Training

Mark Gould

Knowledge Is Good. Understanding Is Better.

By Matt Fitzgerald / April 18, 2021 / 0 Comments

Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all they getting, get understanding.–Proverbs 4:7 The best teacher I ever had was Mark Gould, a sociology professor at Haverford College. I’ll never forget the first meeting of his Foundations of Social Theory class in the fall of 1989. The bearded professor (whose sundry idiosyncrasies […]

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Richard Rorty

The Case for Pragmatism in Endurance Training

By Matt Fitzgerald / April 11, 2021 / 0 Comments

Among the first books I read after graduating from college (and thereby gaining the freedom to create my own syllabus) was Richard Rorty’s Truth and Progress. It served as my introduction to pragmatic philosophy, and I liked it. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition that—very broadly—understands knowing the world […]

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Matt on Beach

Researchers Uncover New Reasons Not to Overdo HIIT

By Matt Fitzgerald / April 4, 2021 / 0 Comments

There’s a good chance you came across the following headline, or another one like it, a couple of weeks back: “Too Much High-Intensity Exercise May Be Bad for Your Health.” These click-baiting newsflashes referred to a new study out of Sweden’s famed Karolinska Institute that looked at the molecular and metabolic effects of a HIIT […]

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Training for Endurance

The Difference(s) Between 80/20 Training and the Maffetone Method

By Matt Fitzgerald / March 27, 2021 / 0 Comments

Phil Maffetone is nothing if not consistent. In 1995, I copyedited his book Training for Endurance, a pro bono task I was given by my boss at Multisport magazine, the late Bill Katovsky, who was a close friend of Phil’s. At that time, I was just beginning to ease back into running after a seven-year […]

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Bill Rodgers

How to Train “80/20” without Really Trying

By Matt Fitzgerald / March 7, 2021 / 0 Comments

Every once in a while an athlete asks me if the training plans offered in one of my older books such as Braining Training for Runners or Triathlete Magazine’s Essential Week-by-Week Training Guide are still relevant or have been rendered obsolete by the 80/20 training plans I peddle today. My stock answer to this question […]

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The Trouble with Mental Toughness

By David Warden / March 6, 2021 / 0 Comments

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 […]

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Henry David Thoreau

That Coach Is Best Who Coaches Least

By Matt Fitzgerald / February 28, 2021 / 0 Comments

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 […]

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Ironman Triathlon

A Lot of Triathletes Train Too Much During Ironman Prep

By Matt Fitzgerald / February 8, 2021 / 0 Comments

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 […]

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FeelBreathe

Will Respiratory Muscle Training Finally Catch On?

By Matt Fitzgerald / January 30, 2021 / 0 Comments

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 […]

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Sandor Iharos

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

By Matt Fitzgerald / January 23, 2021 / 0 Comments

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 […]

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All-New 2021 Edition Run Plans Now Available

By David Warden / December 28, 2020 / 0 Comments

Including new Ultra Marathon 50 Kilometer Plans We are supremely excited to announce that a full slate of all-new 80/20 Running 2021 Edition training plans are now available. And when we say “all-new” we mean all-new. These run plans aren’t merely tweaked versions of our existing plans. We rebuilt them from the ground up with the […]

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I Was Wrong

New Study Strikes Fatal Blow to 80/20 Training Philosophy

By Matt Fitzgerald / December 26, 2020 / 0 Comments

I am often asked if the 80/20 rule of intensity balance applies to athletes who train at very low volumes. It’s a fair question. We know that low-intensity exercise doesn’t do a lot of good in small amounts, whereas high-intensity exercise does. It is plausible therefore that, below a certain volume threshold, doing less than […]

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A Fitness Carol

By David Warden / December 20, 2020 / 0 Comments

This evening you will be visited by three sprits: the Ghost of Fitness Past, the Ghost Fitness Present and the Ghost of Fitness Yet to Come. Let’s face it, you need this intervention. COVID, politics, and the death of Eddie Van Halen left you reeling in 2020. A spiral of event cancellations and doom-scrolling transformed […]

