What a Quarter Century As an Injury-Prone Athlete Has Taught Me about Pain (Spoiler Alert: Not Much)

By Matt Fitzgerald / April 8, 2019 / 0 Comments

As a youth runner I never got injured. But then, what young runner does? Kids are made of rubber. Act Two of my life as an endurance athlete has been a different story. Since I got back into racing in my late 20’s (I’m now 47), I have experienced four separate multiyear overuse injuries (in […]

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Why Ultrarunners Should Sprint

By Matt Fitzgerald / February 18, 2019 / 0 Comments

When I trained for my first ultramarathon (the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run) over the winter of 2015-16, I had an Achilles tendon injury that prevented me from doing any training that was faster than marathon pace, give or take. Fortunately, I had no limitations on how far I could run, and took full advantage […]

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Book Review: Inside a Marathon

By Matt Fitzgerald / November 26, 2018 / 0 Comments

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 […]

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Macro Pacing: What It Is and Why It Matters

By Matt Fitzgerald / October 15, 2018 / 0 Comments

Ever since my book How Bad Do You Want It? was published in 2015 I’ve received a steady drip of emails from struggling high school runners, and occasionally also from their coaches and parents. Last week I got one from a runner who was frustrated by a seemingly inexplicable cessation of improvement. He couldn’t understand it. […]

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“The Price Is Right” Analogy of Marathon Pacing

By Matt Fitzgerald / October 8, 2018 / 0 Comments

The fall marathon season is upon us, and you know what that means: Thousands upon thousands of runners will hit the wall before they reach the finish line, slowing down precipitously over the final miles of the race and consequently falling short of their goals. But you don’t have to be one of them! A […]

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Is Periodization Overrated?

By Matt Fitzgerald / September 17, 2018 / 0 Comments

An interesting new study by researchers at the University of Western Australia investigated the effects of periodization in the training of runners. Periodization is the practice of sequencing workouts in such a way as to maximize fitness for a race of a particular distance on a specific future date. There are different philosophies and methods […]

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Why I Never Use the Word “Impossible” with Athletes I Coach

By Matt Fitzgerald / August 6, 2018 / 0 Comments

Quite often, athletes I coach ask me questions like, “Do you think I could qualify for Boston?” or “Am I kidding myself to think I might still be able to PR at my age?” My answer to these questions is always some version of the following: “You won’t hear me say you can’t. Obviously, we […]

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Train As the Athlete You Are Today, Not As the Athlete You Hope to Be on Race Day

By Matt Fitzgerald / July 30, 2018 / 0 Comments

I’m currently coaching a runner, we’ll call in Dylan, who’s training for the Berlin Marathon. Recently he asked me why I’ve had him run his recent marathon-pace efforts at 6:51 per mile (2:59 marathon pace) when he hopes and (more or less) expects to run closer to 2:50 in Berlin. His concern was that I […]

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Are You Uncoachable?

By Matt Fitzgerald / July 23, 2018 / 0 Comments

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 […]

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How to Set a Good Race Time Goal

By Matt Fitzgerald / June 11, 2018 / 0 Comments

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 […]

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

By Matt Fitzgerald / June 5, 2018 / 0 Comments

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 […]

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

By Matt Fitzgerald / May 29, 2018 / 0 Comments

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 […]

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"You Are Not a Watch" (A Lesson in Pacing)

By Matt Fitzgerald / May 21, 2018 / 0 Comments

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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3 Things That Work, But Not the Way Most Runners Think

By Matt Fitzgerald / May 7, 2018 / 0 Comments

There are lots of running-related techniques and methods that are widely known to be effective but that achieve their effects in different ways than most runners believe or assume. For example, drinking water and consuming carbohydrate during endurance exercise are known to enhance performance and are believed to achieve this effect by limiting dehydration and […]

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Are Your Muscles Shrinking and Getting Tighter? Good! (If you’re a runner)

By Matt Fitzgerald / April 23, 2018 / 0 Comments

Recently one of the athletes I coach (we’ll call him Scott) came to me with some concerns about the results of his latest DEXA scan and weigh-in. Although he had lost both overall weight and body fat, he had also lost some muscle mass, and the body-fat percentage in his arms had increased slightly. Scott […]

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The Joy and Utility of Multi-Pace Workouts

By Matt Fitzgerald / February 12, 2018 / 0 Comments

Most runners target a single intensity in all of their workouts. Either it’s an easy run or long run at a slow and steady pace or a tempo run with an effort at lactate threshold intensity sandwiched between a warm-up and a cool-down or an interval session featuring a set of a certain number of […]

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What Is Good Running Form?

By Matt Fitzgerald / January 8, 2018 / 0 Comments

If you ask the average running coach what good running form is, he or she will probably answer with phrases like “midfoot strike,” “high stride rate,” and “low vertical oscillation.” It is true that these and other form characteristics are common in top runners and less common in slower runners. But there are exceptions. Meb […]

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On the Limits of Science as a Guide on How to Train

By Matt Fitzgerald / December 26, 2017 / 0 Comments

There is virtually no evidence from controlled scientific studies that high-volume training is optimal for developing endurance fitness. High-volume training is optimal for developing endurance fitness. Both of the above statements are true. The reason there is virtually no evidence from controlled scientific studies that high-volume training is optimal for developing endurance fitness is that […]

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Letters to the Coaches: Creating a Level 4 Plan

By David Warden / December 8, 2017 / 0 Comments

Hello David, Hope you are well. I purchased the 80/20 level three plan back in June and used it to train for my first marathon. I loved it! It helped me to a 3:24 in NYC. I am looking to shave some time off and am running my second in March. I know there is […]

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Letters to the Coaches: Alignment of 80/20 Heart Rate and Power Zones

By David Warden / November 27, 2017 / 0 Comments

David, I am pushing through first weeks with Garmin + Stryd to track it. I noticed that my power zone 2 running results in running in HR zone X calculated on your calculator for threshold HR delivered by my Garmin fenix 5. Would it be a clear sign that I overstated my threshold Power? Is […]

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New Study Affirms: Runners Should Change Their Stride Only to Avoid Injury Recurrence, Not to Improve Performance

By Matt Fitzgerald / November 8, 2017 / 1 Comment

There are two rationales for changing the way you run. One is to improve performance by reducing the energy cost of running at any given pace. The other is to reduce injury risk. Scientific research going back decades has consistently shown that when runners intentionally alter their natural running form, they do not become more […]

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Letters to the Coaches: Two-a-Days

By David Warden / November 3, 2017 / 0 Comments

Hi David, I’ve recently purchased a 5k plan for trainingpeaks.com It’s the level 3 plan, so it contains some days with two sessions: firstly, I was wondering should these, or should they not be run back to back? or is the intention that one would be done early in the day and the other later […]

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Letters to the Coaches: Power vs. Heart Rate and More

By David Warden / November 2, 2017 / 0 Comments

Hi David I am looking at following the 80/20 ironman training plan (probably level 2) and have downloaded the free Ironman plan.  I have a few questions: 1. When cycling I noticed I can keep in zone 1-2 for heart rate but when I analyse I see my power is spread more over all zones […]

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