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hey. i'am starting my base training, the only way i can keep a steady pace is using a 10km low gradient hill, because terrain here is just up an down, is it ok to do repeats like 30 mins going up and 15 mins going down? like 3 ou 4, how much worse is it than doing 1.5 hour steady? it's really the only way i can to base training


Joe Friel

Telmo--That's ok. Keep it up.


Wouldn't following the pmc chart over the past 6-8 week base-build-peak stages where there is a recovery week built into the ATP be the way to track success of recovery? Look for % changes in tss-ctl-atl that would give one a historical success in recovery to the next phase-cycle assuming one is using TP. I guess this makes for the reason to use a ATP/TP doesn't.


I typically do a 1-2 mile cool down after hard workouts (tempo, 800m repeats, etc). If I can't run the cool down at my normal easy pace with my usual effort, I take note that at the very least, the workout was highly taxing, maybe too taxing.

If I start to see a succession of these sub-par cool downs, I take that as a sign that I need to back off a little. Maybe coincidence, but this method has kept me out of OT trouble over the years.


Do you know of any good links related to overtraining and inflammation? I've read that they are related, and am wondering about understanding your own inflammation levels as a way your body tells you that you're going too far.

Joe Friel

Fred--Interesting idea. Start by checking to see if there's any research on this by going to PubMed-- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/


'Do you know of any good links related to overtraining and inflammation?' I am pretty sure I am currently in a deeply over-trained state, unless there is another health issue. I have been to the doctor for blood tests and apparently my liver is slightly inflamed. Could this be linked to overtraining?

Joe Friel

Evan--I have never seen anything on this. Sorry I can't be of help.


Hi Joel - I am a women's cat 4 cyclist and think I might be experiencing overtraining. I was wondering what you thought and the appropriate action I should take. This is sort of a long story, but in a nutshell: I was at peak fitness, doing about 12-13 hours per week on the bike, racing each week. A month ago (with two races left in the season) I got hit by a car and fractured my collarbone. I was extremely frustrated with the whole thing and decided to try and keep exercising intensely with spin classes/lower body lifting. During about the 3rd week I wasn't feeling great and by the end of it, I decided to take a few days off (72 hours), then ran, where my HR was extremely elevated. I finally got my bike back this last week (so week 4 in this timeline) and felt really crappy on the couple of rides I did, like my legs were just filled with lactic acid but I wasn't going very hard at all. So I took another day off (even though those rides were really easy), then yesterday rode only 25 miles at an easy pace. Today they are feeling a little better, but I am really concerned about recovering from "overtraining" if this is the case since I am so anxious to start training regularly again. It wasn't like I was doing even close to the number of hours I was doing before the accident and so it doesn't seem like it would have been possible to severely overtrain myself even though I tried to go really hard in the spin classes (avg. HR ~ 160 for 1.5 hours). I was planning to not ride again today and take it super easy for a few days, in hopes of my legs starting to feel normal again - my collarbone is actually feeling fine, but my legs just feel really cruddy and my HR has been elevated in any ride/run I did in the last week. Any advice you have would be much appreciated!

Joe Friel

Hi Dlizabeth--I expect that's not overtraining you are experiencing. More Han likely a loss of bike-specific fitness. Just hang in there with steady training and a focus on aerobic endurance (z2) and you should be feeling strong in a couple of weeks.


Ok, thanks Joe, well i have actually decided to take 5 days off of no riding/running/lower body lifting and see how I feel. I have been riding a bit but just hasn't felt great and my legs feel sluggish all the time (not on the bike as well). So although they have improved some since last week in this going easy week, I am going to take this week and see how they feel at the end, if I think I am ready I will ride sat, but if I am skeptical, I will probably wait a few more days - better safe than sorry in this game I suppose; b/c I am ready to go full force in to base season as soon as i can!

Max b

concerning R&R weeks, I see that every R&R week has the same number of hours in your book (triathlon training bible p.119) but I just found online another grid of yours :
That has more hours in the R&R weeks, is that a mistake ? For example every R&R week has 5.5hrs if you do 400hrs/year

I'm ajusting my program I was planning to do 450 hrs/years for my first year of training but it seems too much for me i'm moving to 400hrs from recent mental burnout of traning (difficulty sleep, etc.)

Thanks for your work !

Joe Friel

Max--Don't become overly focused on weekly numbers. They are suggestions to point you in the right direction. Good luck!



I am 33 years old and I think I am experiencing over training. After a very full year (many races of mountain running especially sky races, mountain biking, 2 half ironman triathlons and few olimpic triathlons) I was going to recover for 3 months (october, nevember and december) and start training for an Ironman in 2018, following one of your training programs However, during these 3 months i did other spontaneous races, long runs and bikes and did not eat nor rest properly (i was waking up at night and could not fall asleep easily, i would sleep for around 6 hours). I also have 2 kids that were sick for 3 weeks in November.

On December 1st i started having panic attacks, high blood pressure, insomnia, very scary anxiety feelings, palpitations, menstrual deregulation. None of these was EVER present in my life.

I did many medical investigations and everything seems to be just fine with me. The heart is also fine but the high blood pressure comes in very quickly and it can get from (12 w 8 to 15 w 10).

One year ago I did a professional check-up in order to test my blood pressure, my maximal heart rate during effort, VO2max and so on. And everything was perfect.

Now I am scared that I did some permanent damage to my body and mind. It is clear to me that my mind cannot handle stress anymore and this causes a series of reactions.

I am eating well, trying to sleep better, I have reduced physical activity to a minimum and I see improvements. But the recovery is very slow.

Please let me know if I can hope for a full recovery and how soon can this happen.

Thank you very much and for all your work!

Joe Friel

Adriana--I'm very sorry to hear of what's been happening to you. I wish I could answer your questions but it's not possible. OT is something that is not very well understood as it is so variable between individuals (if indeed what you are experiencing is OT). But it sounds like you are doing the right things to get your health back to normal. Keep it up. Best wishes, Joe


Thank you for your response, Joe! From your experience, do you know any athlete or amateur endurance triathlete who has experienced overtraining and has recovered from it 100%?

Joe Friel

Adriana--That's very hard to answer. I can tell you for sure that none of the athletes I coached became OT'ed while I was their coach. One (a pro) came to me OT'ed and I got him out of it as well as possible as he had been there for some time. But he never won another race and retired within 18 months, if I recall correctly. If you ask athletes you'll not get valid responses as most think becoming tired for a few days is OT'ing. They have no idea how serious and debilitating it is. MDs and sports scientists don't understand it fully either. So I'm afraid it's still very much of a mystery.

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