“Ehipassiko” is a word from the ancient Pali language that means “come and see for yourself.” The Buddha used it often in reference to his teachings, urging his followers not to take him at his word but instead to discover the dharma’s veracity the same way he did, through experience. The principle of ehipassiko applies to all kinds of other truths, including the truth that training at low intensity most of the time yields the best results for endurance athletes. We can repeat this message until we’re blue in the face, but you won’t really believe it until you discover it for yourself.
Ben Graham offers an excellent example of how this process works. A lawyer from Brussels, Belgium, with a wife and two young daughters, Ben took up triathlon and marathon running in his mid-thirties and achieved a fair amount of success despite doing almost all of his training at high intensity. But this success came at a cost. He lost three months to injury after each of his first two marathons, and when his next marathon build ended in burnout last year, he decided to try something different—80/20—and that’s when his ehipassiko moment came.
“The 80/20 plan was a joy and a relief,” he says. “I now enjoy running more, run more with friends, and am creeping up to faster and faster speeds. And [I’ve had] none of those injuries that used to dog me (touch wood)! I know there’s more speed and endurance waiting to be tapped into, even after years of running training. It’s exciting to see what I can do with these plans!”