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John Cutler

Great post Joe. Using the PMC has been very helpful for me. Like clockwork I'll get sick when TSB drops too low, ATL spikes too high, or CTL stagnates at a high level for too long. But I imagine that if you were really aware of your body's (and mind's) signals, that you could probably achieve the same result.

Many cyclists who start in their mid-thirties (like myself) I think have this "make up for lost time" mentality that is really a mental roadblock. I know I feel this way. It is hard to accept that there is only so much I can do at this particular point in my development.

Thanks for the reminder to rest and taper!

Matt Hart

i've been reading about the athlete who got discovered the tapering effect because he got sick, but never knew his name. now i do, thanks joe.

tapering is all about confidence. if you aren't confident it's really hard to step down the training and rest. i find that my athletes and myself get "taper tantrums" in dealing with the reduction in volume.


What a timely post; I was just thinking about this topic the other day. I was reliving my college days and thinking about a minor foot injury I had midway through my outdoor track season.

Long story short, I did not run for 10 days and instead did light cycling for 40-60 minutes 2-3 times during that time. I came back and started training at a reduced volume to run a 5k PR and debut in the steeple with a top 10 finish at D3 New Englands.

Rest works! Even when you think you don't need it.


Great post! This couldn't have come at a better time for me since I am running a half marathon this weekend. I feel the need to continue my swimming, cycling and running workouts everyday or I will fizzle out, but after reading this, I realize that I do need to rest. Maybe just a session of light jogging/walking and yoga this week before the big day on Saturday.


Awesome history lesson Joe. And particularly for me, it's very gratifying that a coach of your caliber shares the same believes, when it comes down to rest. I often use a similar story w/ my athletes about rest, although this one is a bit closer to these days. In 1984, @the L.A. Olympic Games Joan Benoit was one of the favorites to fight for medals, along w/the norwegians. A few weeks before the games she had knee surgery. She was sidelined for a couple of weeks, forcing her to rest completely. You know the outcome of that first Women's marathon in the history of the Games. The same goes for the men's marathon with Carlos Lopez, who even though carrying the best credentials, many thought that because he was 37 years of age Marathon day, he wouldn't stand a chance against Salazar, Seko, Decastella, etc. A few weeks before the games, he was struck by a car while training, and was forced to rest for a couple of weeks. He went to set a new Olympic record, which was broken recently in the China Olympics. There we have it. If anyone still think that more is better, and that rest is not important, better read these statements and put them to use.

Coach Ian

This hits me at the right time. I have been training since November after breaking my foot, for a RAAM qualifier. And sometimes, I just get so tired, especially on the 12-18 hour rides, which I do once a week, I also do 1x200km ride as hard as I can a week. Then I have a few other rides, where I just do lots of interval training.

I am not sure what the volume should be during the taper and how long. As Matt mentioned for me it is a bit about confidence that you won't lose your form.


Joe, if I plan to ride the Leadville MTB 50-mile race in 6-7 hours, how long would you suggest my taper be considering the time it takes to finish the race? This is the most important race of my season. I do however also have an A race 3 weeks prior to this Leadville race.

Joe Friel

Jay--It's a little too complicated to answer since you have 2 A races in 3 weeks. Depending on what you did before the first one, the second will need little in the way of tapering. You will probably need to increase workload again briefly betwee them but, again, lots of variables here. Far too many from the little I know about you to be even somewhat certain. Good luck!


The most important benefit of yoga is physical and mental strong. Is it true?
Women's emotional health


Okay I'm cnvoniced. Let's put it to action.


Joe, I've been memorising The Triathle's Training Bible by heart ! Thank you. Can't wait for the next edition (hopefully twice the size, too heavy to carry and contains a bit about Sprint Duathlons).
1. Anyway, on the subject of tapers you say, sensibly, that taper lengths vary according to age, fitness level and sport.
Is there any taper calculator where we could get personalised estimates of these?
2. I've been looking at TSB/CTL/ATL and influence curves. Combined with my personal experience (good AG athlete but I could be younger) these seem to strongly suggest 2 week tapers doing virtually nothing, except the occasional short intense session. Which kinds flies contrary to popularly held views. Do you have a view on the correctness of these data?

Joe Friel

5k--No don't stop training. You'll wind up with very weak form. Go to my blog home page and search "weak form."

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