Monday, December 12, 2022


I like to read quite a bit. Included in my reading are a lot of books on running, runners, and training. I mentioned recently that I was considering following a training plan out of Jay Johnson’s book Simple Marathon Training: The Right Training for Busy Adults with Hectic Lives. Not because I’m a busy adult with a hectic life, but more because I like the idea of 1 workout and 1 long run per week – with filler activities in between. Now I’m reconsidering that approach.

I started reading Run Like a Pro (Even if You’re Slow): Elite Tools and Tips for Runners at Every Level by Matt Fitzgerald and Ben Rosario. I really like the work both authors have done. Ben was the coach for the NAZ elite training group before stepping away from coaching and into their director role. He teamed up with Scott Fauble on the book Inside a Marathon, which is a great look into the coach/athlete relationship. He also teamed up with his high school coach for the book Tradition, Class, Pride: Building a Cross Country Dynasty. This is a must-read for any high school coach looking to build up their program. While Ben is a coach who’s written a few books, I’d say Matt is a writer who also happens to coach. He’s written a lot of books for the endurance community. The ones I’ve read or listened to include; How Bad Do You Want It, The Comeback Quotient, Racing Weight, and Running the Dream. In the last one, Matt spends a summer and trains like an elite athlete, at the age of 46, as part of the NAZ elite group coached by Ben.  

Matt also has a book called 80/20 Running. I haven’t read it (yet), but its main theme is to get faster by going slower. The idea being that 80% of the time you should be running super easy, then for the remaining 20% of the time you run harder workouts. He’s built out a whole business model if you want to explore more at This 80/20 principle is covered in the first part of Run Like a Pro. The premise being that most weekend warriors train too fast on their easy days and not fast enough on their hard days. This isn’t a new concept. In fact, I’d say I tried it in the mid-90s when HR monitors were all the rage. I started training super slow, even walking hills because the slightest incline would cause a spike in HR. I’d like to say this led to incredible gains in fitness, but I can’t say I got any faster. In fact, I think I got slower if I remember correctly.

Fast forward 25+ years and I’m considering a similar approach. Why? Mainly because I think this approach will allow me to get in 2 workouts per week plus a long run while not getting burned out along the way. At least that’s the hope. Plus, on some level I enjoy the challenge/process of trying something new on myself to see if there’s a better way of doing things. There are a lot of other things in the book that I think are worth exploring more, but I’ll share those later. One challenge is that I like to run with people as much as I can. Typically, these runs would fall into this gray zone of being too fast for the 80% portion, but too slow for the 20% portion.

One thing Matt mentioned that he added during his summer of training like a pro was 20-minute shakeout runs, up to 5 times per week. I thought I’d start adding in a few of those throughout the week to see if they help (or hurt). I have 2 goals when doing them; 1) no GPS, just an ‘old school’ stopwatch and 2) run as slow as possible.

RECAP OF WEEK 12/4 – 12/11

Sunday – 11-mile trail run (1:55 – longest run by time since Grandma’s Marathon)

Monday – REST DAY

Tuesday – AM: Lifted, PM: 12K skate skiing

Wednesday – 5 miles easy

Thursday – NOON: 8-mile fat bike ride, PM: lifted w/ Scott

Friday – AM: 6-mile run w/ Scott, Jerald and Pat, PM: 20-minute shuffle

Saturday – AM: 11-mile run w/ Dave and Sarah

Summary: 35 miles of running, 8 miles of biking, 12K of skiing and 2 lifts

Quote of the day;

“As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” Ralph Waldo Emerson 

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