Matt Fitzgerald - COCI, Pacing, 80/20, and Long COVID

Matt Fitzgerald - COCI, Pacing, 80/20, and Long COVID


We are so thankful to be able to call Matt Fitgerald a mentor and friend. We've been working with this best-selling author and a true pillar of the endurance community for the past year. And he's helped us in so many aspects of our business.

In this episode, we talk about the creation of the 80/20 Foundation, and the Coaches of Color Initiative - a foundation that we're very closely tied to. We talk about the principles of 80/20 training - and its proliferation. We chat about Matt's latest book - a deep dive into the principles of pacing. We also chat about Long Haul Covid - a disease that has been absolutely devastating for Matt.



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Podcast Transcription

The following transcript is provided for your convenience. It was created through a program, and may not be entirely accurate to our conversation.

[00:00:00] Matt Fitzgerald:
So, you know, that's a mistake that allowed of, you know, white people make in a white majority country. It's like, oh, there's us and there's everyone else. Uh, No,

no, it's not like that. You know? Diversity is diverse. And so I'm not just talking about like necessarily you know, ethically or geographically, it's like ages experience, like everything you spoke to, like, you know, you name it.

[00:00:33] Kevin Chang:
Hello and welcome to the RaceMob podcast. This is episode number 77.

I'm Kevin entrepreneur technology and fitness nerd. And I'm joined by the head coach of RaceMob and master motivator at the incomparable Bertrand new.

We are so thankful to be able to call Matt Fitzgerald, a mentor and friends. We've been working with this bestselling author and true pillar of the endurance community for the past year. And he's helped us in so many aspects of our business.

In this episode, we talk about the creation of the 80 20 foundation and the coaches of color initiative, a foundation, which were very closely tied to. We talk about the principles of 80 20 training and its proliferation to other sports which had about math, latest book, a deep dive into the principles of pacing.

We also talk about long haul COVID a disease that has been absolutely devastating to Matt. All the show notes can be found Online at RaceMob dot com slash podcast and without further ado, here's our conversation.

Hey, there RaceMob audience. We are so excited to welcome. So the podcast, the one and only Matt Fitzgerald.

Welcome back to the RaceMob podcast.

[00:01:41] Matt Fitzgerald:
Good to be back. There are actually many Matt Fitzgerald's I've I've tracked it. I've tracked a few others

[00:01:49] Kevin Chang:
and only in my eyes. Yeah, you are the woman only. So thank you so much for joining us again. I know that you were one of the first RaceMob podcast guests that we had on the show, and it's so fantastic to have, I mean, you know, your best-selling author.

You're involved in so many different initiatives across the running world both on, you know, the, the authorship side, but also on the coaching side, we know 80 20 is really one of these programs that so many, few people, people have been following some great stuff. And then obviously we want it to get into the coaches of color initiative amongst one of the many, many initiatives that you've been part of.

And you know, we know that our very own coach B is a big part of that initiative. I'm a part of the initiative behind the scenes as well. And we've been making steady progress throughout. So welcome again to the program. Matt let's, let's go ahead and dive right in to coaches of color, because I think that's what a lot of people are interested in learning.

[00:02:46] Matt Fitzgerald:
Awesome. Yeah, it feels like a, just like a family reunion here. We're all, we're all on the same team here. It's pretty

[00:02:55] Kevin Chang:
cool. Oh yeah. Yeah. And I know behind the scenes, we've been having several conversations since this last year, even. I mean, Coach "B" and you filmed a video to introduce coaches of color, not too long ago.

So you've been making trips here out here to the bay area and, and meeting up behind the scenes.

[00:03:11] Matt Fitzgerald:
Yep. Yeah. A lot of plotting and planning. You can only do so many podcasts, but yeah, we, we, we do, we do talk when the camera's off.

[00:03:21] Kevin Chang:
That's right. Well, I mean, talk to us about coaches of color. We know you're deeply involved in the organization.

This kind of was a brainchild of yours came about from yourself. Yeah. Talk to us about the program in general.

[00:03:33] Matt Fitzgerald:
Yeah, I want to say actually my memory is faulty, but it might've been my, my 80, 20 endurance business partner, David warden, who initially kind of had the idea And so, and I think he would gladly take credit, but, but either, either way, like I was like, we should kind of share the same, like, you know, the same motivations behind it.

And you know, the idea is, is very simple and straight forward. You know, Well, I love endurance sports. I think that, you know, endurance sports only become richer as they become more diverse. And we historically just haven't been where we want to be in that regard, at least, you know, in north America where we're, where we are.

Um, So coaches, the coaches of color initiative is just like, you know, it's not going to solve the entire problem. But it is like a very focused, close to home initiative where we're trying to create, you know, meaningful support and opportunities for people of color who aspire to be endurance coaches.

So, you know, the model is. Call an apprenticeship grant. So it's, you know, we want to have, you know, like, I mean, there's, there is money involved a $1,000 monthly stipend for the period of a year for at least the first grant recipient. But, but we want it to be really a soup to nuts mentorship or apprenticeship program where, you know, by the time this person gets out, the other side of it.

They're in a completely different place. You know, they've got training, they've got a network, they've got experience, they've got credentials, you know, they're ready to go. And the support won't end there, you know, the, the, you know, the, the formal, you know, apprenticeship will, will, but I mean, you know, the idea, the vision anyway is for this, you know, to just be an ongoing Uh, sort of thing.

Well, I

[00:05:22] Kevin Chang:
mean, man, I know that you know, while you're a Caucasian male, you have dealt with racism in the past. We, we know you know, that this is a very personal initiative for yourself. Can, can you kind of dive into that a little bit with our.