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Smiling Runner

How Not to Screw Up Your Maintenance Training

By Matt Fitzgerald / December 12, 2020 / 0 Comments

No athlete can get fitter year-round, and no athlete should try. But letting yourself go completely is not the only alternative to actively pursuing peak race fitness. It is possible to maintain a solid foundation of fitness with a training pattern that is infinitely sustainable, allowing you to transition smoothly back into progressive, race-focused training […]

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Ingrid Kristiansen

When You’re Fit, You’re Fit

By Matt Fitzgerald / November 14, 2020 / 0 Comments

On May 5, 2019, Stephanie Bruce won the USATF Half Marathon Championship by 21 seconds with a time of 1:10:43. The following day, she asked her coach, Ben Rosario, for permission to compete in a 5000-meter track race on May 16th. Ben gave her his blessing, and 10 days later Steph set a new personal […]

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2016 Napa Valley Marathon

The Difference Between Athletic Development and Getting Fitter

By Matt Fitzgerald / November 1, 2020 / 0 Comments

Last year I was contacted by a very interesting person, we’ll call him Brad, who became a professional skateboarder in his teens, then transitioned to professional snowboarding, and then made a go of qualifying for the PGA Tour (making is as far as the Nationwide Tour), and subsequently started getting into triathlon. Now in his […]

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Thorsten Emig

Why Runners Should “Listen to the Scientists”

By Matt Fitzgerald / October 25, 2020 / 0 Comments

“We can neither deny what science affirms nor affirm what science denies.” I forget who said this, but whoever said it, it’s true. If you’re not so sure about that, it’s likely because you’re misinterpreting the statement as meaning that science is always right about everything. But that’s not at all what it says. What […]

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Sprinting

Why You Should Sprint During Off-Season Endurance Training

By Matt Fitzgerald / October 16, 2020 / 0 Comments

Something is wrong with my body. I don’t have a diagnosis yet, but I think I might be iron deficient. Other possibilities are burnout, a low-grade viral infection, low blood pressure, stress, and vitamin D deficiency. What I know for certain is that I feel terrible when I exercise, and particularly when I run. I […]

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Paula Radcliffe

Would Longer “Weeks” Make Your Training More Manageable?

By Matt Fitzgerald / September 28, 2020 / 0 Comments

Originating in ancient Samaria more than 4,000 years ago, the seven-day week has become a standard calendrical feature throughout the world. Most athletes in most sports adhere to this convention as well. I recall noting this during my time with the HOKA Northern Arizona elite professional running team in 2017. Unlike the majority of us, […]

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Tommy Hughes

Fifty Is the New Whatever

By Matt Fitzgerald / September 19, 2020 / 0 Comments

The 2020 Antrim Coast Half Marathon was exceptional simply by virtue of happening. It was one of the first sizeable road running events to take place after the COVID-19 pandemic swept the planet. But the race became even more exceptional when 60-year-old Irishman Tommy Hughes crossed the finish line in 1:11:09, smashing the age-group world […]

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Fitness Measurements

What Gets Measured Gets Overemphasized

By Matt Fitzgerald / September 14, 2020 / 0 Comments

Recently I created a custom training plan for an Italian ultraendurance cyclist who was preparing for a pair of multiday, multi-thousand-kilometer bike tours, and who told me in the onboarding questionnaire he submitted that increasing his functional threshold power (FTP) had been a major point of emphasis in his training. For the runners in the […]

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Robot Coach

Goal-Directed, Principle-Guided Experimentation

By Matt Fitzgerald / August 31, 2020 / 0 Comments

I’m working on a new project involving artificial intelligence and endurance training that I could tell you about, but I would have to kill you. Just kidding—it’s not that secret. In any case, the project has got me thinking about fundamental questions in endurance training. For example: What is training? Don’t snicker. The answer is […]

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Indoor Cycling

Here’s a Fun, Fast New Workout to Try: Decreasing Intervals

By Matt Fitzgerald / August 22, 2020 / 0 Comments

These are exciting times to be an endurance training geek. We seem to have entered a new period in which exercise scientists are taking the lead in coming up with innovative new workout formats. It makes sense. For many decades, humanity knew so little about how to train optimally for endurance performance that the majority […]

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Kyle Merber

Got a Comfortable Training Routine? Good—Change It!

