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Hi Joe,

Thanks for expanding upon what you've written in "The Bible" in your stage race training section. For those of us who want to try "crashing" for maximizing a peak during the season rather than for a stage race, would you suggest following a training schedule similar to what you've detailed in your book, i.e. 2 weeks of workouts in Build1, followed by 2 weeks of workouts in Build2?

I've been doing the suggested 3 week ON/ 1 week OFF for all of my training periods. I gather from what you've written that you recommend a 2 week crash cycle and that for a standard training schedule that this should be done in Build.

Would you advise switching to a 2 week ON/ 1 week OFF Build1 & 2 crash cycle like that in your stage race program, or following a standard 3 week Build1, followed by a 2 week Build 2 crash cycle or 1 week standard Build2 followed by a 2 week Build2 crash cycle? Perhaps some other variation?

Thanks again!

Joe Friel

Cris--Your question is rather complex. Not sure I fully grasp it all. Let me just say first of all that the length of the crash period should be short. The first time it's tried it may only be 4 days. It's risky. You'll learn a lot doing it this first time. Use what you learned to lengthen it the next time if that seems appropriate given what you've learned. I'd suggest no more than 1 of these crashes per A-race prep. As for when to do it, I'd suggest in Build 2 leaving at least 3 weeks until the race. I hope that answered your question.


While I'll avoid crash training for a long time in my own race preparations, are there adjustments in nutrition beyond what one might make if simply doing late Build intervals (I am thinking of EPOC). Does the proportion of energy tilt more towards protein or carbohydrates in such a setting?
Ever curious,

Joe Friel

Madeleine--There would certainly be an increase in total calories and most of that would come from carb.


Two questions - first, is there a simple method to determine if your muscular endurance fitness is good? I'm familiar with looking at power/heartrate decoupling to look at aerobic fitness and wonder if there is a measure I can use to assess ME. Second, I will be on vacation for 10 days late in March without much opportunity to train. Is it plausible to use crash training immediately prior to the 10 days off in order to try to supercompensate and maintain fitness during the break?

Joe Friel

Linda--One way to measure ME is to compare output with input about every 4 weeks. For example, warm-up in a standard way (_everything_ must be standardized for this to work--WU, equipment, food, sleep, etc) and then ride (or run) for 20 minutes precisely at FTP. At conclusion divide average power (or speed for run) by average heart rate. Your ME is improving if the quotient is increasing.

As for crashing before an extended time away from training, I think that's a great idea. Building as much fitness and fatigue as you can manage before a period of down time allows you to use that time for recovery. You may consider doing something similar (probably not an extended crash tho) on your return to training.


What kind of hours should the, daily, training be, in a crash training period? For instance, if I train, on average, 8-10 hours a week how much more of an increase in time? Or would I just increase my time at intensity, and schedule fewer recovery days? Would it depend on the length of the crash cycle? What if I train less or more then my example of 8-10 hours, is there a PERCENTAGE of increase or decrease in daily hours during a crash cycle? Thanks!


Thanks Joe for augmenting this topic from the book. I am currently planning my Build cycles which are a few weeks off and as my A race is a 3-day stage race, I am considering using Build 2 as a crash cycle.

I am wondering when, all things being equal, one might choose the shorter crash over the traditional 4 week cycle, assuming endurance is not a limiter? In other words, if my goal is simply to increase the pure speed of my climbing and TT, would I better off to adopt the crash or stick with the traditional 4-week cycle, alternating hard/easy days?


On an unrelated note, because I don't have twitter. I read looked at your workout on 2/22/11 that you tweeted. What is ZQ, in your summary of the ride? You mentioned you had a ZQ of 112, and that might have been the reason yor power and heart rate were up.

Joe Friel

Nathan--I've been toying around with a Zeo, sleep monitoring device. ZQ is the Zeo's measure of the quantity and quality of sleep. I'll write about this once I know more about it.

Joe Friel

Glenn-From a road cyclist's perspective, if you are not training for a stage race then the benefit of crashing will not be as effective. It suspect it may be better at improving your aerobic and muscular endurance as opposed to anaerobic endurance. So depends on your limiters.

Joe Friel

Nathan--This is one of those "it depends" questions. Hard to answer when I know nothing about the athlete. Even when I coach someone such decisions are difficult. But I'll take a stab... Volume should increase some, perhaps 50% top end. Increasing intensity is the real key. More frequent high intensity (relative to your event) workouts and less frequent recovery days. Always bear in mind that you are doing high-risk training. Be prepared to back off.



I have a triathlon on the 17th of October and thought about doing a crash training/cycling holidays 2 weeks prior the race. This would be 100km/day (average) riding across Mont Blanc in France.

Would that be reasonable to go for such a holiday just 2 weeks before the race?

Thx for your help.

Joe Friel

Pierre--Not a good idea.


I am a recovering athlete attempting to get myself back on track with my own little 5 years fitness plan. I recently suffered a torn UCL of the elbow and will receive surgery for it in the near future. In good time I would love to incorporate this crash training or "supercompensation cycling" into my workouts. My question pertains to athletes that have a split workout plan. When I was able, I had a structured schedule of 4 days of intense lifting and 3 days of intense cardio. Would it be generally acceptable to use the crash training with the same basic schedule, or should I focus on one as not to be detrimental to the other?

Joe Friel

Ken--Good question. I don't know as I've never tried it with that format. Good luck.

Roberto Bo

Joe, I've been following your training for stage races. These seem to be built for 3-4 day races. I'm now planning a 7 day race and was thinking on doing a 14 day training followed by 7 very easy days... reapeat after 1 month and rest 2 weeks before the race (active recov). I've beed doing a good base period (base 3 of 18 hrs in 3rd week). Would you recommend this or is it too risky? Should I just reduce to 10 days to start with an check if I can handle?

Thanks, Roberto

Joe Friel

Roberto--14 days is a lot if you plan to crash train that entire time. Pretty risky. I'd suggest shorter until you see how it goes.

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