This week, the Diz Runs Book Club wrapped up our first book study: a 6 week look at the book 80/20 Running.
This book did a lot to change the way I look at running and training both for myself and for the runners I coach.
In this post I want to share some of the things from the book that really stood out to me, caused me to think, and ultimately made me a believer that if I want to get faster in races I need to slow down in my training.
Sounds ridiculous, right?
I know. I thought so too.
But after having the author (Matt Fitzgerald) on the podcast, talking to him about the science behind the book, and then reading it myself I’ve got to say that I’m convinced.
My “A-Ha Moments” from 80/20 Running
- Our Running is Out of Balance: The book starts off talking about the need for slowing down in training, and points to the example set by virtually ever elite runner in the world today. Elites do approximately 4 easy runs/workouts for every hard run, where as the typical “recreational competitive runner” does one easy run for every hard one. This can easily lead to a build up of fatigue, a plateau of progress, and an increased risk of injury. Basically, it’s not a good idea to stay in a 1:1 training schedule.
- Speed Isn’t the Problem: The history of running high volume at a lower intensity in order to race faster started in New Zealand in the 1950s. Arthur Lydiard, the man credited with bringing this idea to the running community, said something in an interview that completely blew my mind by makes total sense. He said that middle and long distance runners don’t need to improve their top speed in order to run faster races, but they needed to improve their overall endurance so they can maintain that higher speed for the duration of the race.
- Patience is a Virtue: Slowing down in your training takes some time to pay off. But if you stick with the program, the results will be there.
- We Still Need to Train Hard: 80/20 running isn’t all about running slow all of the time. High intensity training is a vital component of any training plan, from the 5k to ultra marathons, but a little bit goes a long way.
- Fatigue Isn’t Just Physical: Our brains play a huge role in our ability to endure over 3.1, 6.2, 13.1, 26.2, and beyond. The more our brains are resistant to fatigue, the better we are able to press on in the race that we are running. By doing more training, as in running longer but at a lower intensity, we condition our brains to be used to dealing with fatigue for hours instead of minutes and we are better suited to be able to push ourselves then during a race.
There are so many takeaways from this book that it was hard to come up with a short-ish list for this post.
Honestly, I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
If you’re a runner and you’re looking to improve your PRs and continue running for years, I really believe that incorporating the principals of 80/20 running to your training are the keys.
And if you’re looking for a coach that is all in on 80/20 running to help you along the way, just let me know!
What Is Preventing You From Incorporating the Principals of 80/20 Running Into Your Training Program?