Styrofoam Athlete – Joe Friel’s Metaphor (A Good One!)


Hi! Folks,

Today I got my weekly call from my youngest son, Nigel, who is a real athlete. Nigel was number 96 overall in Hawaii in 1999. Now, after years of training I have come to really appreciate Nigel’s achievement that year. Today we were chatting about Ironman training as usual, and he mentioned a comment by Joe Friel in the second edition of his great book, ‘Going Long.’

Going Long by Joe Friel, Second Edition

Joe Friel said, “Successful endurance training is exactly like turning a Styrofoam cup inside out. So long as you take it slowly, you’ll be able to do it. Try to rush things and—rip!—you’ll tear the cup. You are the cup.” Such visual metaphors are really useful for endurance athletes, and they can certainly reduce your chances of injury whilst enhancing your performance, sometimes dramatically.

Take a look. A book worth reading.

Happy New Year,




  1. Rory Conolly says

    Have you tried that with a styrofoam cup?

  2. Kevin Morgan says

    Hi! Rory,
    See latest post!

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.