Why 8020 Endurance?

8020Endurance is an ethical company, run by uber-knowledgeable people, who demonstrate not only true professionalism, but genuine humility and an unwavering mission to help endurance athletes or ALL levels reach their goals. And I mean from just off the couch 5Kers to professional Ironman Triathletes and Ultra Marathoners. Perhaps most importantly, their training plans just work. I know. I use them and owe my results to them.

The long answer

I am an athlete. A fast-twitch, long ago now U.S. college football player, turned endurance athlete in my late 50s. Yes, you read that correctly. Late 50s. I also have a Kinesiology and research background, having co-published what at the time was a ground-breaking dietary intervention study on free fatty acids (you know, this now ubiquitous Omega 3, 6 and 9s you can get everywhere today) that was scientific journal-published back in my University days. All to say, I have a super critical science-based approach to, well, pretty much everything. When it comes to training plans, let’s just say I find myself always trying to weed out the wheat from the chafe. I don’t believe in promises and am allergic to hype.

So why 8020Endurance?  Well, they’re different. I think it’s their modesty and mission. In today’s highly commoditized high performance sports and fitness industry, they demonstrate their value-add and differentiate themselves in the marketplace thanks to their unorthodox and disarming manner. They do not brag and they do not promise. They claim that 80/20 is more than a brand and openly admit that neither they, nor even renowned sports scientist Stephen Seiler invented it. It is, quite simply, a percentage balance of training intensities. For 8020Endurance co-founders Matt Fitzgerald and David Warden, sharing it with others became their mission. Just like countless athletes and researchers have done over the years, once the old adage of “No-Pain-No-Gain” was de-bunked as an ineffective macho (to not say masochistic) philosophy.

Nothing beats one-on-one tailored coaching says Fitzgerald (and I agree), but as two individuals, there’s only so much coaching bandwidth they can handle. While 8020Endurance coaching certification is in the works, the next best thing (and way more financially accessible to the masses) are their plethora of excellent training plans. Available on the Training Peaks online platform, their plans cover the gamut of endurance sports from easy and light short-distance running for the average Joe and Jane motivated to get off the couch, to all-out world championship-level Ironman triathlon and extreme ultra marathon training plans. At a fraction of personalized coaching and accessible to most everyone. And in their typical fashion, they openly encourage you to change plans (at no additional cost by the way), if you did not pick the correct level for your chosen sport. There’s no “sorry that’s our policy” with this company. They are not out to take advantage of anyone. Which brings me to the final reason I was sold: they care! Ethical philosophy corporately and despite great personal knowledge and experience, humility and modesty personally. How could I not buy into that?

So for anyone just getting into (or back into) physical exercise, why should you purchase a 8020Endurance training plan? Well there are a ton is different reasons, depending on your goals. But perhaps the three most important might be:

  1. If you are unsure who to prepare your own training plan, they take the guesswork out of it.
  2. If you want to avoid injuries as you build up your fitness, you’re golden (actually, who wouldn’t want that?). Who knew training could be fun and not agonizing or boring?
  3. But perhaps most importantly, if you want the most effective way to reach your goals (yes, even if you’re not a professional athlete), following these plans will help get you there.

On that last point, it is well-documented how elite endurance athletes simply train too hard. That is: spend too much time in heart rate, pace or power zones that are not optimal to building endurance fitness and performance at the highest possible level come race day. Why? Professionals and elite athletes are not afraid of pain. And many, despite scientific evidence to the contrary and despite the approaches of world champions and the best professionals for years now (who have adopted an 80/20 approach), have subconsciously bought into the idea that more is better. They can’t get past it even if they know intellectually that they train too much. But practically, despite cognitively knowing it, emotionally they still push too much.

Slogging for hours and hours on an indoor trainer and pushing yourself as hard as possible, must be better than “easier” workouts. Repeating to themselves: “So many people don’t have my drive and determination, but i can do this!” Right? Wrong! Hard-headed as elite athletes are, this is difficult to understand. Even more so to put into practice. Even when adhered to and performance results follow, the elite athlete still must fight that urge to push too hard, too often and the wrong times.

What does this means to us non-Olympians? Those of us weekend joggers or even triathlon age groupers? Well it’s not just good news, it’s great news! Training for endurance sports need not be difficult. Sure, it starts with determination that then becomes a habit. And there will be some days (that 20% of training) where you’ll need to push. But with that will come the results. Want injuries, exhaustion, motivation blues, and multiple other negative mental and physical health repercussions? Go crazy and train like a maniac. Want results and meet your performance goals and whatever level and enjoy sport? Go 8020Endurance. I have. And I will never look back.

Click on the image below to check out their extensive library of training plans (including free ones) and be sure to check out their multiple resources, blog and podcast episodes.