By Matt Fitzgerald / August 10, 2020 / 0 Comments

Leon Fleisher died recently. Man, what a life! Born in San Francisco in 1928 to Jewish immigrants, he started playing the piano at age four, and by nine he was proficient enough to become a student of renowned teacher Artur Schnabel. At 16, Fleisher made his Carnegie Hall debut, and by his mid-20s he was […]

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Caroline Rotich, Me, Ryan Bolton, Patrick Smyth

Creative Goal Setting

By Matt Fitzgerald / July 19, 2020 / 0 Comments

Recently I received a text message from Matt Chittim, host of the Rambling Runner podcast. In it, he informed me that he is several months away from turning 40 years old and he wants to mark the occasion by pursuing the goal of breaking 40 minutes for 10K. His purpose in texting me was to […]

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Shelby Houlihan

Rediscovering a Process Focus

By Matt Fitzgerald / July 13, 2020 / 0 Comments

There’s a runner I coach, we’ll call him Jeremy, who’s concerned about his weight. It’s not that he’s overweight and worried about developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease. Rather, Jeremy is light and lean but just not quite as light and lean as the elite trail runners whose ranks he aspires to join—and it […]

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Mat Fitzgerald Running in High School

Pressure Is a Double-Edge Sword

By Matt Fitzgerald / July 5, 2020 / 0 Comments

In 2015, economists Daniel Hickman and Neil Metz conducted an interesting study on the effect of pressure on performance in professional golfers. Data from the final hole of PGA tournaments taking place between 2004 and 2012 was analyzed to determine the effect of financial stakes—specifically how much money was riding on draining a putt—on performance. […]

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Your Performance Management Chart Is Lying To You

By David Warden / June 29, 2020 / 0 Comments

…but you can make it tell the truth.  The Performance Management Chart in TrainingPeaks is an extraordinary tool. As early as 1975, physiologists have been attempting to quantify, and ultimately predict, the relationship between training and endurance performance. Coaches and athletes wanted to know if you contributed X units of training, could you predict Y […]

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Track Workout

New Workout: Billat’s Analog Windup

By Matt Fitzgerald / June 29, 2020 / 0 Comments

Like many other endurance athletes, I’m adapting to the COVID-19 era by the seat of my pants, seeking ways to maintain my normal level of enthusiasm for training without races to look forward to and without a playbook. The pattern I seem to have fallen into—which has been working better than I would have imagined—is […]

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Book Review: The Science of the Marathon

By Matt Fitzgerald / June 22, 2020 / 0 Comments

I first discovered the work of Veronique Billat in 2002, when I was working on my book The Cutting-Edge Runner. That’s a long time ago, but in retrospect I’m somewhat embarrassed that I hadn’t known about her even earlier, as she was then already well on her way toward titan status in the field of […]

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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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How to Convert Pool Swim Workouts to Open Water

By Matt Fitzgerald / May 8, 2020 / 0 Comments

Pools are closed, but the weather is warming and athletes in many places are gaining access to venues for open-water swimming. Perhaps you’ve thought about take advantage of such an opportunity, but aren’t sure how to transfer the pool workouts you’re accustomed to doing to open water. Here are some tips. Safety First Much has […]

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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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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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How to Replace and Resume Your Swim Training

By Matt Fitzgerald / March 13, 2020 / 0 Comments

If you are like most triathletes, swimming is a challenge right now, and by “challenge” we mean completely unavailable. Unless you are fortunate enough to have access to a private pool or a Vasa Ergometer, maintaining swim form is tough. Fortunately, there are some options to come out of this situation mitigating the damage to, […]

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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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The Official 2020 80/20 Endurance Holiday Reading List

By Matt Fitzgerald / December 16, 2019 / 0 Comments

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 […]

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How to Get Better at Running by Not Trying

By Matt Fitzgerald / December 4, 2019 / 0 Comments

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 […]

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

By Matt Fitzgerald / November 27, 2019 / 0 Comments

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 […]

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Overcoming Stadephobia (Fear of Distance)

By Matt Fitzgerald / November 11, 2019 / 0 Comments

Stadephobia is not a real word. I just made it up. It combines the ancient Greek words stade, which was a unit of measure used in footraces (1 stade = 180 meters), and phobia, meaning fear, and it’s my name for the phenomenon of fear of distance. In general, phobias are irrational fears of things like spiders […]

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Is There a Threshold of Training Volume Below Which an 80/20 Intensity Balance Is Not Optimal for Fitness Development?