[00:05:38] Matt Fitzgerald:
Yeah. I mean uh, yeah, I, I've never been the personal object of racism in my recollection, but I know I am married to an African-American woman on the talkie and I met in 1997 uh, married in 2001.

And you know, I live in Northern California and even though I'm from the east coast, so my, my family is all spread out. The talking to my wife grew up in Oakland um, which is not too terribly far from, from where I sit. No, I've been around her family a lot and you know, there they are my family. And so yeah, when, when, you know, when racism is in the news or when, you know, she and I together have experienced stuff, that's, you know, not beyond the pale, but you know, isn't cool.

You know, it is personal for me, you know, I guess, you know, more than it was. I mean, I grew up in New Hampshire, literally the whitest state in America. So like, yeah, it's the stuff. It hits a lot closer to home than it would if I had just married someone else and had a different life. And that doesn't mean that like, it's like to me know when I say, I mean, it's personal, I actually meet it in the sense that like, this is sort of a joyful undertaking for me.

It's fun. Like for me, like, I, I just love being around it. Like I love being in a diverse environment. And, and so, you know, to me, it's just so easy to, to roll up my sleeves and do the work to require to make this thing happen, you know? Cause like, you know, the, the motivation comes very, very easily.

[00:07:10] Bertrand Newson:
And Matt to ask the obvious question, why.

You know, what was it that you feel was, was speaking to you and David to, to like pull the trigger and to put this into action. Now,

[00:07:22] Matt Fitzgerald:
a couple of things um, you know, one is, you know, the. you know, the strife that erupted after George Floyd's murder in was in March of 2020. You know, just, you know, a lot of people started talking about, you know, all right, it's time to do something.

It's like, you know, no matter who you are or where you are, if you care, you know, it's time for just everybody to do something. So, you know, I w I was swept up in the. Um, That was a big impetus, but also it helped that my business was far enough along to actually be able to contemplate to actually to have the resources and wherewithal, to contemplate doing something like this.

So, you know, if it had been a year earlier, it just. Yeah, it would've been too much too soon, I guess, to take something like this on. So we, we were very much ready where we were in a good position to, you know, we're starting small, you know, we're, we're, we're, you know, it's just one grant we want to like, you know, measure twice.

Cut once, get it. Hey, I'll have it be a success and then, and then build on that. So, you know, the timing was right. I guess it was a timing thing on both

[00:08:30] Kevin Chang:
sides. And what I love about the program is it's not just the grants, right? It's not just the, the stipend and the grants, but it is like all encompassing soup to nuts.

As you, as you described before, So give somebody success in this industry. And we know that as a tough industry, it's not an easy industry to, to move into, you know, coach and I have been starting coaching this coaching program, you know, behind the scenes. And obviously it has taken time. It has taken effort.

It has taken somebody to bounce ideas off of a lot of brainstorming, a lot of things behind the scenes. So I love that you are bringing in mentors, bringing in other advisors, bringing in, you know, a lot of these. Aspects that makes a coach successful. I guess, talk to us about the other advisory members that you have, you know, obviously in addition to the stipend, there's so much else that um, you know, this, this coach is also going to be privy to be part of.

So, I mean, talk to us a little bit. About all the other stuff as well. Yeah.

[00:09:28] Matt Fitzgerald:
I mean, you know, it was clear from the get-go, you know, as mentioned, I am white, David
warden is also white. And so we knew that in order to, to pull this off, you know, measure twice, cut once, right. In order to do this right. And not like make a bunch of unforced errors, we needed a diverse team around.

To build it. Um, And so, you know, the first person I thought of to reach out to was my friend Corey. No, not you Bertrand.

I'm just kidding. Um, Well, yeah, my friend, my friend, Corey, who actually is a trusted confidant, but in terms of like finding a co-director for, for the coaches of color initiative, cause I really wanted to be very actively and. But I knew that it wasn't like, it would be bad if I was, you know, trying to run the show.

It really had to be a team thing. So yeah. I reached out to Bertrand and said, you know, would you be willing to help me? Do you know, a lot of the heavy lifting to get this thing rolling and to keep it rolling? He said, yes, thank goodness. And then we built a, an advisory team around us, Kevin, you know, all about our board of advisors because you much to our benefit are, are a member of it as well.

So we've got you on the advisory board and also Angelina Ramos, who is a collegiate track and field and running coach. Um, She's at ball, state university now we had her on our podcast recently and she's just, man, she puts other coaches to shame. It's like, like, seriously, if you want to be a coach, like, listen to her, talk about coaching for awhile.

And you're like, okay. I better, I better raise my game, you know, just like, you know, some people are just born for it now. Yeah. So she's one of those. And then India. Who was actually recommended by a Bertrand. So Bertrand started like earning his stripes right away. When, when I asked him to do this he suggested India.

And you, as a matter of fact India cook who's a runner uh, a coach as well. You know, she's one of these folks like Bertrand who came to running a little bit later and brings that perspective. And also as a community builder uh, she has a podcast of her own. Bertrand and I have been on that.

So yeah, that's, that's, that's the team. And then we have other additional support from, you know, the 80, 20 endurance foundation, which kind of oversees the coaches of color initiative is a technically a separate entity from the company. But of course it's, you know, it's all hands on deck. So yeah.

In addition to David our newly hired director of training, Layla Portus she's going to be instrumental. She she's really going to have a lot of interaction. Um, Our grant recipient um, and also Hannah Hunt staff who just like our marketing and social media Maven. And you, you know, Hannah.

[00:12:13] Kevin Chang:

Yeah. Hannah is fantastic. And I mean, we do have to give a shout out to your podcast that you recently launched and, you know, I know that so many moving parts behind the scenes in order to launch a podcast. So congrats. We know you had Coach "B" on recently. So you know, I think a lot of fantastic things behind the scenes at 80 20.

