« My Clinics, Camps, and Talks | Main | How to Have a Personal Best Ironman »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Rodrigo Freeman

Hi J. I'm a big fan of yours, have several of your books. This 1st Dec I have organised my own ultramarathon, basically 100k along a route I know well with 3 other friends. I'm doing that just for fun, I have no finishing time in mind. I'm only interested in having fun and finishing it safely, although some of the runs are very long, the training is very unstructured and I'm loving it.
However, I'm attempting my 1st IM in Austria next year and by January I'm going to be following your periodizations program from The Triathlete's Training Bible and be very serious about my training and nutrition.
I have a question for you. Weights is part of my program and I'm well into the AA phase at the moment. My plan is to have completed the MS period by the time I hit Base 1 of IM training. My strategy is to then just maintain my strength so I can direct my precious training time on the bike which is where I feel is my weakest point and the one which will reward me with a better overall finishing time. Is it ok to bring forward the weight phases as I'm planning to do?
My biggest challenge is to convince my wife I need a power meter. :-) I'll at least be hiring a PM for IM, without a doubt.
Kind regards
Rodrigo Freeman

Joe Friel

Rodrigo, I like to have athletes in the strength maintenance (SM) phase by base 2. Good luck!

Rodrigo Freeman

Thanks for your reply Joe. I will time it right to hit SM by Base 2. Regards


Wow, high quality post. Really helps flesh out the non-training time of year with specifics and WHY, instead of just saying it's okay to have a doughnut and a beer. Thanks for sharing!


Good post. I have been applying this approach to getting ready to do a triathlon. Of course I am treating my first sprint triathlon like someone else training for an iron man, I just want to be able to enjoy it as much as possible and proper training allows that. Your blog and training bible has been indispensable in this process. Thanks.

George Coffey

My question is not really related to the topic of this post, but something about the references to being laser-focused and workouts being 100% performance related has me thinking about the upcoming winter training season and the mind numbing long sessions on a trainer. I was reading an older post on training week design. In the section on training duration it was mentioned that force and speed skills work might be counterproductive if included in a longer duration aerobic session. How do you determine if adding a little higher intensity work to a long, mostly lower intensity session is counterproductive? For instance, sad as it seems, I can imagine looking forward to an intense 2 minute spin up every 15 or so minutes during a 2.5 hour endurance workout on a trainer. Or maybe maintaining the same power output, but pushing a bigger gear at a much lower rpm for 5 out of every 20 minutes. Joe, how do I determine when spicing up a boring workout is counterproductive? Do you or any of your readers have ideas on how to make trainer sessions more interesting?

Joe Friel

George--I'm not a good person to ask. I really dislike training indoors. I moved to Arizona, in part, for that reason. (In the summer i return to Boulder because in AZ people train indoors in the summer--extreme heat.) Perhaps some readers can offer ideas.

Gregg Seltzer

I am surprised that your seriousness level in the prep-phase is so high. It is hard, yes, to go from off-season or transition phase where you say it is zero to 60%, immediately. I would have thought it would ramp up each week. After all, the purpose of the prep phase is to PREPARE the body and mind for training. Maybe begin at 20-25% in week-1, 25-30% in week-2, and so on.

Joe Friel

Gregg--There are many ways of doing this. Whatever works is fine.


George: As far as how to make trainer workouts more interesting. Music and cycling videos. I personally blast techno music and various different footage from races. Sometimes I don't blast the music and listen to commentary but that is more rare. I also try and avoid doing my endurance rides on the trainer. I'm in Rochester, NY we see our fair share of winter weather and you will see me bundled up out on the roads for all of my endurance rides because it is far more enjoyable.

George Coffey

Jordan. Thanks for the ideas. I have music from classical to hard rock. Movies also help, but anything steady state over two hours is tough. And I hate riding in the cold even worse than on the trainer. I actually enjoy intervals on the trainer. Joe, lets forget about the trainer aspect. How would you determine how much higher intensity work could be added to a long, mostly lower intensity session before becoming counterproductive? Thanks.


Joe, I have a huge amount of respect for you and have valued your advice since I started cycling "seriously".

However I think you are wrong in one crucial regard.

It makes every sense to me that professional cyclists will want to have a time out end season. They cycle for a living and it's reasonable to want a break. When they start cycling again they have some flexibility about when they train and can pick a location where the sun shines to do this.

If you are not a pro it makes no sense at all to me to give up fitness gained during a season. Spending 4 let alone 12-16 weeks in "transition/preparation/base 1" is, for me totally unmotivating. They make the change back to being "serious" far more intense than they need to be. I far rather spend these weeks being "serious" but focussed. During this time I work on keeping FTP at the same level as season end. I do this by doing targeted 60-90 minute workouts at 85-95% FTP 4-6 times a week. I find these workouts serious but fun and they leave me in a far better place to pick up training come Spring than if I switch off then have to pick up again.

Mick Mathews

George, the best way to spice up an indoor training session is to dress up and go out. You can easily dress for 20 degrees F and below. Snow packed roads can be accommodated with cross or mountain bike tires. And then there's cross training. Mix your riding time with XC skiing, snowshoeing, running, etc. Anything but 2+ hours indoors. Your bike endurance will come up quickly in the spring.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Joe Friel's Sponsors

Blue Competition Cycles
"Specialized Bikes is my newest sponsor. I’ve been impressed with their bikes for a long time so I tried one. Had to have it. What a great ride!"

D2 Shoes
"I’ve been using custom-made D2 Shoes for years. Currently on my fourth pair. And, yes, they have midsole cleats as described in my blog."

ADS Sports Eyewear \
"ADS Sports Eyewear makes all of my glasses for casualwear, reading, cycling, golf and more. Hundreds of models from all the major manufacturers."


Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner