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Steve M

great piece, I'm savin it

George Coffey

Joe, Another good article. Do you have a feel for any concrete signs of over training? The psychological symptoms are subjective and at least for me would be hard to apply. The physiological symptoms would be easier to monitor. Is there a resting HR increase that you would find suspect, say a sudden 10% increase that didn't go away after a few days? I've never seen you write anything about orthostatic HR. Do you feel it can be used as a reliable indicator of over training? I've read that if your HR is markedly above or below what it would normally be at a given effort, that can be an indicator. Finally, do you think that a sudden weight loss that isn't in line with any dieting you are doing might indicate over training?
Thanks, George Coffey

Joe Friel

George C--HR by itself is not a good indicator. In fact, sports scientists have been studying this for decades trying to come up with good gauges and indicators. They've not been very successful. OT seems to vary considerably between people and even in the same person as there are many training and lifestyle matters that can affect it. I made a list of these in each of my training Bible books.

Allen Lopez

Thank you for the article Joe. I especially enjoyed the 5th point on "Rest When Needed". Having a coach here helps me b/c id probably feel a little guilty putting up a zero without his conscent. question: How long do you suggest a taper should be for a full and 1/2 IM and what should be the intensity for those weeks? Thank


Will Barlow

Joe, Great read thank you. One question in relation to "make workouts increasingly like the race". In the last 6 weeks before an Iornman my cycling watts on long rides are very similar to my actual race watts, my swim pace on long intervals is very similar to my actual race pace. However, my regular run pace is about 8'30"/mile. My actual race run is more like 9'30"/mile. So assuming I did not go too hard on the swim/bike, I can see one of 3 options to be true.
1) In the last 6 weeks I should do some long runs at 9'00"-9'30"/mile.
2) For some reason I am not running to my potential
3) Running is not the same as biking/swimming.

Can you help me out?

Will Barlow

Joe Friel

Will B--The key to a "fast" run is to get as bike fit as possible and then hold back on the bike. The issue is how tired are you before starting the run - not how fast of a runner you are. http://www.joefrielsblog.com/2012/11/how-to-have-a-personal-best-ironman.html

Joe Friel

Allen L--How long you taper depends on a few variables such as how your training has gone, how tired you are, your level of fitness, etc. The intensity should be race like or slightly faster.

Kurt Lao

Great article John. But why isn't diet part of the equation? Isn't healthy dieting as important a part as the training regimen itself?

Joe Friel

Kurt Lao--Yes, nutrition is important. So is sleep, strength, range of motion, lifestyle stress, etc. Got to draw thew line some place when only talking about 5.

Kurt Lao

Fair enough Joe. Regardless, it's a great list. Happy New Year!

 Alfonso Carrón.

Hi Joe;

I begin to train for a 6 hour A-prority race duration with a selected annual volume for goal of "finish the race" of 500 as you suggest in The Total Heart Rate Training. And is very simple to asign the weekly and distribution time with the daily training hours.
But in the race week the table indicate 10,5 and the daily training hours for that 10,5 week indicate 2,5 / 2,0 / 1,5 / 1,5 / 1,0 / 1,0 / 1,0.
Since my race is of 6 hours and the longest workout for that race week indicate 2,5 should i substitute it and follow the others training hours as indicate 6,0 / 2,0 / 1,5 / 1,5 / 1,0 / 1,0 / 1,0 or modify the 10,5 hours distribution including 10,5 minus 6 (race time instead of long workout)= 4,5 hours remaining to do the rest of the week? and if the answer is the last one, how to distribute the remaining 4,5 hours in the week?
6,0 / ? / ? / ? / ? / ? / ?. (Race and long day on sunday).

And i see that are modifications of the hours and a rest day every week in my book The Ciclist Training Bible tables (4th Edition). Wich plan is better to follow the THRT or The Cyclist Training Bible? In the last one, the race week for 500 is 7,0 instead of the 10,5 in the THRT wich is worse if i substract the 6 A-priority race hours time minus those 7 hours week, give me only 1,0 hour to train the rest of the week.
Excuseme for the english, best regards;

Alfonso, from Spain.

Joe Friel

Alfonso--Your English is much better than my Espanol. So no problem there. I would suggest _not_ doing more than 2 6hour rides in the last 12 weeks. 4hrs is adequate for most of the weeks. You won't gain any more fitness from the extra 2hrs. 6hrs is mostly mental just to satisfy your question of "Can I do it?" Redistribute the remaining hours by taking an additional day off. The _don't_ have to add up to exactly what the table says the total is for each week. Take the table as a suggestion, not a requirement.


Happy New Year Joe,

I used your Cyclist's Training Bible to good effect years ago (my opinion!) and I now have your companion book.

My goals for the next year or so are quite simple: improve FTP and muscular endurance. I don't plan on racing, but I enjoy strenuous mtb and road rides with friends.

It is difficult for me to train with TSS values that get up to 100, for reasons of lack of time and a winter bike, and maxing out on the bike trainer at 1hr. My bread and butter workout is something like a 2x20min Z4 session on the trainer (TSS around 50). Does it make sense to include some Z5 drills at the same time for some workouts, in order to increase TSS? I'm thinking about what you wrote here for your TSS and workouts: http://www.joefrielsblog.com/2012/09/the-aging-athlete-more-about-me.html

I also commute to work, which I don't really treat as training but obviously it adds to physiological stress. Each trip (2 a day) is TSS of 12.5 and IF of 0.6.



Thank you for the answer, the blog and the twitter. More than excelent resource are an inspiration too.

Joe Friel

Shmish--if you are finishing the 1hr workout feeling like there's a lot left in the tank then adding my intervals wold be fine. But don't do it if the ride leaves you tired already.

Armi Legge

Thanks for another great post Joe.

Do you think it makes more sense to put LT training (e.g. going for 20' as hard as possible on the track) after shorter Vo2 max intervals (e.g. 6*5min efforts) as it would be more specific to the demands of the race?

Joe Friel

Armi--Yes, I've had athletes do similar workouts, although I usually define the intensity of the 20' relative to goal race intensity. But all-out could work well in some situations.

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