Book Review: Matt Fitzgerald – 80/20 Running

Tri Coach NZFitzgerald, Matt (2014) 80/20 Running – Run Stronger and Race Faster by Training Slower New American Library

I’ve been wanting to read this book since I heard it was published. Matt Fitzgerald is an engaging author who researches his topics thoroughly. He is a runner and a coach himself, but primarily a writer and has a number of books with a running or triathlon theme. Having finished 80/20 Running I’ve moved on to reading another of his books – Iron War which I have been wanting to read for many years. This is the story of the race to win the 1989 Hawaii Ironman.

Back to the book in hand.

This book is really great at helping you understand the science behind by why Arthur Lydiard’s training programmes and philosophy were so successful. Although it refers to a large body of scientific evidence, it is written in  such a way as not to overwhelm you with science, but simply written in layman’s terms which help you clearly understand each concept as it is introduced and discussed.

The main premise of the book is that 80% of your training is conducted at a low intensity and the remaining 20% is conducted at moderate or high intensity. For those that use the training intensities that I use in my coaching that is roughly equivalent to Level II, Borg 2-3, PZ3 or the Endurance Power or HR Zones.

This book is a great read for anyone participating in endurance exercise whether for sporting goals or health and fitness goals who would like an understanding of the ‘why’. Why is your training better and more beneficial at the lower intensity? It is also an exceptional read for coaches who would like to be reminded about the most proven training philosophy that has created the most successful athletes ever.

Reading this book has reinforced to me that I am doing the right thing with the training programmes that I produce and will continue to do so.

I don’t sell anything on this blog, the link above to Amazon allows you to purchase the book at the best price available. Amazon give me a small credit if you click the link and purchase the book through them. I would greatly appreciate it if you are going to purchase the book that you use this link.

If you would like further advice feel free to contact Coach Ray.

Coach Ray is the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant and is a prominent triathlon and marathon coach in New Zealand.

Coach Ray specialises in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. He can be contacted at www.qwik.kiwiray@qwikkiwi.com and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.

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Periodisation of a Season

There are a number of methods to periodise a training build up for an event. Some of the more prominent coaches and academics in this area include Tudor Bompa, Joe Friel & Jon Ackland. They have all written numerous books on the subject. The key aspect they all share is that you start off with general conditioning and then progress the training volume as you move closer to your major events of the season. As you move closer to these events more and more specific training is included. Intensity of training becomes more race like, the closer you get to your main race(s) and training volume is decreased (but not the intensity) as you get closesr to your major race(s).

Tri Training NZ
Jack Daniels, PhD

The philosophy and processes I use with my Qwik Kiwi athletes is based heavily on that of Jack Daniels, PhD (no not that Jack!!!!!!).  Jack has worked with a range of runners as a coach and as an academic since the 60’s and has developed what is known as the VDOT system in the Daniels’ Running Formula. As an athlete he competed at the Olympics and has coached recreational athletes through to Olympic level athletes, as well as being declared the “World’s Best Coach” by Runner’s World Magazine. What Jack does is break the season into four phases:

  • Phase I: Foundation training and Injury prevention (FI)
  • Phase II: Early Quality (EQ)
  • Phase III: Transition Quality (TQ)
  • Phase IV: Final Quality (FQ)

During each phase you have specific goals and aims of physiological development that we try to achieve. These will vary depending on what you are preparing for. Early Quality will look a lot different if you are trying to run 5km in under 16 minutes compared to if you are training to complete an Ironman.

Typically a season will be about half a year long to allow you a couple of build ups in a season. This will give six weeks training in each of the above phases.

Foundation training and Injury prevention (FI) Phase

During this phase you are preparing your body for the training that will come in the following weeks. You will be strengthening the connective tissues of your body so that when we load them up a little bit more during the quality phases they are strong enough to handle the loads given to them. Your muscle cells will be adapting  and we also start developing your aerobic base of fitness that will grow over the following phases.

This phase is primarily based around steady intensity efforts of a sustained duration that produce many desirable cellular adaptations in the muscles, heart and lungs which will make you more efficient. If training load is increased too quickly during this phase the body can often get burnt out if it isn’t ready for that much training load. I emphasis caution in this phase. Being slightly under-done in this phase results in  better results come the end of the FQ phase than if you over do it here.