[00:12:33] Matt Fitzgerald:
Yes. Yep. Yeah. It's funny you guys uh, let us into the podcasting realm. So yeah, you, you were picking my brain, but I was also taking notes.

[00:12:42] Kevin Chang:
Well, always happy to share, always happy to share. I mean, I think that's the fun part about this, this family there's always room for more um, especially just, just more fantastic minds and what you bring to the podcasting realm and tell them in terms of. In terms of your background in terms of everything else is just fantastic.

So we really encourage our audience to go check out your podcast and this.

[00:13:02] Matt Fitzgerald:
Thank you, Kevin,

[00:13:06] Bertrand Newson:
how do you feel things are going so far. Since we have announced, since we've shared the launch video and that we're receiving applications for the grant, have there been any surprises? Has it been what you thought?

any like aha moments that you'd like to share with the audience from just being rewarding overall or, you know, it's not what I think.

[00:13:25] Matt Fitzgerald:
Yeah. You know, for me, I don't know why it wasn't. I was so taken off guard by it. But when we received the first application that was powerful. It really was because like this person likes.

I mean, even if, even if it had been the only application we got, I would have been so happy, you know? Cause like this person, I know, you know, if this person is actually chosen, w will, will benefit from, and, you know, take full advantage of, because this is not a handout type of thing. Like you have to, this is an opportunity that someone has to take advantage of.

I'm a worrier by nature. So the whole time out, you know, we were putting this thing together. I'm like, what could go wrong? What could go wrong? And then, yeah, it just, but it became real when it's like a name and you know, a picture and a story you know, like, wow, I mean, this is like real, this is real.

This is actually happening. And it's actually only gotten better from there, you know? Pretty good. Again, we don't have a ton of resources uh, but we got like pretty good. We've gotten pretty good exposure. Like it's just been very well received. And you know, we're, I think we're around two dozen applications.

Now we had a four week window and these are like serious people. Like people who are not just like, oh, a thousand dollars a month. Like, no, they're, they're like people like, you know, I wish I had two dozen of these opportunities. The handout. So it's just, for me, it's been like very, very gratifying and it's going to be the same thing all over again.

When like we make a decision and this thing rolls out, you know I think that'll be fun in a whole new.

[00:15:04] Kevin Chang:
Have you seen a pattern in terms of like types of applicants? Are they mainly people who have running backgrounds have endurance backgrounds, but haven't gotten into, you know, coaching or are they coaches that are looking to kind of expand their career or um, have you seen kind of any, any patterns?

[00:15:20] Matt Fitzgerald:
That's the other thing, which is actually like equally gratifying because. You know, from that first application, I couldn't have imagined the diversity of the actual applicant pool that we've seen since then. So, you know, that's a mistake that allowed of, you know, white people make in a white majority country.

It's like, oh, there's us and there's everyone else. Uh, No,

no, it's not like that. You know? Diversity is diverse. Um, And so I'm not just talking about like necessarily you know, ethically or geographically, it's like ages experience, like everything you spoke to, like, you know, you name it, you know, we've had, you know, people from, you know, not just north America, but other countries you know, people in different endurance sports disciplines.

So it's like, it's not all runners. It's also you know, triathletes and people co who coach track. I mean, this is the whole idea. Right. And so it just, w I feel like we, we, we've gotten a few things right. You know, up to this point.

[00:16:26] Bertrand Newson:
Yeah. And on my end being on the other side, behind the scenes, watching the applications come through, as you mentioned, the level of diversity from a geographical standpoint, man, you touched on.

So many people from different parts of the world, which is so cool, incredibly high caliber qualified individuals. So I'm glad that this decision does not just rest with Matt and myself, that we have an advisory board that will help us with these tremendously talented individuals. And like Matt said, there's.

So many people that can easily step in and take full advantage of the resources afforded to them. So we have a work cut out for us, but it's, it's a, it's a good problem

[00:17:05] Kevin Chang:
to have ULI. And I know that there's been some discussion behind the scenes that even if there is a. That, you know, the, the other applicants, there's still something that we can do to help support these other applicants, because they're so passionate.

They, you know, they can still give so much to the community. So you want to talk a little bit to that? I don't know if we formally.

[00:17:26] Matt Fitzgerald:
Yeah. Yeah. It's one of those things, you know, we're just to some extent, you know, we're building the ship at sea, you know, and actually, you know, we we've, we've been uh, you know, I at least have tried to be very forthright with people about this.

I think it helps, you know, just say, Hey, I'm a rookie at this, you know, I'm into it. You know, I'm giving my best effort, but it is, you know first time. And so yeah, one of the things that I, you know, I, in retrospect should have thought of earlier, but you know, it came, it came to be lately.

You know, the last thing you want to do when you're trying to, you know, build people up is saying no and the way this whole thing is set up, it's like, yeah, we can always say yes, in, in one sense to one person, it's like, well, what about all these other folks? Because you know, you said earlier, you know, it's a tough business.

It's, it's tough to succeed and endurance coaching, but I tell you what. All of the applicants that we've received. I feel like these people are it's, it's, it's a self selecting group, you know what I mean? Like these people have what it takes to succeed and it's like, you know, I would love to do what I can to help every everyone.

And I can only do so much. So yeah. That's why we're talking about like actually connecting these folks with each other. And then, you know, you know, PR providing support to like, nurture that. So it's not just like checking a box, it's like, oh, here's your constellation prize. But th that this is actually sort of almost like an extension of the program,
so yeah, it's going to happen.

And uh, yeah, it's just a matter of the, the, the specifics are yet to be nailed.

[00:19:01] Kevin Chang:
Yeah, and I, and I think, you know, everyone on your advisee advisory board, me included, we're so tied to this mission, you know, of getting more diverse coaches more experience, more supports and helping nurture them and helping them, you know, tackle these hurdles that can bog down, especially early in the career.