By Matt Fitzgerald / October 21, 2019 / 0 Comments

The question that serves as the title of this article is one that comes up often in discussions of the 80/20 method of endurance training. It’s a natural question to ask. Common sense suggests that a person can make up for exercising little by exercising hard. Heck, there’s no bigger proponent of the 80/20 approach […]

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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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Should You Lock Yourself in a Hot Room While Tapering for Races?

By Matt Fitzgerald / September 23, 2019 / 0 Comments

I am not an exercise scientist, but I do have a strong interest in the science of endurance exercise, and every once in a while I speculate on the kinds of questions exercise scientists like to explore experimentally. For example, back in 2004 I found myself wondering if training in a hot environment might improve […]

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Understanding Your Free 80/20 Strength Training Plug-in

By Matt Fitzgerald / September 21, 2019 / 0 Comments

This document covers how to use your free strength training plug-in. For support on your Premium Strength Training plan, see Understanding Your Premium 80/20 Strength Training Plan. If you have not done much strength training recently, or if many of the exercises in your 80/20 Strength Training Plug-in are new to you, we recommend that you perform […]

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New Study Provides Further Evidence That How You Balance Different Intensities Matters More Than Anything Else You Do in Training

By Matt Fitzgerald / September 16, 2019 / 0 Comments

Unless you fell onto this blog through a trapdoor and you have no clue what you’re doing here, you know that I am a proponent of the 80/20 training method, which entails spending about 80 percent of your training time at low intensity and the rest at moderate and high intensities. This does not mean […]

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The Four Kinds of Endurance Talent

By Matt Fitzgerald / September 9, 2019 / 0 Comments

What does it mean to have a talent for running or cycling or other endurance sports? Generally, we think of it as a natural capacity to maintain high speeds for prolonged periods of time, a capacity that is physiologically rooted in what we can loosely call aerobic power. There is no question that you aren’t […]

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Is Pre-Race Tapering Overrated? Or Is This Question Just Click Bait?

By Matt Fitzgerald / August 27, 2019 / 0 Comments

Recently one of my custom training plan clients emailed me with a question. He was three weeks out from the marathon he’d hired me to prepare him for and was somewhat alarmed to see that I had scheduled a 20-mile run featuring 16 miles at his goal marathon pace at the end of the current […]

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Good Cop, Bad Cop

By Matt Fitzgerald / August 19, 2019 / 0 Comments

To train with maximal effectiveness, you have to be mean to yourself. And you also have to be kind to yourself. Every week I do two full-body functional strength workouts at a local gym. The specific exercise selection evolves over time, but there is one exercise I never fail to include among the dozen or […]

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Become a Better Coach by Becoming a Better Listener

By Matt Fitzgerald / August 12, 2019 / 0 Comments

This week, Matt writes for the TrainingPeaks Coach blog and his article can be found here.

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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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How to Cultivate a Growth Mindset in Athletes

By Matt Fitzgerald / July 29, 2019 / 0 Comments

This week, Matt writes for the TrainingPeaks Coach blog and his article can be found here.

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The Benefits of Rust-Buster Races

By Matt Fitzgerald / July 8, 2019 / 0 Comments

Let me be clear: Many if not most endurance athletes race too often. I consider over-racing to be one of the most common and costly forms of self-sabotage in endurance sports. Check out this past post of mine for a full rant on the topic. But in this post I’m going to toss a curveball at […]

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What To Do When Your Athlete Sets An “Impossible” Goal

By Matt Fitzgerald / May 1, 2019 / 0 Comments

This week, Matt writes for the TrainingPeaks Coach blog and his article can be found here.

