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Hi M. Friel,

Could you explain me the difference between speed skills and intervals and speed work in point C and D of the Run training.

Thank you very much.


Hi Joe, do you advise strength training in the last 15 weeks of ironman training? If so, is that included in the 15 hpw and how much % of training time should it be?

Also, how would a half-ironman athlete modify your tips for ironman training? Do you still consider it a bike race with a swim warm-up and jog to the finish? How many weeks prior to race day should training stabilize, and how many hrs/wk should it stabilize to?

Thanks. --Bruce


Seems so simple doesn't it???
Great outline coach, thanks for your contribution

Joe Friel

Bruce--Lots of Q's. I'll take a stab at them. In the last 15 weeks there is very little to be gained from strength work. If you do it should probably be quite minimal--perhaps 20 minutes per week. And yes, that time is part of your training. The shorter the race, the less of a jog it becomes and the more important the swim becomes to overall performance time. Training volume should be stable (or even slightly decreasing if intensity is increasing for a shorter than IM race) for around 15 weeks prior.

Joe Friel

Simon--These terms are somewhat vague and not well-defined. Everyone seems to use them with their own definition but assumes that everyone else sees it the same way they do. Here's how I use them (if I do): "Interval"--a workout in which higher and lower intensity efforts are alternated with prescribed durations and intensities for each. "Speed skill"--a portion of a workout which is devoted to improving event-specific skills at event-specific rates (e.g., cadence). "Speedwork"--I don't use this term at all. It is the most vague of the 3 and the most likely to have multiple meanings which are not well understood by anyone.


Hi Joe,

How would be your week training schedule with 4 times per week swim, 4 times bike and 3 times run?

Do you think 3 rides per week is not enough?

Thank you for your help.

Rodrigo Freeman

Hi Joe. One of your description of IM races is that it's an 'eating contest'. I've recently come across the concept of metabolic efficiency developed by American sports dietician & athlete Bob Seebohar, whereby you manipulate your diet through the season to the extent that your body will become so efficient at using your fat stores that it'll eliminate the need for the traditional carbload and a reduced need to feed in racing. Is that something you can comment on? Many thanks Rodrigo

Joe Friel

Rodrigo-- By that I didn't mean it was a contest to see who could eat the most, but rather one in which one could eat the least. See my comments near the end about not needing a lot. I agree with Bob: If you eat a higher fat-lower carb diet your body will be much better at burning fat and you'll need less sugar during a race, esp long ones.

Joe Friel

Gil--I can't tell you. There are just too many lifestyle issues that affect weekly scheduling.

Lynn Cunningham

Coach Joe--can we apply your 20% swim, 50% bike, 30% running break down to the shorter 1/2 IM distance?
Thanks...Lynn Cunningham

Joe Friel

Lynn C--Yes, you sure can.


Hi Joe. I have your Training Bible as well, in which you advise Big Days 8 weeks and 4 weeks prior to race day (pg 161). In this blog post you advise Big Days 11 and 5 weeks out. Does it matter exactly when those Big Days take place?


Mr. Friel,
Can a reasonable amount of the bike and run training you prescribe for IMs and half-IMs be done on a trainer and treadmill, respectively. Thank you.

Joe Friel

Lona--So long as there is adequate time between them to recover and build fitness and then recover before the race.

Joe Friel

Robert--It certainly can.

Ioan Rees

Joe - Great post. Maintaining an overview of the 'big season' picture is essential to achieving consistent performance. The detail is necessary of course, but it helps to always refer back to the wider plan. Thanks again, Ioan


Thanks for the blog...it really helped.iron man ,iron man fans, iron man collectables

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