Early Quality (EQ) Phase

This is a great opportunity to develop your economy and efficiency as well as some speed to get you prepared physically and mentally for the phases that follow.

Training during this phase is a step up in both duration and intensity from what was completed in the FI phase.  It will be getting you ready to handle the training load in the TQ phase. If there isn’t enough time to do any or much in this phase it will be minimised or missed out of shorter programmes.

Transition Quality (TQ) Phase

This is the toughest and most demanding of the training phases concentrating on long intervals. What is long for you and your events will vary depending on what your goals are.

Workouts in this phase build on what you have done previously. For this reason if key sessions are missed in the EQ phase I’ll often move them over into this phase so ensure we aren’t jumping ahead too far. Here we are optimising the components of fitness that are key to your primary event.

Final Quality (FQ) Phase

The best way to develop in this phase is from races and race-like training. Of course we need to recover more from training like that and once again it will all be dependant on your goals.

This phase is geared towards preparing for actual race conditions – intensity (& duration if not too long e.g. Ironman or marathon).

Planning the weeks

When there is enough time to plan a 24 week build up doing six weeks in each phase is great, but in very rare cases we manage to plan something with exactly 24 weeks to go. If you are lucky enough to be planning more than 24 weeks out from a major event we can spend more time in the FI phase and develop a very effective aerobic base, however more often or not there is less time than the 24 weeks. Here is a handy wee chart that is adapted from Jack Daniels’ book Daniels’  Running Formula.

No of Weeks

FI

EQ

TQ

FQ

1

1

2

2

3

3

4

3

1

5

3

2

6

3

3

7

3

1

3

8

3

2

3

9

3

3

3

10

3

1

3

3

11

3

2

3

3

12

3

3

3

3

13

4

3

3

3

14

4

3

4

3

15

4

3

5

3

16

4

3

6

3

17

4

3

6

4

18

4

4

6

4

19

4

5

6

4

20

4

6

6

4

21

5

6

6

4

22

5

6

6

5

23

6

6

6

5

24

6

6

6

6

If you have only got two weeks to prepare for an event you are best focussing your training on the FI phase. If however you have say……17 weeks to prepare then spend the first 3 weeks in the FI phase, then 3 weeks in the EQ phase, then 6 weeks in the TQ phase then 4 weeks in the FQ phase.

An overall training plan needs to build through the various phases of training in sequence to allow appropriate adaption in the time frame available. Following Jack Daniels’ methodology and adapting it for cyclists, triathletes and mountain bikers based on their personal goals I have been successfully planning the build ups of many athletes over many distances for a few years now. Previous to that I was heavily influenced by Jon Ackland and Joe Freil (and Tudor Bompa). What Jack Daniels does is give more detail but still follows the same principles of the other gurus of periodisation.

If you would like further advice feel free to contact Coach Ray.

Coach Ray is the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

Coach Ray specialises in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. He can be contacted at www.qwik.kiwi, ray@qwikkiwi.com and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.

Share this post so your friends can benefit as well.

Response to Lance Armstrong indicating that he wants to become a Trail Runner

This is my opinion in response to this article: http://running.competitor.com/2015/12/news/lance-armstrong-wins-35k-trail-running-race-in-california_141905

NZ Tri Training
Armstrong’s win at the Woodside Ramble 35K has set off debate over whether he should be allowed to compete in trail races. Photo by Jesse Ellis / Let’s Wander Photography

Those that know me, know that I am ANTI-DOPING and ANTI-DOPERS.

When Floyd Landis was announced as coming to NZ to ride in the Tour of Southland (TOS). I was like ‘No way’, ‘That’s wrong’, ‘WTF’, even though he had done his time. But over the week of the race, I was able to observe the positive role modelling he gave to his team members (he was leading a composite team of young Kiwi riders). He taught them the tactics of riding big multi-day tours and gave them a schooling they could only have got from riding ‘under the wing’ of a rider who has ridden at the level he has ridden at, which is not often available here in NZ. He also ‘sucked up’ and absorbed a LOT of banter and flack from a lot of riders and people involved in the TOS (not the organisers).  He has obviously developed a very thick skin, which also showed his team mates a level of professionalism that many would not be able to display.

