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80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster by Training Slower
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80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster by Training Slower

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  2,851 ratings  ·  235 reviews
This revolutionary training method has been embraced by elite runners - with extraordinary results - and now you can do it too.

Respected running and fitness expert Matt Fitzgerald explains how the 80/20 running program - in which you do 80 per cent of runs at a lower intensity and just 20 per cent at a higher intensity - is the best change runners of all abilities can make
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 26th 2015 by Penguin (first published September 2nd 2014)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  2,851 ratings  ·  235 reviews

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Neil Gaudet
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books a lot of runners will avoid because they don't want to be told to run slower. Truth be told we probably all often run our fast runs too slow and slow runs too fast. This is a sensible book. Easy to read and one of the better running books I've picked up this year. Other than the running form advice (I preferred Cool Impossible for running form) I thought the advice given was sound and reasonable. ...more
Lukas Vermeer
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good balance between scientific background and practical guidance. Clearly structured arguments, supported by anecdotal examples as well as research studies, show why (lots of) slow running improves performance.

There are multiple mechanisms at work here (e.g. the effects on fitness and skill are discussed separately), and there is not one line of evidence to support this idea (e.g evolutionary, observational, and controlled studies are all presented). This book does a great job of bringing all o
Apr 04, 2015 rated it liked it
It felt like there was more background and selling of the idea of 80/20 running than 80/20 running itself, but it's a fairly simple concept so I guess there's not too much that needs to be said about actual application outside of training plans. I read this before reading 'The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition' and I felt like I got more out of that one overall (plus there is a small section there that mentions 80/20 running as well) but this did have a nice overview for someone ...more
Carlos Martinez
Jun 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: running
Useful and practical, albeit repetitive, book on how to improve your running fitness. Although it's directed primarily at people who run in races (from 5k to marathon), I think it applies perfectly well to the casual jogger that simply wants to get fitter and generally level up a bit with their running.

The bottom line is: run more, and go slower. Going slower helps you run more. The default run gets you to zone 2 of 5 in terms of pace, heart rate and/or perceived effort (or in my case, the exten
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it
The reason why I decided to give this book a whirl: I've been stuck at a 1:49:some change PR for my half marathon since 2012. I really want to break 1:49:00... but I don't want it badly enough to drastically alter my lifestyle to do it. So I keep wondering and researching - do I need run more track workouts/fast stuff? Incorporate more strength training? More cross training? Eat differently? Work on my running form? Or is it all a futile attempt because my body is comfortable with an 8:20 pace a ...more
Sarah Fortier
Apr 26, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This definitely could have just been one chapter on the science behind the method, one chapter on the different runs,and then the actual plans. There were three freaking chapters just on the 'science' behind it. Ugh, so much wasted time reading this book. AND I actually paid for it on kindle because I didn't want to wait for it! 9.99$ down the drain man. ...more
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, running
B Very dense and better for those into coaching and really seeking every little detail. Basically, if you do 80% of your running easy and 20% at intensity, that is the best combo for awesome successful running. (Someone should tell this to quite a few runner that I know!)
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good info. Fast read.

I’d say this is pretty standard knowledge in the endurance world, but just more in-depth, siting studies and examples.

There are always the HIIT people arguing with the long-slow-distance people, but this pretty much says you need a healthy mix of the two.

I listened to the audiobook so I couldn’t see the training plans, but I’m going to download the corresponding PDF’s & give this a try.

Lots of math and calculations for finding your HR, pace and perceived effort, which I wil
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, running
The 80/20 method of training is the one adopted by many top athletes such as Paula Radcliffe or Mo Farrah. However, recreational runners usually train fast because thy don't know better. The author quite technically explains why the 80/20 method would benefit them too.

Running performance is first determined by fitness. Your fitness depends on your aerobic capacity (body's ability to fuel muscles with oxygen) and your fatigue resistance. It’s counter-intuitive to recommend to run slow to run fas
Jan 08, 2021 rated it liked it
An interesting read but I'm not 100% certain how easy some of this will be to implement for the casual runner; particularly since it requires you to calculate Lactate Threshold Heart Rate. As best as I can tell I'm going to have to do this manually. I'm not 100% sure how I feel about the program's lack of strength training. ...more
Michelle Barker
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-reads, training
Great book about a training method I have finally fully embraced, after learning the hard way.
Started to train at a lower intensity because of this book. Im enjoying it a lot more now that I have, much easier to increase the overall volume of training this way. 👍
Ok. Hm. So I'm not a runner by any stretch of the imagination. I'm doing the couch to 5km thing as part of how I'm dealing with social isolation is all. So I'm not the audience for this book. Now the idea that many recreational athletes go too hard on their "easy runs" is not new to me, I've read a few cycling training books and as a similar endurance sport they have some of the same issues so I didn't need the long justification.

Fitzgerald and Johnson give a history of the training method, some
Nikki Soulsby
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
How often do you get to read a book about running where they tell you that you don't have to kill yourself every single time you hit the trail/treadmill? I loved this book. It's filled with scientific studies and juicy real world examples. The author makes a great case for endurance training as opposed short HIIT workouts, which is so commonly prescribed in the fitness industry. As a person who is an endurance athlete, this is my jam! I am totally fine with running for a couple of hours at an in ...more
Jacques Bezuidenhout
Having done HR based training myself, the contents of this book made perfect sense.
Although more focused towards the beginner. I did like the sections about cross-training and injuries.

I'd recommend this book to friends that are struggling to get started or improving, or deals with injuries. There is a lot of explanation about why doing things at lower intensity is useful.

It also backs up the concept with training plans, which is helpful.

The biggest struggle is probably the conversion between mi
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quick read but useful. The first few chapters are skimmable (studies supporting the 80/20 method) but be sure to read the last few, where he talks about injury prevention and cross training.
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I wish I read this book a few years ago. It could have helped me achieve become a better runner.

