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In general, does the peak period always cover 3 weeks, or does the duration and discipline make a difference? Would you have as long a taper for an "A" race that was a 30K flat time trial as for a 90k hilly road race?

Joe Friel

Madeleine--The peak period could last from a few days to perhaps 4 weeks (which might be stretching it some). It varies based on what the training has been like leading up to the final weeks before the race. Extremely challenging training in the build period, especially for runners, would require a longer taper. On the other hand if an athlete had missed a lot of training in the build period (injury, illness, work, etc) then a shorter peak period may be necessary to continue building fitness. And, generally, the shorter the race, the shorter the peak period.


Hi Joe
Is it wise to continue with another or multiple build cycles after finishing Build 2 if not racing? Looking at your HIM and IM programs from "Your Best Triathlon" highest intensity is Z4. Can training in this zone for multiple months cause burnout or over training? Is one recovery week enough to prevent this? How long can you exercise in this zone before reaching plateau ? Looking only at intensity, is over training/burnout caused by extend period of work at higher intensity than functional threshold? In your other post you mention that there is not much benefit on working on advanced abilities for more than 8 weeks. What should you do than if not racing? Thank You

Joe Friel

Artur--The answer to all of your questions depends on your unique characteristics as an athlete. But I believe that most athletes are best-advised to return to the base period after several weeks of build. Good luck!

Nikita Zhuk

Hi Joel,

I've read Triathlete's Training Bible chapter on peaking and I would like to verify that I've understood correctly what you're recommending. On page 127, you write:

"You should plan to do a race-intensity simulation workout every 72 to 96 hours in Peak. Remember that race-intensity bike and run workouts are combined into one workout on the days of these simulations along with a quality swim session."

So does "race-intensity simulation workout" here mean the same thing as full brick workout including all 3 legs, at race intensity, every 3-4 days?

Also, based on your August 9., 2009 blog post, duration of these workouts should be dropping by 30-50% each weak (while keeping the same race intensity), so if Peak is 2 weeks you would probably schedule 4 workouts. What kind of durations we're talking about here per brick workout if the A race is Half-Ironman? Something like 4 hours for week 1 and 2 hours for week 2, or something less?

I'm just an average Joe, training for my first Half-Ironman (at end of July 2013), and have now done few sprints, an Olympic triathlon and several century rides. Thank you for your book, it has inspired me and helped to schedule my workouts and combine them with the rest of my life.

Joe Friel

Nikita--By "brick" I mean bike+run workout. The swim can be done separately. The duration of these workouts needs to get shorter each time, perhaps by 30-50% each depending on how many you are doing over a week or two. The closer to the event, the shorter the workouts. (BTW, it's "Joe" not "Joel". A common mistake.)

Travis Guess

Joe, I've been reading through your thoughts on peaking and wanted to ask for some clarification. My interpretation has been that, after Build 2, there is a recovery week, 2 weeks of peak, and a race week. That means race day is 4 weeks from the last day of Build 2. That seems like a long time so I wanted to make sure that I understood correctly.

Joe Friel

Travis Guess - That's correct if you make the recovery period an entire week. Most don't need that much time. 3-5 days is usually adequate.

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