If there's anything in terms of time and anything in terms of advice that anybody on the advisory board can help these folks or anybody else who's interested in getting into coaching, you know feel free to reach out to us. I know that I will definitely jump in there and help out as much as I can, because again, we're, we're so bought into this mission and we're so bought into the mission of just helping more coaches succeed because the more coaches we have, then the more athletes we have and the more athletes we have, I mean, the more that this community can build in and of itself.

So I think. For

[00:19:51] Bertrand Newson:
some reason, I feel that I have been in the exact shoes of some of the people that are applying for the grants and the support uh, not about the stipend, but about the resources and the learning opportunities. Because I have benefited firsthand from the insight and mentoring from Matt.

I have benefited firsthand from the mentoring and insight from you, Kevin, you both have shared your professional and personal experience with me as I you know, it wasn't too long ago that I became a for. Services rendered running coach I'd been coached before, while had been certified for a couple of years very competitive field, but to take that on full time with the backdrop of a pandemic when people are encouraged not to you know, get together in person and to realize some real success to.

Takes a confidence step away from a rewarding 30 year career as a hotel professional and, and, you know, to hear from you, Matt and from you, Kevin. Coach, you can do this. And here are some useful tips. This will save you some headaches. This is the best way to go about X, Y, and Z. And now here we are. I say we, not me.

I am in this for the long haul. I love what I do, I would say by all measures that there's been a level of proven success in retaining, after. mentoring them through their own level of their fitness journey, then realizing some success. Then referring a mat, you've referred a couple of candidates athletes to me, which is the ultimate common.

In itself. Um, So it is the, the uh, profession that keeps on giving because you can have an impact on someone's life, on someone's wellness and they in turn can pay it forward and consider getting into coaching themselves. So I have to thank you on air, both because I would not really have realized the success ongoing success as a endurance professional without the due direct influence of both of you.

So. Matt. And thank you, Kevin,

[00:21:57] Kevin Chang:
look at this, look at this love Fest, continue keeping it

[00:22:01] Matt Fitzgerald:

[00:22:02] Kevin Chang:
Oh, we have to say that. So many of the training plans, they Coach "B" rights. You know, a lot of 80 20 principles are, are being utilized. And so, you know, we have to first thank you for bringing some of these prints.

To light, I'm having so many people kind of follow these training plans and have them be proven time and time again, you know, the, the success of these programs time and time again. And that again goes to the difficulty of becoming a coach because not only do you have to be an expert in. In the science of endurance sports, right.

Diagnosing and helping people get over the hurdles and the problems and the issues that they may be having in their current training cycles. But then you also have to be a marketer. You have to be a good salesman. You have to know your technology and how to, you know, how to, how to follow up on training.

All the other stuff that makes coaching difficult, but I mean, we have to say that the backbone and what you have built with 80 20 maybe for our audience who hasn't listened to our first podcast, talk to us a little bit about these principles. What can they incorporate in some of their own training?

[00:23:05] Matt Fitzgerald:
Yeah, it's funny, you know, running is such a simple sport. I mean, it really is one of the simpler sports above. You know, the best way to do things isn't necessarily something that every runner is born knowing. In fact, I know for sure that we're not born knowing this stuff, so yeah, it's simple, but there is a learning curve.

There, there is. Especially if you're even remotely competitive and, and by that, I mean, anyone who wants to PR. Pretty much. So yeah, you know, I was fortunate, you know, I started running when I was young and I had, you know, coaches who just sort of like they were knowledgeable. And, and, you know, the, you know, some of the, the deep core principles of the 80 20 method.

And intensity balance, right? 80% low intensity, 20% high intensity, that stuff goes back to the early sixties. So by the time I was in high school in the late eighties, like, you know, knowledgeable people basically knew the right way to train. And yeah, sure. You know, change, we've learned things since the late eighties, but, but you know, you know, the foundation was there and hasn't changed.

And, but then it, you know, as a coach, you know, it can be challenging. To actually get buy-in, you know, because like, you know, you're actually, for most people you're, you're telling them, you actually train too fast. You need to slow it down. It's like,

[00:24:25] Bertrand Newson:
you tell me to run less. Where's the refund, but where's the undo.

Where's it like time pump the brakes here. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:24:39] Matt Fitzgerald:
I swear. I know what I'm doing. Yeah. So that's, you know, that's where it came from. But you know, for a while I gave people that advice, like you need to make your easy runs truly easy. Not like you can't run fast, you know, 20% is not insignificant. But for the most part, people get kind of caught in this moderate intensity.

It was only when scientists came along and, and quantified, you know, they, they were put, they put numbers on top of something that coaches had known for a long time that it, you know, something about that just clicked with people. And so I leaped on it. Hey, I've been giving this advice forever, but we've got a new wrapper for the same old burger and people are buying it.

So let's, let's give them what they need. So there you have it.

[00:25:25] Kevin Chang:
Yeah. Which is incredible because time and time again, you know, guests after guests, I think. Point towards, you know, the, the, the long runs, the slower long runs, the Maffetone training to some extent, but Hey, if you want to run faster on race day, you've got to go longer, slower.

And then you got to push the pace during those 20%, you know, which I think a lot of people get into their comfort zone for most of the runs throughout the week. And they don't really push the push the pace when they need to push the pace. I think, you know, having the science behind the principles and, and that helps people actually listen to you when you say, Hey, slow down and actually slow down for this amount of time.

I think it's fantastic. And it's transcending the sport of endurance. I mean, I think we had a strength coach, one of my old CrossFit coaches on the program and he even mentioned, Hey, have you heard this 80 20 book? It's so as the, you know, as, as transcending just the nervous horse world, which is fantastic.


