I ran 20 miles the day before my first marathon. At 17, I didn’t know any better. Whether by choice or chance I had no running mentor, no athletic background, and this was long before the internet. I intuited (correctly) that the best method to prepare for a marathon was to work slowly towards a 26.2-mile run but implemented it (incorrectly) by increasing my daily run by 1 mile and running 19, 20, and 21, miles each day until the morning before the event. I entered the marathon…fatigued.

I’m reminded of this experience each time I load my Garmin Connect app, which uses the unfortunate slogan, beat yesterday. I disapprove of this message. It’s the antithesis of the 80/20 training philosophy. I’m sure Garmin would confirm that this mantra is obviously marketing, not meant to be taken seriously. It’s an ideal, a motive, a state of mind. My rebuttal is when someone in authority uses what they later claim to be hyperbole, a sizeable number of followers take it at face value with potentially dangerous consequences. I’m confident there are a significant number of beginner athletes using the Garmin Connect app who really do believe that to become a better athlete they need to go longer or harder every single day.

But you, dear reader, are not one of those beginner athletes. You understand that peak fitness is the result of the balance of stress and rest and ignore such temptations. You are a disciplined athlete, not influenced by gamification, cheap marketing slogans, Zwift rivals nor friends on Strava. Right? Right?

But…doesn’t seeing beat yesterday in your primary exercise app sort of gnaw at you? Seed some self-doubt about your course of action? Maybe turn an easy run or two into something more? Because it sometimes haunts me, and I’m as dedicated as it comes to adequate recovery.

Therefore, as a public service I have prepared alternative and responsible slogans for the app. I present these to you, Garmin, royalty-free and without claim. You’re welcome.

Just did it

Sure, some potential trademark issues, nothing we can’t work out with the other guy.

Improve upon your previous season’s performance by executing a best-practice training regimen that includes an optimal distribution of frequency, intensity balance, duration and specificity

Wordy? Maybe, but I’m sure that’s what Garmin actually meant to say.

David Warden is exceptionally handsome

Just throwing stuff on the wall, seeing what sticks. This is the slogan I repeat before every workout.

Buy more of our stuff

Some say we’re living in a post-truth world, but Garmin, you can draw a line in the sand!

Get faster

Whoa. I think we have it. Simple, accurate, and unlike the current slogan, possible. I may have to register this slogan myself after all.

The next time you’re tempted to beat yesterday, pause and consider the purpose of the workout at hand. That purpose could include recovery, technique, aerobic base or many other objectives unrelated to record speed or distance. Some days, you really will beat yesterday, and those days will become more frequent during periods of the season. Many of your workouts, however, should be slower than the day before which is exactly how the pros train.

Or, you can choose to beat yesterday and train like an optimistic but inexperienced 17-year old. Personally, I’d rather just Get faster™.

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 the end I had to almost walk to have it in aerobic zone. I have read that such ratio dropping is sign of lack of aerobic base. And my question is while building base do I always keep myself in aerobic space? And secondly is there a benefit to push longer and slowing the pace, or rather stop once HR starts spiking despite constant or even decreasing pace.


BTW: are all 80/20 plans the structured workout version on training peaks? (so I can download automatically on Fenix 5?)


Dear M,

Great question!

In our 80/20 plans, you’ll find that 80% of the workouts are done in Zone 1 and Zone 2. This is the “easy” 80 percent. The other 20 percent is moderate to high intensity. It is possible that at the beginning of your training you will have trouble staying in Zone 1 when Zone 1 is called for. That is OK. As long as you stay in Zone 1 or 2 when the workout calls for Zone 1 or 2, you’ll improve faster. If the workouts calls for Zone 2 but you are tired that day and stay in Zone 1, that is ok. If the workout calls for Zone 1 but your slowest run pace puts you at Zone 2, that is ok. As long as the combination of Zone 1-2 is 80%.

It is of course better to spend the time in Zone 1 and 2 exactly as the plan is prescribed, but you’ll be able to do that after a month of training.

When using HR, I would only walk in between hard intervals. If you are running a long Zone 2 session (and there are many of these) and your HR spikes above Zone 2, don’t walk, just run as slow as you can.

