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Hi Joe,

How do you define "advanced athlete?"


Joe Friel

Angela--An experienced and highly fit competitor.

Jane Runner

Why does it become more difficult to get your HR into zone 5 as you get more fit? It seems the RPE feels so much higher than your actually HR readings when this change in fitness occurs. Thanks.

Joe Friel

Jane Runner - Because your stroke volume (amount of blood pumped per beat) has increased so much that heart rate frequency doesn't have to be as high as when less fit to supply the muscles with oxygen etc. This is a good adaptation from the heart's point of view.


Hi Joe. How would this "race-alike", interval-based training look alike if your A-competition is a 7-mountainstage cycling race? I mean you can hardly practice such things 1:1 in between your job, or do you? Thanks.


In relation to making training as race specific as possible, in the Half Ironman training plan from "Your Best Triathlon", during the Build phases you have cycling and running muscular endurance done back at Zone 3 HR, which of course is race specific. However, the swimming muscular endurance is done at Zone 4-5a. Wouldnt it be more specific to do it at Zone 3 HR as well?
is there a reasoning behind keeping the swimming muscular endurance at a higher intensity during the Build phase than what you would expect to swim at during the race?


Hey Joe,

As an athlete wants to increase the difficulty while doing an interval set, which will derive the most physiological benefit? (Baseline comparision: 3X3min zone 5 intervals with 3 min rest between reps)

a) Adding another interval rep (so doing 4X3min)

b) Decreasing rest time between sets (e.g down to 2 min of rest between set)


c) Lengthening the time of the interval set ( so doing 2X3min and 1X6min)

Thanks for taking your time out to reply!

Joe Friel

Anthony - The swim is usually done at a somewhat higher intensity, especially in the first several minutes, Being prepared for that requires higher intensity in training.

Joe Friel

Boon - the answer is yes. All of these should be done throughout training. It's not either-or.

Joe Friel

Tom - do workouts that are as much like the race as you can manage.


Hey Joe,

Re: my last question. I understand that this should be done throughout. But what if I want to raise the difficulty by one notch? Which of the options should I take first to ensure that it is manageable but not too hard as well as being the most beneficial?


Joe Friel

Boon--It depends on where you are starting from. The first order of business is to get the total stress of the interval workout to a decent level. That depends in part on the sport, your experience, susceptibility to injury, etc. For 3 minute intervals done at VO2max with 3 min recoveries the total accumulated work interval target for a single session is generally about 15 minutes for running and perhaps a little more for cycling.

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