Matt Fitzgerald and The Cutting-Edge Runner — A Review

Type: Steady State Ride
Distance: 21.3 miles
Time: 1:00:33
Average Watts: 172 watts
Normative Power: 175 watts
Average Heart Rate: 148 bpm
Total Work: 621 kJ
Average Speed: 21.1 mph

Legs were a little burned out after the second day of two-a-days, so I took it easy on the bike this morning. I ran 3.0 miles Tuesday in the p.m., if for nothing else to make sure my legs are going to work under stress. It wasn’t a tough run or anything, expecially since it was done indoors on the treadmill instead of outside in the 15° weather.

My lady friend did book me a deep tissue massage for last night, and I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it. I like deep tissue because it helps improve flexibility, figure out where I am tight, and break up scar tissue from deep muscle injuries. But man does it hurt. I have been using my foam roller lately, but it just isn’t the same as someone who enjoys putting you through the ringer working your muscles like their own personal can of Play-dough. But it did hurt oh so good.

The Cutting Edge Runner

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I think you know by now that I am a fan of Matt Fitzgerald’s writing. One of my goals for 2011 is to read all of the books that he has authored or co-authored. I love Racing Weight, and I want to further my education on training, nutrition, and racing strategies. I thought Matt Fitzgerald was a great place to being my efforts in 2011.

I use the Kindle App on my iPad, so if any of you use the same and would like to borrow my copy with the loan feature, please let me know and I will loan you my copy.

So I started reading The Cutting Edge Runner by Fitzgerald. I have to say that I like his writing style. A lot. It is informative while being easy to read. I did not get my BS in Exercise Physiology, so there are terms and concepts that I have educated myself in throughout the years. I wish I would have started with this book. Fitzgerald explains the science behind training and performance while keeping the concepts within the reach of those of us who are not as scientifically minded.

If you are a new runner or just started within the last five years and feel you need to educate yourself about our sport, I strongly suggest you buy and read this book. It does take more than one reading to grasp all of the information that the author tries to communicate just because there is so much of it on the pages.

The target audience of this book is really the beginning runner or someone who has just decided to wing it and does not have a knowledge of training strategies. He talks about the different training phases, periodization, the role of cross-training, recovery strategies, and basic nutrition. The book is very basic as there are titles that deal with each one of these topics. But if you are just starting out running or you are a beginner triathlete, this would be a good place for you to begin your education on training strategies.

One of the key topics that I really enjoyed in this book was the concept of mental training. I have to admit I thought the section on mental training in this book was a bit slim, even leaving me wanting more. The good news is he has an entire book that he co-authored called Brain Training for Runners. I did already commit to another title, but within the next three weeks I will more than likely finish Brain Training. I will post a review on the book then.

One of the concepts in this theme that I really liked was to train by feel. What I got out of that was on a day that you are feeling crappy, take it easy, regardless of the workout you have scheduled. But with that flexibility comes responsibility — when you are feeling great you need to train hard. You have to be honest with yourself and your body. I think if you are a Type A personality you may have a little bit of trouble with the lack of structure. I think that you can make it work, understanding that you have to focus on your key workouts during a given time frame.

I have thought a lot about this approach over the last couple of days since completing The Cutting-Edge Runner. Then I remembered this old interview of Bruce Lee that I thought was entirely appropriate to swimming, cycling, and running. Listen…

“Be water my friend”. If you are feeling great, adapt and go hard. If you are feeling crappy, adapt and go at a level that you can handle. This applies to racing too — do your best and rise to your highest level given the conditions of the day. You will have to adapt to whatever a race gives you (heat, wind, rain, lack of aid stations), and your strategy may change according to what is going on around you. But be like water, change to adapt to the limitations of the day, and you will reach your potential for that day. Flow like water…

About the Author

I have been participating in running and triathlons for 10 years and love the feeling that training provides. You may not agree with me, but you know you just can't look away...