What is the difference between Lance & Floyd?

Tri Training NZ
Floyd Landis
  • Floyd wasn’t given a life-time ban, that is one difference.
  • Floyd didn’t try and intimidate and dominate support personnel (mechanics, masseuses etc…) who tried to blow the whistle on his doping.
  • Floyd didn’t make the life of people who spoke out against him living hell.

At the awards function for the TOS I found myself standing alongside him and had a brief discussion, where I told him my opinion of drug cheats and thanked him for what he did for the young Kiwi cyclists. I am hopeful that his Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) days were long in his past (he certainly isn’t riding at the level he did whilst using them) and in the week he had with the young Kiwi cyclists that he only exposed them to the negative side of PED use. I had no involvement with the team he was riding for so I have no knowledge of what he did out of the spot light to confirm this, so I cross my fingers.

On the other hand Lance denied his cheating (until he had no other option but to admit it). Lance has an arrogance that he uses to bully people that don’t have the financial resources to stand up against his ‘legal team’ – people who when their life and family were threatened that they packed up their family and moved to the other side of the world giving up the career they loved to avoid the threats that Lance personally made to them (http://www.si.com/more-sports/2013/01/17/mike-anderson-lance-armstrong & http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/other-sports/8199912/Mike-Anderson-I-won-t-sue-Lance-Armstrong).

Lance’s attitude and approach is not good for sport. If he had said ‘Yeah I used them’ then done the ‘time’ for his crime and got on with his life without the associated ‘drama’ (like a number of other convicted PED users have done in a range of sports) he possibly would have avoided the life-time ban. If he had initially worked with the investigators he possibly would have avoided the life-time ban. But he didn’t do either of these things and he got a life-time ban from sport (which I believe he deserves).

He hasn’t done anything positive since ‘coming clean’.  A more apt term might be ‘coming out’ but that would be insulting to compare and associate Lance with the GLBT community.  They actually have pride in who they are Lance on the other hand only has arrogance).

Even as recently as last week the PR machine that is Lance was trying to convince the world that he didn’t actually do anything that was too wrong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEfSdPz1WtA

A life time ban should mean a life time ban.

Keep him well away from trail running and any other sport that has any credibility.

I am proud to stand behind this opinion piece and have this represent Qwik Kiwi.  Nothing can be more annoying where an opinion piece is followed by a disclaimer that it doesn’t represent the business that the author is associated with. – Ray Boardman.

Oonagh and the Sunshine Coast Marathon

To endure 42.2km’s, on a flat warm Queensland course was the goal.  Executing effective training when you do Fly In/Fly Out work 2 weeks on/off, working 13 days in a row was not going to be easy.  Neither was training from the small remote island of Nauru, 50km south of the equator.  So I requested the help of Ray Boardman.

Ray designed a programme around me working hardest when I was home and maintaining my endurance whilst away.  Nauru is a flat island with heat averaging around 30 degrees.  Wild dogs are everywhere so the available running routes are minimal.   But to help me through I had set a secondary goal… to raise money for a sick little baby Poppy Harrison and to measure my progress with a Half Marathon on the Gold Coast in July.  This helped me stay on track during the most challenging times.  When you do something for someone else, the fear of failing them becomes bigger than the originating goal.  It definitely was not without its challenges.  This is my normal routine when in Nauru, where fitting in sleep and training become my main two priorities over the last 4 months.

Dayshift
0400 – Get up
0440 – Bus to breakfast (25min)
0530 – Bus to work
0600 – 1800 Work 12 hr shift
1815 – Run home through 1km goat  track
1930 – Cool down, shower, eat, relax
2100 – Sleep

Nightshift
1430 – Get Up – conduct training
1530 – Cool down , Shower
1630 – Bus to Dinner
1730 – Bus to work
1800 – 0600  Work 12 hr shift
0615 – Bus to accommodation (30min)
0700 – Shower, eat
0730 – Sleep

Regardless of our circumstances, location or resources, any goal can be achieved if your REASON WHY is clear.  For it is not the achievement of the goal that makes it worthwhile; it is the journey and the person that you become along the way that is the biggest achievement of all.

