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Hi I'm a total beginner. Only done one half IM and read one of your books but loved it. Now I'm in my off season training and run(mo) +bike(tu) +run(we) +bike(th) +run(fr) +bike(sa). About 30-45 min each time. Would it be better to run&bike on the same day and have a complete rest day after? (The swiming have to whait for next year.)

Joe Friel

Tom--I'd suggest staying with what you are doing now since it appears you have one day entirely off (Sun). Good luck!


Joe--Love your posts!

I've read through the comments for this post, and I'm just a little confused still:

When you say "Moderately experienced, intermediate-ability athletes usually do it four or five times weekly." do you mean the athlete has 4-5 training sessions per week TOTAL, or 4-5 training sessions per week PER SPORT (SBR ea.)?


Joe Friel

Rachel--That was referring to single sport athletes like runners and cyclists. Novice tris are typically 2 workouts per week per sport (1/day). Intermediate tris more like 3-4/week/sport. Advanced 4-6/week/sport. Having said that, I know of athletes who would fall in each category who do more or less. So this is not like an ironclad rule. Determine what works best for you.

Carlos Cuenca

Dear Joe,
First of all, I have to congratulate you for "Your best Triathlon", which I just bought. It's a fantastic book, the precise orientation one needs to plan the training season. I need to tell you that since I've begun to do triathlons, 2 years ago, you (your books) have been my most permanent and reliable coach. Thanks!
I have a basic question about Aerobic Endurance training sessions (in special, the famous "long ride"). Until some months ago, I have been living in Buenos Aires, training in closed flat circuits that were boring but perfect for really "steady" zone 2 rides. But now I'm living in Pretoria, the surroundings of which are basically made of quite steep rolling hills (not the gentle ones), where pure zone 2 riding is an impossible task. In such a context, should I insist, during the base period, in riding in such terrain (getting to zone 3 or even low zone 4 when uphill) or should I rather do my zone 2 sessions on a trainer, that might be boring but maybe more effective in the base period)? Or should take the middle way and alternate nice yet imperfect zone 2 outdoor rides and perfect yet boring rides in a trainer?
Once again, thanks a lot for you attention.
Best regards,

P.S.: In your bike workout descriptions in Your Best Triathlon, I notice you didn't pay that much attention to cadence instructions. May I suppose that the instructions in The Training Bible apply for the the same workouts (for example, muscular endurance tempo sessions in the lowest confortable cadence)?

Joe Friel

Carlos Cuenca--Tough choices, Carlos. I'm not going to tell you _how_ to do it but reinforce that I'd strongly recommend that you do _some_ zone 2 training early in the base period. How much and how exactly to do it depends on you. Good luck!

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As far as intensity goes for early in the season, I too believe in what you are writing about. I have also read other training materials from Endurance Nation where they preach get fast first, then go long. Any thoughts on this approach to training? Thanks.

Joe Friel

Best... - Training needs to become increasingly like the race one is training for. EC trains people for Ironman. So that's what they are doing. If they were training athletes for sprints it would have to be the other way around.

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I think there is one important consideration missing from the introduction. That is have a clearly stated goal for the base period training period.

Scott Sutherland-Thomson

Hi Joe,

I just completed a 24 hour MTB race 11 days ago and am now looking towards my next A race (a 10 hour MTB race at Fort William) in 20 weeks time. I am reading (& re-reading) your book on power training. As there are no specific plans in your book for MTBing I am using the Century Rider plans as a template, while adding more race specific stuff to my build period. My concern is that the early Base period consists of Aerobic Endurance and Muscular Force workouts. I am worried that these workouts will not produce enough TSS and I will lose fitness. I generally don't have an 'off-season' so is it still important to start with 'early' Base training or can I start with the Muscular Endurance workouts of the 'late' Base period? Saying all this I have no experience of Muscular Force workouts and I may be underestimating their impact and importance.

Joe Friel

Scott Sutherland-Thomson--I don't think it should be a problem to do a lot of aerobic endurance and muscular force for 3-4 weeks as you have 5 months until that race. It's ok to mix in some ME workouts with those too. But with that many weeks to go it should be just about right. Of course, it still comes down to if AE and MF are limiters for you. But I'd suggest one can never do too much AE training for an endurance event.

Scott Sutherland-Thomson

Thanks you Joe, As with most amateur athletes my main issue is having enough time to do enough AE to rise TSS. As suggested I will do AE, MF and add some ME for the first 3-4 weeks. I tried an MF workout yesterday (total of 9 reps). I didn't find it that taxing so I think I can add some ME in without overdoing it. I guess the challenge will be to keep the power right in my workouts so I am getting maximum benefit from them. I have a good FTP but my main lesson from the 24hr race was that I may need to improve my AE engine (although I think it may be dangerous to conclude too much from a 24hr race as there are so many variables).

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