[00:26:19] Matt Fitzgerald:
Yeah. Not like I came up with it, but I'm happy to, I'm happy to do my part.

[00:26:25] Kevin Chang:
If you like our podcast and sign up for our newsletter, where we give you weekly tips on how to run your best race and have fun in the process. Just go to RaceMob dot com and sign up to.

Fantastic. So Matt, I mean, we know in addition to being a fantastic coach um, you know, a trainer you're also bestselling author, several, several books.

Do you have any books in the works? Anything coming up here soon?

[00:26:49] Matt Fitzgerald:
Yeah. I've been threatening to write a an entire book about pacing for a number of years now, actually. And. I I'm just, I'm fascinated with the subject and it has a big emphasis in my coaching. And so I finally got around to writing this book.

It's actually good. You know, that I took my time about it because I was able to kind of like use a lot of my athletes as Guinea pigs for, you know, coming up with actually, you know, a pretty. Efficient system for, for teaching pacing. Cause it's one thing to talk about it. Like here's the theory, but it's like, well, you know, what's the method, you know, w what do I actually, what can I do that will accelerate the process?

And so that the book is called on pace and. Yeah. You mentioned at the top of the show, you know, the many initiatives I'm involved in. And so in, in addition to coaches of color, one, is we 80, 20 we've started our own book publishing imprint. So I've been, I've been an author for a long time, but I finally decided, you know, what, it would be nice to like, just use this platform to have.

More control of the entire process. So, you know, we will publish other books by the writers, but we wanted to just sort of you know, do our dress rehearsal with one of my own. So it's, it's called on pace. We're like putting the, the, the finishing. I was just going back and forth with my editor today.

Like these final. Nitpicky changes. You've got to make to get it just right

[00:28:13] Kevin Chang:
as fantastic. Any surprises when you were, you know, that that audiences
wouldn't think about when the thinking about pace and, and how to, how to calculate the pace that they should be running.

[00:28:23] Matt Fitzgerald:
You know, just like, you know, w I guess what, what was kind of like interesting is like, you know, the, the way that Def device overdependence factors into it and you know, there's actually like, it's, this phenomenon is capturing the attention of scientists now.

Like, scientists are still there, like this. Um, You know, cause I noticed that as a coach, I'm like, gosh, when I was a kid, I don't remember people being this bad at pacing. And I think, you know, part of the reason is that people, most runners are starting later in life and experience really is the best teacher for pacing.

So, you know, if you start later, you can't help that, you know, you just, you don't have as much experience to fall back on, but another big problem, this. You know, we, we S we just increasingly rely on technology to do things that our brains can actually do better if we just give them a chance. So I feel like I'm just, you know, I'm fighting, I'm trying to swim against the streets.

And I don't know, but if I can just reach a fraction of the runners out there with this message, I think it'll help them.

[00:29:23] Kevin Chang:
Yeah. That's so interesting. I mean, I know when I first got into running, you know, I, I was looking at my watch every single time, every single run and, you know, there's, there's all sorts of things that can affect.

Pace that you should be running on any given day. I mean, you know, not to mention the heat and humidity and you know, all the external factors, but obviously, you know, the stress that your body may have gone through or, or other internal factors. And yeah, we don't listen to our bodies probably nearly enough.

We're not as intuitive of runners, especially, I guess, in the early goings, as, as we get so much better. Like quickly, you know, the first time you get, you get running and you start running, your pace really does start picking up over those first couple of months relatively quickly. And so, yeah, sometimes I, I see what you're saying.

Like we haven't built up that intuition. And so, so that's great. Are you able to kind of distill down some nuggets or some things for, for runners to think about. As they're trying to Intuit the pace that they should be running at. Yeah.

[00:30:21] Matt Fitzgerald:
I mean I'll just give you something kind of random, cause I just tried it on an athlete last week for the first time.

In fact, it, it was too late. I came up with it too late to include it in the book. So this is a special nugget. But interestingly, what some of the research on pacing has shown is that there's a correlation between the ability to accurately. Time, elapsed or distance covered and performance. So people who are good at measuring a mile or a mile.

just by feel are also tend to realize more of their potential and competition. So like, you know, because like you do, you really do both by feel. it's not just like some gimmicky party trick to, you know, to be able to run like a 7 0 3 mile on command. Like, if you can do that, then you're probably getting the most out of however much ability you have in races.

So I I've started, I gave this one athlete and I, because it went well, I will give other. A fartlek where they were supposed to run you know, sort of faster segments of different durations, you know, in time, like, you know, three minutes, six minutes, whatever, but they had to do it by just guessing how much time.

So they, they, they, you would start at a certain point and then they would have to do. They had a target pace, which they also had to hit by feel. So the whole thing, both, both trying to get the pace right. And trying to get the elapsed time. Right. They were just doing by an internal clock and then they had a few tries.

So, you know, there was an opportunity to like, you know, really mess it up the first time, but then. Getting a little bit closer to the mark, both on the pace and the time as the session unfolded. So yeah, it's funny, you know, it sort of gamifies training, but it really does have utility, you know, like you're, you're practicing something that helps you improve as a runner.


[00:32:08] Kevin Chang:
That's so much fun. Coach. You gotta, you gotta try that with the athletes. I think, you know, assignments and, and see how people do. I think that's great.

[00:32:18] Bertrand Newson:
We have a speed workout tomorrow with about 15 to 20 athletes hammer time. So.

[00:32:24] Kevin Chang:
Uh, The speed workout, cause they're on a track. So, you know, you got, you gotta switch it up new location that they're not familiar with.

And oh, but even on a track, I mean, they can kind of estimate the time and stuff run around. So

[00:32:36] Bertrand Newson:
that's great. It could be a venue change. This episode will not air between now and tomorrow. That's right.