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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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Racing Is the Enemy of Training

By Matt Fitzgerald / March 4, 2019 / 0 Comments

One of the more common forms of self-sabotage perpetrated by endurance athletes is racing too often. Now, before I go any further, let me state quite clearly that racing often is not necessarily a mistake . . . if you don’t particularly care about achieving peak performances in competition. For many people, athletics is more […]

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Does Every Second Count in a Daylong Race?

By Matt Fitzgerald / January 13, 2019 / 0 Comments

The other day I had an interesting conversation with an athlete I coach who is training for an Ironman 70.3 event that will take place on the same weekend as the Ironman race I’m training for (specifically the weekend of May 10-11, 2019). In explaining to me why he had done the bare minimum of […]

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How Will Endurance Athletes Train 50 Years from Now?

By Matt Fitzgerald / December 24, 2018 / 0 Comments

One hundred years ago, Scandinavian athletes dominated elite distance running. They trained rather differently from today’s elite runners. Hannes Kolehmainen is a good example. His primary fitness activity during the long Finnish winters was cross-country skiing, and even in the summer he did more walking than running. He was, however, among the first elite runners […]

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Just Because Something Works Doesn’t Mean Something Else Wouldn’t Work Better

By Matt Fitzgerald / December 17, 2018 / 0 Comments

Imagine you are completely sedentary and you have been for some time. Then one day you decide to train for a 10K running event. The specific training method you choose is Yoga—30 minutes a day, six days a week. To assess the effectiveness of this program, you actually do a 10K beforeyou start on it […]

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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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Coaching the Coach: How I’m Training for My First Ironman in 17 Years

By Matt Fitzgerald / November 5, 2018 / 0 Comments

My 2010 book RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel includes a chapter titled “Winging It” in which I advocate—for experienced athletes only—the practice of training without a formal plan. I don’t go as far as to recommend that athletes completely make up their training as they go along. Rather, I suggest they establish certain […]

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The Two Words That Best Describe an Effective Training Program

By Matt Fitzgerald / October 29, 2018 / 0 Comments

“Hard fun.” In my opinion, this two-word phrase constitutes the ideal description of an endurance training program that’s really working. As a coach, I can’t think of anything I would rather hear an athlete say in response to the question, “How would you describe your experience of the current training segment?” than “Hard fun.” Why? […]

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If I Only Had Room in My Suitcase for either the Lactate Threshold or the Ventilatory Threshold, I Would Pack the Ventilatory Threshold: Here’s Why

By Matt Fitzgerald / October 22, 2018 / 0 Comments

The lactate threshold gets so much attention in endurance sports that, despite its esoteric name, most athletes who have passed beyond the newbie stage are familiar with it. The term “lactate threshold” refers, of course, to the exercise intensity at which lactate, an intermediate product of aerobic metabolism, begins to accumulate in the bloodstream because […]

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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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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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80/20 Triathlon Is Here!

By Matt Fitzgerald / September 3, 2018 / 0 Comments

Several years ago I got an idea for a book called A High-Mileage Manifesto. The title pretty much says it all: It was intended to be a hard sell for high-volume run training and an antidote to things like CrossFit Endurance and Run Less, Run Faster, which were leading so many athletes down the wrong […]

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What Role Do Incredibly Painful Workouts Have in Endurance Training?

By Matt Fitzgerald / August 20, 2018 / 0 Comments

It is a proven fact that individual pain tolerance predicts endurance performance. Given two athletes with identical physical traits, the one with a higher pain tolerance will likely outperform the other in competition. It is also a proven fact that pain tolerance is trainable. Exposure to pain tends to increase pain tolerance. The practical implication […]

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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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Why Endurance Training Can’t Be Reduced to a Formula

By Matt Fitzgerald / July 16, 2018 / 0 Comments

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: […]

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The Human Body Is Not a Smartphone

By Matt Fitzgerald / July 9, 2018 / 0 Comments

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 […]

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Making Periodization Intuitive

By Matt Fitzgerald / June 25, 2018 / 0 Comments

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 […]

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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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The Glycogen Threshold Hypothesis: What Is It and Why Should You Care?

