It’s hard to think of two sports that are more unalike than distance running and powerlifting. Even so, there are some folks who transition from one to the other. Michael Metz is one of them. A few short years ago, Michael, 34, who works as an operations manager for a Phoenix-based mortgage company, was pursuing the goal of joining the 1,000-pound club, which is earned by lifting a combined 1,000 pounds in the deadlift, squat, bench press, and overhead press exercises. But a shoulder injured derailed this quest, and subsequently “280 pound of muscle became 285 pounds of fat,” as Michael puts it in reference to his physique.
In an effort to reverse the trend, Michael started running. Those first few steps can be uncomfortable for any new runner, but for Michael they were especially so. “I forced myself to run, but I didn’t enjoy it,” he recalls. This changed, however, when Michael discovered the 80/20 approach and gave it a try. Heeding the 80/20 rule of intensity balance forced him to slow down, and slowing down made running enjoyable for him. What’s more, as so many athletes find, slowing down also enabled Michael to speed up. Between June 2017 and May 2020, his threshold pace dropped from 11:20 to 9:22 per mile. Having complete several half marathons, he’s now training for his first half Ironman.
A true veteran of the 80/20 approach, Michael has a lot of great tips to offer those just getting started, including this one: “Take the time to do the testing, and learn to run slow. I had to stop listening to music for a while because it kept pushing me to go faster. I actually started listening to books on Audible instead, which is probably a super nerdy option but works for me!”