New Zealand’s Newest Marathon Course – Taupo, NZ

Listen to your Coach… Listen to your Body!

These are words that I used to pay lip service to, but eventually they rang true.  I have written previous articles about completing an Ironman or completing a Half Marathon, etc with varying results.  It wasn’t until I was completely disappointed with myself and my results from the Ironman NZ 2013 that I decided to get a Coach.  My selection was simple.  It was Ray Boardman from Qwik Kiwi, not just because I knew him as a Physical Training Instructor in the New Zealand Army, but because I saw him on the course that day supporting his clients and noted that he stayed out there to provide encouragement when I was struggling. He didn’t have to as he had clients that had finished, but he showed an installed belief to look out for those that needed help.

This brings me to my catch phrase of ‘Listen to your Coach… Listen to your Body’. Once I signed up with Ray I went about his training program with enthusiasm, but when I missed training for various reasons such as injury or work commitments I would play catch up and hammer myself, but then have to let Ray know that I had an injury which came down to not following the program correctly.  Ray’s advice is “If you miss a training session, get over it and move on”.  He is dead right, and since then I have had little to no injuries.  Being stubborn though, I’m not very good at listening to my body, and it comes down to more than just the signals the brain receives from injuries!

Taupo has a long standing Half Marathon Course.  In fact in the district they have three over the period of July, August and September which I have competed in.  But for the township they have never had a full stand-alone Marathon course until August 2015 (albeit the Ironman in Taupo has a Marathon component).  I was eager to be part of their first Marathon and negotiated my training programme with Ray.

Unfortunately I felt the flu building up in the few days leading up to the event, but I met at Huka Falls for the 0730 hours start in the cold, wearing a T-Shirt as I knew I would heat up later.

The Taupo Marathon being the newest Marathon course in New Zealand is set in a beautiful setting where we ran across the Huka Falls Bridge and alongside before heading to an off-road trail run on Mountain Bike trails for about 20 km’s, followed by hitting the roads around the lake for the remaining 22.2 km’s, which is incidentally part of the Ironman Marathon Course.  The rain held off and the scenery is spectacular, but in hindsight I should have listened to my body and not competed, the event took me almost four and a half hours where I coughed and spluttered the whole way round and made myself worse for wear which hindered my continual training.

However, if you wish to find a full Marathon course with beautiful scenery, check out Taupo, NZ in August 2016.

Remember – listen to not only your Coach, but also listen to your Body…

John Humphries

Wellington Half Marathon

This time around this event would be part of a handful of confidence boosters in my build up to Challenge Wanaka 2016 (first ever iron-distance).

I wanted to run this event in 2.30 hrs (even-though previously I’d done it faster), feel “comfortable” and not cause any of injuries I’ve been recovering from over the last 12 months to flare up, so this was going to be a challenge.

The week beforehand I started to doubt achieving this goal so I sent Coach a text – give me a pace to run or realistic time to finish in, but really do want to go under 2.30. In Ray’s response on pace & time was also the final sentence “You can do this”.

I lined up at the start knowing that the first few kilometres could be quite congested so decided to “go with the flow” which ended up being faster than my target pace, but I felt relaxed knowing it would settle. I had also decided to try and keep slightly under pace target as I knew the northerly on the return would play its part as well as fatigue over the last 5kms.

I not only came in in 2.29.12 (officially), but best of all I felt good – comfortable, in control, injury free and importantly going forward a step up in confidence.

Yes, I can do this!

 

Helen Majorhazi

Christchurch Marathon and Half Marathon

Gerard is training hard as he prepares for the World 70.3 Triathlon Championships, this involves swimming 1900m then cycling 90km prior to finishing with a half marathon. As part of his goal setting for the world champs he set a number of goals, one of which was to run sub 1:20hr for a half marathon. We targeted the Christchurch Half Marathon to achieve this goal. This is his story about how it went for him: Continue reading “Christchurch Marathon and Half Marathon”