By Matt Fitzgerald / May 14, 2018 / 0 Comments

There is a strong case to be made for making sure you consume plenty of carbohydrate before endurance training, and also during longer workouts. You will feel better and perform better, especially in harder sessions and in sessions that are begun in a prefatigued state during heavy training periods. But there is also a strong […]

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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 Bounce Back Marathons a Bad Idea?

By Matt Fitzgerald / April 30, 2018 / 0 Comments

On April 24, eight days after American running star Galen Rupp dropped out of the Boston Marathon in the 20th mile with hypothermia and breathing problems, organizers of the Prague Marathon announced that Rupp had been added to the start list of their event, to be held May 6, a day shy of three weeks […]

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Introducing the 80/20 Workout Library

By Matt Fitzgerald / April 9, 2018 / 0 Comments

Unless you’ve been hermetically siloed within the endurance space for as long as you’ve been exercising, you’ve probably heard of muscle confusion. Popular in the vanity-oriented fitness realm, muscle confusion is the idea that muscles undergo the greatest adaptation to training when they are subjected to constantly changing stimuli, and the corresponding practice of mixing […]

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Should You Train Your DNA or Train for Your Event?

By Matt Fitzgerald / April 2, 2018 / 0 Comments

We live in a highly individualistic society, a situation that has both pluses and minuses. On the plus side, our children tend to grow up with a sense of freedom to choose their own path in life. On the minus side, a growing percentage of us are burdened by feelings of loneliness and isolation that […]

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Seiler’s Hierarchy of Endurance Training Needs

By Matt Fitzgerald / March 26, 2018 / 0 Comments

If I could clone myself a few times for the sake of taking different paths in life, I would definitely dedicate one of my clones to the pursuit of sports science. This being impossible with current technology, I choose instead to live vicariously through the individual sports scientists who are tackling the questions I would […]

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Understanding the Difference Between Rest and Recovery

By Matt Fitzgerald / March 15, 2018 / 0 Comments

Recently I received an email message from an athlete who is following one of my online training plans. In it, he asked, “Why do you only have one day off every three weeks?” Although I did not ask the athlete why he asked this question, my assumption was that he was accustomed to training plans […]

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Heart Rate Training is Dead, Long Live Heart Rate Training!

By David Warden / March 12, 2018 / 0 Comments

I remember my first heart rate monitor. A Polar S720i. It used infrared to download data. Infrared! The first time I wore it, it felt like magic. The device was a key to unlock secrets about my body I could have never observed before. I wore it when I exercised, I wore it all day, […]

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Why You Shouldn’t Choose a Training Plan Based on a Time Goal

By Matt Fitzgerald / February 26, 2018 / 0 Comments

If you’re like many other endurance athletes, you have probably followed a readymade training plan at one time or another. Perhaps you found it in a book, or maybe you purchased it online from a website such as Final Surge or TrainingPeaks. If so, then you know that readymade plans are generally classified by race […]

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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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Why I Try to Talk Every Endurance Athlete Who Does CrossFit or Is Interested in Doing CrossFit out of Doing CrossFit

By Matt Fitzgerald / January 22, 2018 / 0 Comments

These days lots of endurance athletes are supplementing their endurance training with CrossFit workouts, or are interested in doing so. Whenever one of these athletes comes to me for coaching, I try to talk him or her out of it. I do this not because I think CrossFit is intrinsically bad or because I believe […]

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Letters to the Coaches: Top Training Tips from David

By David Warden / December 29, 2017 / 0 Comments

David, This season I’m doing my first marathon, first olympic tri, and first ironman. I am super stoked to get to do these workouts! I really love how organized your program is and I used your website to set up all my zones and stuff and it makes a ton of sense. I trained for […]

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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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The Livelihood Mindset Vs. the Hobby Mindset

By Matt Fitzgerald / December 18, 2017 / 0 Comments

Running is a hobby for the vast majority of runners. Only for a tiny fraction of the runner population is the sport a livelihood. Because the pros depend on their race performances to put food on the table, they typically do everything in their power to maximize their performance. This no-stone-unturned approach to running is […]

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Why Your Easy Run Paces Should Be Wildly Erratic

By Matt Fitzgerald / December 11, 2017 / 0 Comments

Easy runs get no love. Whenever a video is made of elite runners in training, it’s always some type of workout that’s filmed (a track session, hill repetitions, a long run at marathon pace), never an easy run. This is the case despite the fact that easy runs are the foundation of any good training […]

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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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Why Don’t 4-Hour Marathoners Train Like 3-Hour Marathoners?