Thanks coach Matt. And we'll just stay in talking about coaching and athletes. A question that I get a lot, especially as we towards the latter part of the year a handful of libraries just left before we get into 2022 people are really honing in on their shoe game. K the importance of shoes, selecting their shoes something like a trainer versus a race day shoe.

During their bulk of a training in between two pairs of shoes, not staying in one pair, being mindful of the mileage and met. How have you seen shoes change and the importance and relevancy of shoes as it impacts performance, particularly in regards to the carbon plates and the shoe wars that we were seeing unfold in front of us and major marathons, where Nike probably was the leader in regards to the carbon plate prototype.

But now you're seeing other brands Adidas, sock, and he et cetera, where athletes are routinely placing where that was not the case, maybe a year and a half, two years ago, where typically Nike athletes were the podium. You

[00:33:46] Matt Fitzgerald:
know, as I mentioned before, you know, I started running a, you know, a long time ago.

And I also mentioned that I I was around experienced and knowledgeable coaches when I was young. And so one of these people. I mentioned him all the time. Cause it's just so oddly serendipitous, but a guy named Jeff Johnson was the girl's cross country coach at my little high school in New Hampshire.

Right. Jeff Johnson was Nike's first employee. He named Nike, Nike. And he also, he also, he also came up with the waffle racer, like, you know, it's like this cross country shoe and he, you know, the, the, you know, the story is told in books, but he literally did it with a waffle iron. You know, created the prototype where they waffle iron.

And so I, I wore waffle racers in my cross country races as a, as a kid and the guy who invented them was right there. Yeah. But all that, all that to say, like, you know, funny enough from, you know, fast forward from there and shoes. Yeah. They, they got better, but they didn't get, game-changing only better and told very, very, very recently, like, you know, I was well.

Along uh, I was going to say, well, past my prime, you know, when the super shoes came along, you know, when you, you went through the whole barefoot running thing, you know, a bandwagon that I actually kind of helped get rolling. Cause I, I, I kind of had my minimalist phase in there, but even that was just like, you know, we're just as, almost like we like.

It was almost out of boredom that we went in that direction. You know what I mean? It's like, you know, nothing, nothing really revolutionary is coming along. So let's just like, get rid of the shoes altogether. You know, that would be unthinkable now, you know, cause you got this, you know, these flubber shoes that have come along and it was kind of fun because, you know, I was definitely like.

I was, you know, let's be honest, like a little, a little past my prime when they do come along, but, you know, and you know, I started wearing them. I'm like, oh yeah, like this is five seconds per mile for sure. You know? Absolutely. Like, yeah. Yeah. So, you know, I love him and I, I sort of, you know, I, I'm not a really a shoe guy, but you know what, you know, I just, I have a creative mind.

So pretty early on after I started wearing them, I was like, why just racing these, like, you should train in them because. a better benefit even than the efficiency you get is that you get less beat up. And I was always very injury prone, and I was always like riding the limit with my training.

I'm like the limit just got pushed back to 20%. Thanks to like, you know, if you, if you've got a thousand dollars a month to burn on super shoes, like you should train them. These babies

[00:36:25] Bertrand Newson:
well said. Um, And for the everyday. And the elite runner. I think there are benefits across the board, but it's not the shoe that makes the runner.

Ultimately you have to put in the work and that's something that I'm sharing with the athletes as well. Is that no matter how fancy the shoe is the price tag of the shoe, two carbon plates, 10 carbon plates. It does not matter if you are not putting in the work. Also, if you not well enough, if you are nicked up and dinged up in.

Um, You have to be able to put in the work, get through the training cycle, to yield the result, to be able to, you know, be on the course long enough to show up for the gun to go off and get to the finish line. So the shoes are an added accessory. They are essential, but it is the work that you put in over a measured up.

Amount of time with appropriate rest, inappropriate intensity. That is the real difference maker. And with that, the shoes can help you level up after that hard work is

[00:37:28] Matt Fitzgerald:
done. Yeah. I mean, five
seconds per mile is five seconds per mile folks. You know what I mean? Like, like that's

[00:37:36] Kevin Chang:
the other, not I to get you to Mathis Gerald speed.

I mean, you know, you said, you say you're past your prime and you know, we're, we're reading the books. We know. Uh, Your prime is way, way, way faster than 95% of the audience out there. So that's fantastic. I mean, that's great. That was great. We know that you were hitting some huge, huge milestone with some, some great PRS right before the pandemic hit.

I think last time we were on the podcast, we talked a little bit about this that you got, COVID kind of after. Uh, It's start of the pandemic altogether potentially like in Atlanta when you guys were meeting up and and whatnot, but we also know that later that you discovered that you had long haulers syndrome.

Can you, can you kind of walked through that with our audience a little bit, you know, what that has meant and w you know, what that has meant to you? Cause I think a lot of our audience don't even know about you know, this disease and what people may be.

[00:38:28] Matt Fitzgerald:
Yes. So um, yeah, I got COVID um, from Bertrand in Atlanta. sorry.

So it could have been you B it could have been, but yeah, I mean, that's, you know, B and I were together in Atlanta, like, you know, it could have been on the plane home and in the hotel, you know, I ran, we, we both ran the marathon, so you never know. And that was like shortly before things shut down. So like, you know, a week later, later on that trip wouldn't have had.

Um, But yeah, I was sick for a month. Got over it and then I was fine for six months. And then I started to have some weird health stuff. You know, that I noticed and kind of unraveled and you know, at first I'm like, oh, maybe I'm anemic or something, you know, or. You know, just went through the whole process of getting every test known to man, but eventually it sort of self-diagnosed that I have, you know, w what folks are just colloquially calling long COVID now which is just like, sort of a post viral, chronic fatigue type of thing.