However, this HR problem does not exist if you use Pace or Power are an intensity guide. If your Zone 2 workout calls for a pace of 6 minutes per kilometer, you can your HR. If the plans calls for Zone run of 200 watts, then just hold 200 watts and ignore HR. Our plans support both Pace and Power and translate Zones to pace, power, and HR. In fact, when you purchase our plans, you choose HR, Pace, or Power as your measure of intensity.

Please see our Zone Calculator to see the different ways to measure intensity. Also please see to read about the three different types of intensity plans for the marathon.

All of our 80/20 plans come in either structured workouts or original plans. The two types are identical, but you really want the structured workouts as they will indeed export and sync automatically to supported devices, including the Fenix 5.

Finally, we offer a Level Guarantee for our plans. If you buy the Level 0 plan and find it is too easy after a month, come back to me and I’ll get you the Level 1 plan for free, and if Level 1 becomes too easy, I’ll get you the Level 2.


Matt and I periodically publish anonymously your inquiries to us, particularly when the answer may benefit the community. Have a question about 80/20 training or training in general? Feel free to e-mail me. David W.

Hi David,

I’ve recently purchased a 5k plan for

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 in the day?

I’d like to do a more advanced plan, but I’m not sure I could commit to these two sessions per day; what’s your advice: should I just try and do them when I can, or should I drop down to a lower plan?



Dear R,

Thanks for purchasing our 5k plan and your interest to our advanced plan. I’ve just added a new paragraph to our Understanding Your 80/20 Run Plan to further clarify two-a-days. You may also find the section in that document named Cross-training to be helpful as well. Be sure to review all our 80/20 documentation while you are at it. I’ve included the two-a-day addition for your convenience below.

I think you’ll have better performance with an L3 where you do 50% of the two-a-days than an L2 where you do 100% of the two-a-days. Therefore, I would recommend sticking with the L3. However, you can switch to the L2 anytime, just let me know.


In the advanced 80/20 run plans, some days have two workouts scheduled in the same day. These are always scheduled with the first workout as a Run and the second as a Run or Cross-train. Regardless of whether you choose to run or cross-train the second workout, the two workouts would ideally be done in the AM and PM, or at least as far apart as possible. In extreme circumstances, the two workouts can be combined together, but preferably the second workout is simply moved to another day of the week.


Matt and I periodically publish anonymously your inquiries to us, particularly when the answer may benefit the community. Have a question about 80/20 training or training in general? Feel free to e-mail me. David W.

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 including 4-5. Is power a better measure and more preferred way for cycling?

2. What kind of performance gains would you expect during a 4 week period? If there is no improvement in pace and power would that indicate an issue in my training?

3. Does the plan contain longer cycle and runs towards the end of the plan?

Thanks, C

Dear C,

Thanks for looking into our plans! Responses below.

1. Power is commonly recognized as a superior way to measure intensity. Heart rate (HR) is affordable and convenient, but HR has several disadvantages. The root of these disadvantages is that HR is an indicator not an output. Like your car, your engine temperature (an indicator) might be directly related to your horsepower (output) and speed (outcome), but often they are not in sync at all.

Your power zones are also most likely not yet calibrated correctly, almost certainly too low. Consider our Intensity Guidelines for Triathlon document for some protocols on how to retest your power zones.

2. This is tough to answer. I regret that genetics plays such an out-sized role that the results are all over the map. What I can comfortable say is that the best athletes in the world use an 80/20 intensity distribution, and you’ll have the best chances of success with that format. If I were to commit to a “typical” triathlete without a strong background in cycling, I often see a 10-15% percent improvement in the first year, another 5-10% the second year, and diminishing but continued returns from year 3-5. The monthly improvements would be some fraction of those annual estimates. Genetics could double or half those “typical” results. Be patient, sometimes you’ll go months without seeing an improvement, and then you’ll get a 5% bump overnight.

3. Yes, the free plans are just the first two weeks of each plan. We use the empirically proven method of progressive overload in all of our plans, the weekly volume caps out at 2-3 times what you see in the first 2 weeks.


Matt and I periodically publish anonymously your inquiries to us, particularly when the answer may benefit the community. Have a question about 80/20 training or training in general? Feel free to e-mail me. David W.

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