By Matt Fitzgerald / December 6, 2017 / 0 Comments

A friend of mine ran the California International Marathon recently. CIM is known for producing more Boston Marathon qualifiers (relative to field size) than any marathon other than Boston itself, and indeed my friend’s goal was to BQ. As a 40-year-old male, he needed to finish in 3:12, give or take, to claim a slot. […]

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Letters to the Coaches: Daily Workout Order

By David Warden / November 30, 2017 / 0 Comments

David, I sometimes have to do the workout for a particular day in a different order than specified in the plan. For example, today calls for a swim, then a run. Due to my schedule today I need to do the run and then the swim. How big a deal is that? I know some […]

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How to Train (and Eat) during the Winter

By Matt Fitzgerald / November 29, 2017 / 0 Comments

Many runners don’t know how to train during the winter. They know that they should train, but they lack a clear sense of the purpose of winter workouts. And if you don’t know why you’re running, it’s difficult to determine how to run. Assuming you wish to be in good racing shape for one or […]

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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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Become a Better Pacer with These Simple Games

By Matt Fitzgerald / November 22, 2017 / 0 Comments

Pacing is the art of getting to the finish line of a race in the least amount of time possible given the current state of your body (fitness and fatigue levels, etc.) and external conditions. Generally, this requires that you distribute your effort quite evenly throughout the race and that this evenly distributed effort leave […]

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Letters to the Coaches: When and How to Test Zones

By David Warden / November 16, 2017 / 0 Comments

Dear David W, I’m going to buy your plan for the level 3 half marathon plan. I have a race (in Madrid, Spain) on April 8 which by my calculations will have me starting Dec 31/Jan 1… I had a bike wreck in a triathlon a few months ago that resulted in broken bones, concussion, […]

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Letters to the Coaches: Frequency of Hard and Easy Workouts

By David Warden / November 12, 2017 / 0 Comments

Hi Matt, I just finished reading your book 80/20 Running. I liked the basic idea and I also have experienced my biggest fitness gains with mostly slow exercising. But I have one question that I did not find an answer – but maybe there was.. As a triathlete I currently do hard and slow workouts […]

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Letters to the Coaches: Triathlon Running Power Plans and Electrolytes

By David Warden / November 11, 2017 / 0 Comments

Hi David, I hope you are well. I was excited to receive your email about the addition of 80/20 ironman plans with running power targets. I’m currently using the level 3 Pace and Power ironman plan, but would love to try the power and power plan. Is there a way to get access to this […]

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Letters to the Coaches: Trouble Staying in Zone 1 HR

By David Warden / November 7, 2017 / 0 Comments

Hi Guys, I am planning buying 80/20 program (not sure in 1/2 marathon or marathon) but I want to prepare myself for it, as I am out of shape to start it now. On my first run after long break I noticed that pace to HR ratio decreased over the course of 5k, where in […]

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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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Get INTO Your Comfort Zone

By Matt Fitzgerald / November 1, 2017 / 0 Comments

The phrase “comfort zone” has mostly negative connotations. A comfort zone is generally understood to be a metaphorical place where a person clings to familiar routines and avoids embracing the new challenges that stimulate growth. One is never advised to stay in his or her comfort zone. The advice is always to get out of […]

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How to Know When You’re Training Too Much

By Matt Fitzgerald / September 14, 2017 / 0 Comments

Most people need to be pushed to exercise. Endurance athletes, however, are not most people. As a coach, I have consistently found that endurance athletes need to be held back far more often than they need to be pushed. Don’t get me wrong: The willingness to work hard is an essential ingredient to success in […]

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