You know, there's a lot of different symptoms, like, you know, this this dreaded brain fog which I had actually severely today, just like you. You know, you just like, you're not even in control of, of your brain. Like it just like, you know, what you should be able to do with it and you, you just can't do it.

And uh, yeah, it's like, there's a lot of us. And some people seem to kind of spontaneously, spontaneously, get better. Some people you hear, you hear everything. Some people are like, oh, I got vaccinated. And I, you know, my long haul symptoms disappeared. Well, didn't, didn't work for me. So I'm more than 13 months in now.

And honestly kind of out of ideas, you know, I've tried, I've, I've, you know, insomnia is part of it. So I found something that can deal with the insomnia. A lot of long haulers do that. You're just sort of like get symptom management, but there's nothing yet for the underlying. And there's actually still a lot of mystery.

There's a lot of research attention on it, thankfully because the numbers are so high. So, so similar to like the vaccine rollout, it's like, oh wow. This came in record time. It's like, well, no shit. It was going to come and record time because it was, it was the, the, the biggest pandemic in the history of the world.

So hopefully it'll be the, kind of the same thing with the long haul thing. It was just like, it's almost like this, like knock on pandemic or a pandemic with independent. And it, it affects a lot of runners too, like disproportionately actually. So I've actually been able to network with a lot of actually I've made friends, you know, just people.

Who have lost as much as I have, because I can't run. I stopped running in January. Um, And actually I actually stopped uh, stopped walking recently. Um, You know, it's just like uh, that's another thing they call it post exertional malaise. So if you, if you kind of elevate your heart rate, you, you know, you get walloped, maybe not right away, but like a day or two later.

So yeah, it's, it's, it's life-changing um, and it's a huge challenge, you know, I like to view myself as mentally tough, so. throwing everything I've got against it, but it, you know, it's, it's a real challenge.

[00:41:40] Kevin Chang:
That's crazy. Yeah. Has

[00:41:42] Bertrand Newson:
there been anything, like you said in symptom management that anything else you'd like to share with people who may be listening, who may have, have dealt with that initial phase of COVID and now we're hearing for the first time that, you know, This sounds like me right now.

What are some good resources by your networking by your due diligence, by what you have tried or what you

[00:42:03] Matt Fitzgerald:
have read? Yeah. If you, if you have insomnia and you're long haul or, you know, that's, that's a pretty easy win. Like, I mean, it's. You know, it it's other world, the insomnia, you know what I mean? But you know, at least, you know, I and others have responded to a strong enough medication and that just checks that box.

Cause everything's worse if you can't sleep, you know what I mean? So, okay. Then you got the. That and, you know, some people they do need antidepressants. It's like, well, if I can't feel better, physically, maybe at least I can feel better mentally. Or, you know, anxiety is a, is a major common symptom. So, you know, maybe you can get some help for that.

Actually breathing exercises seem to help with, you know, shortness of breath is another hallmark symptoms. So, you know, that helps for some people. So it's almost, it's like, there's no silver bullet, but there are little things you can do. I'm actually on a couple of over-the-counter anti-histamines that were recommended to me by my brother.

Who's a nurse practitioner. And apparently it's just, it's one of those things that just sort of like you know, word of mouth just got out. It's like, Hey, this stuff actually kind of helps with the breathing a little bit. So yeah, if you're looking for a silver bullet, not there yet, but that you can definitely improve your quality of life.

Palpably. If you just, you know, do piece together, something, this little things it's going to be a different formula for everyone, depending on what your symptoms are. And actually, I should say one of the biggest ones is just slowing down. Like that's you hear that from every long holler, like you have to add, which is so hard for.

Go to the everything, but you have to, you have to, you can only hit your head against the wall so many times.

[00:43:37] Kevin Chang:
I mean, I guess I didn't realize, you know, I realized that you were having symptoms. I realized, you know, there was things still going on. I didn't realize that you had to give up running and now even walking.

I mean that must be, that must be incredibly difficult for you to be going through. So, I mean, we feel for you, we know that you've got several projects going on you know, outside of running and walking, that's, you're staying extremely busy and, you know, if there's anything that we can do to, to help you out I mean, do let us know.


[00:44:06] Matt Fitzgerald:
I appreciate it. You know, it's just like, you know, just being able to talk about it honestly helps. So yeah. Thank you for letting me. Spout off a little bit and yeah. If anyone else in the same boat is listening, hopefully, you know, I said something of value. Matt, do you

[00:44:21] Bertrand Newson:
feel that the medical community at large has given enough attention and, you know, from a resources standpoint that there's uh, enough energy?

Because of course we hear every time we turn on the radio TV pop on the internet, you know, COVID COVID, COVID COVID COVID but it's, you don't hear. Actually that may be that time, that time may be changing a bit. Um, You and I shared a CNN article recently um, that more people are starting to talk about this.

I mean, from someone who is living with it every single day, do you feel that there's a larger voice and focus and resources in the pipeline or is there still a lot of self-diagnosis and you know, things along those lines?

[00:45:06] Matt Fitzgerald:
You know, it's interesting, like this whole pandemic has really exposed what, or brought to light.

I should say what is great about our medical system and what is not so great about it. And, you know, You know, the, you know, doctors and nurses and other health professionals and the researchers were really, they have been heroes of the acute viral infection, absolute heroes like, you know, that's, you know, that word is overused.

It's not inappropriate to say that on the same, on the other side. You know, our system is really not well designed to properly care for people with these nebulous, hard to diagnose chronic illnesses. That that is always been the case. It's just. This pandemic has really brought that to light. So, you know, the good and the bad.

And so, you know, it's just like you hear these stories about people just not being taken seriously, not by their doctors, you know, not listened to you know, just, you know, given the run around, you know, and like, I have definitely experienced quite a lot of that. And, you know, I can say it's real, it's a very big problem.