The main idea behind this book is simple but somewhat counterintuitive at first. To go faster, you need to do about 80% of your running in low intensity zone and the remaining 20% in moderate and high intensity zones. This is apparently what elite athletes are doing in their training programs whereas most recreational runners are spending majority of its running in moderate intensity level. And accord
Garlan ✌
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a very informative read but it felt like it had a lot of redundancy built in, and a bit too technical jargon at times. It did help me identify one of the major reasons that my running regimen has plateaued over the past 2-3 years. I'm going to try to implement this philosophy over the next several months and see if it works for me. I think most runners would get helpful advice from this book, even if it is, at times, a bit confusing. Closer to a 3 1/2 star rating. ...more
Rebecca Spence
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: running
I really enjoyed this book, so much that I finished it within 2 days. I'm a keen runner wanting to tackle my first ultra marathon but have recently been plagued by an Achilles injury recently from over training. This method was a godsend, I absolutely loved hearing the science behind running slower, knowing it's not only good for preventing injury but also for improving performance and my ability to increase my endurance.

I'm now using my heartrate to monitor my low intensity and am using this m
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads
This is the best running book I’ve picked this year.
More often, recreational runners tend to run faster than they are required to.
Mostly, every recreational runner doesn’t like to be told to slow down. (Been there.)
This book gives perfect theory behind why slowing down is more important and useful for betterment.

Going to apply many things I learnt from this book to my training.
A must read for a runner who tends to run fast and becomes injured more often.
Tiaan Stassen
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good technical running book. Would def suggest for a beginner runner.
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my second reading of 80/20 Running. I've read quite a few of Matt Fitzgerald's running books, and this is my favorite. I usually chase the "new thing" when it comes to training plans, so it's rare that I use the same one. This time, I'm not only re-using this plan, but it's also for the same race. Why? This book has convinced me of the benefits of 80% easy running or cross-training, building on the famous Lydiard approach (i.e., the more miles, the better). It's not just the science Fitz ...more
Katie Ricklefs
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
A little disappointed. I’ve loved other books by Matt Fitzgerald (How Bad Do You Want It? and The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition: A Cutting-Edge Plan to Fuel Your Body Beyond "the Wall"), but 80/20 running was nothing special. Basically, 80% your training should be easy, truly easy, runs and the rest should be higher intensity. He repeats himself a lot when it’s unnecessary, and the training plans aren’t helpful.

I'd recommend those other two books way before this one.
Sep 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm rounding up on this one even though it wasn't quite 3 stars. This is a nonfiction/health kind of book. I love reading books like this, but this one...well not so much. I used to run for fun and have recently got back into the habit. So I was expecting to really be into this, and I wasn't. A lot of this was so over my head. I think if you want to get the most out of this, don't listen to the audio (especially at double speed). There is so much info that is unloaded here rather quickly.....I h ...more
Jul 28, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Good advice at start....thought yes I'm going to take note and maybe try. At end it seemed to contradict itself so I think I'll carry on with what I know and maybe just take note of the extra cross training in my training rather than 80 slow, 20% fast. ...more
Jamie Theriault
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not a lot of new information, but a good reminder and reinforcer. Great for new runners or runners who do not have coaches.
Edwin Setiadi
Feb 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, running
The training method that pro runners use

Over the years, running has become my obsession and I’ve managed to read several books on the subject including Build Your Running Body, few books by RunnersWorld, and a brilliant one by the legendary Hal Higdon. But nothing so far have come close to be as practical as this book.

The first few chapters of the book trace back the various training methods throughout history by enigmatic characters, from Emil Zátopek and Paavo Nurmi, to Arthur Lydiard whom fir
Rory Armstrong
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Yup, another person while in lockdown getting there old crusty running shoes on.

As a newish runner - give me enough time and I can bash out a 5k eventually - I was looking to create a sort of plan to improve my running. Currently I do 4 days a week of strength training so my plan was only up to three days a week of running so as not to interfere with my primary fitness goals. My impression was to go for 'proper' running workouts to maximise my time.
So I first watched a video by the 'Global Triat
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this book, and I guess I ended up liking it, but the redundancy of it made it seem like I was running an ultra-marathon instead of enjoying a nice long run. Yes, I'm being humorous, but the problem is that Matt Fitzgerald really repeated things over and over and over and over again and again. The history of running and why LSD is now the way to give you the best results was great in the beginning.

However, from that point on he kept repeating, now wait for it, "You should
Chloe Noland
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've always loved Matt Fitzgerald's tips and techniques for runners, specifically his nutritional advice and brain-training formula. After a couple of setbacks due to injuries, my running goals have plateaued a bit lately, and I picked this up on a whim, knowing that Fitzgerald is a wealth of good information and resources. I wasn't expecting to want to change my entire approach to the sport after reading this, but it totally has happened! He goes into amazing detail on the main reason why recre ...more
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Matt Fitzgerald is the author of numerous books on sports history and endurance sports. He has enjoyed unprecedented access to professional endurance athletes over the course of his career. His best-sellers include Racing Weight and Brain Training for Runners. He has also written extensively for Triathlete, Men's Fitness, Men's Health, Outside, Runner's World, Bicycling, Competitor, and countless ...more

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These twelve books are so consistently adored, they have become regulars month after month in our data of most popular and most read books on...
123 likes · 43 comments
“Low-intensity, high-volume training develops the sort of suffering tolerance that enhances fatigue resistance more effectively than does speed-based training. Fast runs may hurt more, but long runs hurt longer. The slow-burn type of suffering that runners experience in longer, less intense workouts is more specific to racing.” 3 likes
“It appears, then, that the approach to training” 0 likes
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