But then on the other side of. You know, medicine does because it's, science-based, it, it is, self-correcting like all, all sciences so that, you know, they, they, they do keep a watch as a system. They kind of keep a watch on themselves and they know when they're underperforming you know, you gotta, you gotta be the squeaky wheel, you know, so, you know, self-advocating patients sometimes, but if there are enough of those squeaky wheels you know,
then, you know, given enough time, I think it'll get better.

So that's actually, that's, that's the Nazi. Oh, that's one of the not self-serving reasons I like to talk about this publicly um, is that it amplifies the squeaky wheel effect so that, you know, we can you know, make

[00:46:57] Kevin Chang:
things better. Have you been going in to get like lab results and tests? Are there, are there anything that you found to be abnormal and.

I'm just so curious about, you know, again, we, we don't talk about this enough, so I'm just curious to learn more.

[00:47:13] Matt Fitzgerald:
Yeah, it's funny. I was just I mean, you can drive yourself nuts you know, absorbing media, you know, about this, you know, Bertrand says like, Jesus, not that much out there about it. I'm like, are you kidding me?

But yeah. Anyway, you know, so yeah, I came across an article that was from NPRs website. It was very recent, recent article where you know, it was just very validating. Sometimes that that's enough. You just get something that just like makes you feel like you're not alone, but it was like, you know what, you know, th there's these some, you know, dedicated.

You know, that are all about, you know, treating and researching, you know, the long COVID that are popping up around the country. There's one right down the road at UCLA. And one of the doctors there was interviewed and he just said like, you know, it's just crazy. Cause he said, he's, you know, he's been involved in treating you know, literally hundreds of long haulers at this point.

And he said like, they pass. Unless they have some comorbidity, they pass all the medical tests. Like, like every, everything checks out lungs are good. Heart is good, you know? You know, up and down the line, and that was exactly the experience I had as well. It's like, there's nothing wrong with you that we can measure.

But in fact, in this article they were finding like the things they can measure, they're finding things they can't measure now, but it's like cytokines that are just a little bit out of whack and the blood that you wouldn't find unless you were like just going, searching for them. So that's, that's the way it has always felt to me, it has felt like.

It feels very auto-immunity and I think it really is largely that it's just like, there's nothing systemically wrong with me. Other than that, my body has declared mutiny against itself. Cause like, you know, you can have a good day or a good half day and you're like, I'm fine. You know, it's like, I feel like myself, I can do everything I used to do.

It's like if, if you got something, you know, systemic wrong, like a giant tumor. You don't have like sudden, you know, fluctuations like that. So yeah. Which I, it just, it, it lends to the idea that, well, it gives you hope. Right. You know, just like, you know it doesn't help really all that much right now, but it's like, it seems like, you know, this ought to be fixable, you know, with some future

[00:49:34] Kevin Chang:

Yeah. And I, and I know, you know, when, when COVID. Came out there, we're finding a lot of correlation between um, people who were dying or at least hospitalized in cytokine storms. Right. So, so the body was attacking itself. It was causing the pneumonia. It was causing a lot of these things. And so, yeah, maybe, maybe COVID itself is, is doing something really crazy to the immune system and it is causing, you know, some auto immune function dysfunction.

Um, So that. Unfortunately, that's crazy. Um, You know, and, and that's why it's probably so hard to describe, you know, what are some of the symptoms it's not just like, Hey, there is like inflammation over here or, you know, something, something. This part of me, it really is if your body is attacking itself and, and there can be just so many different symptoms that you may be feeling.

So I'm really encourage those that are, that are feeling funky, who have, you know to, to go look up some of the resources of some of these symptoms, you know, you're also feeling you know, take a look, you know, and, and really lend support to this to this cause. So that's crazy. And

[00:50:40] Bertrand Newson:
everyone did that.

I mean, we have to say this um, it's not in goodbye. Please, you know, continue to get back to a level of normalcy.

[00:50:49] Kevin Chang:
So, absolutely cool. Yeah. Again, it's been a year since we've had you on the podcast. And it's so great to have you back on any parting thoughts for our guests, where can they find you? How can they contribute to color coaches of color initiative to 80 20?

You know, talk to us a little bit about Yes. So to find out more about the coaches of color initiative, go to 80 20 foundation dot O R G um, and click on, well, first watch Bertrand video and then click on the initiative. That's right. I'm in it too. Yes. It's mostly uh, mostly a Coach "B" video.

[00:51:26] Matt Fitzgerald:
Anyhow uh, click on initiatives and yeah, you'll find out you can, you can contribute, you can apply the um, and what else, and if you're interested in like the 80, 20 training approach uh, visit uh, 80 20 insurance.com

[00:51:40] Bertrand Newson:
and then we'll, we'll share with the audience, Matt, that we will hopefully be announcing in early 20, 22, hopefully at some point in January a fitness challenge component.

Tie to a virtual fitness challenge component in getting people active probably with a triathlete more three discipline fitness activity and run bike or swim that will help raise awareness and funds and getting people active in the process and supporting the coats of color initiative.

[00:52:10] Matt Fitzgerald:
Yeah. Yes, yes. Working hard to make that happen. Um, Your idea by the way, thank you for that.

[00:52:16] Kevin Chang:
Awesome. Just want to say, thank you so much, Matt, for jumping on the podcast with us. Um, You know, so great to have you as a, as a, as a coach, as a friend, as a mentor for Coach "B" and myself in particular. And you know, we always love spending time with you.

So thank you again so much. Appreciate this. Thank you.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode of the RaceMob podcast. Check out all of the show notes or find a running buddy online at RaceMob dot com. Please subscribe to us on apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts and leave us a review until next time.

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