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Very difficult question with a crystal clear answer. Thank you.



My own personal experience confirms your comments above. I no longer race bikes, but a focus on structure and intensity--mostly between 90-120 percent of FTP during key times of the year--has shown encouraging results. I actually hit 40 last summer, but posted some of my fastest times on climbs of 30-80 minutes.

More intensity and less volume has also made fatigue and recovery MORE manageable, as well as diet.

How I feel ride to ride, and how to plan my recovery is much simpler and predictable; fewer 3000-4000kj rides also means fewer calories needed to fuel recovery.

It's working.

Endurance athletes are stubborn though. We have this conversation frequently, but so many resist the idea of reduced time on the bike. Interesting.


Thanks for all the posts! I am a mountain biker and have set up a training plan set out in you book MTB book as well as incorporating FA50. I have a question regarding training when not racing however. Should I loop through the build phase over the summer/ fall months If I have no races planned? My goal is to improve my riding and do rides with friends. Thanks in advance

Joe Friel

MA - Yes, I think that would be a very good idea. Just don't need Peak and Race periods. Good luck!


Another question as I'm calculating zones has popped up: In order to determine my Aerobic Threshold heart rate, do I subtract roughly 30 BPM from my 20 min. TT heart rate average ( which is what I'm currently using), or 5% - average hrt rate first and then subtract 30 bpm?
My 20 min. average heart rate stands at 160, therefore I calculated a Zone 2 of 130-142 bpm, with AT optimal range in the 128-132 bpm - am I on the right track?

Joe Friel

MA--Yes, you're doing it quite well. Watch all workout data too to make sure your get LTHR narrowed down. It's not just testing that reflects what your numbers are.

Saeyorn Sivanesan

Hi Joe - first up big fan of your writing in the last 6 months... and been researching only 7!
I'm training for ultra distance Obstacle Racing and now getting into training using your planning in conjunction with TP. My previous trainer used similar plans but it wasn't described/explained as well as you have in your workings. Only new things i am incorporating into my workout is the speed skill drills. I was wondering though with Muscular Force workouts (Force reps) and Skills (Strides Drills) - Should these be done in isolation? can I go out for 2 hr aerobic run afterwards or just do Force reps & Strides on the same day? or would that be counter productive? Trying to find a balance of not having to be working out 7 days a week.. Thanks in advance

Joe Friel

Saeyorn Sivanesan--Force reps and speed skills can be done on the same day and within the same workout. But it's best, I believe, if speed skills are done first. Good luck!

Saeyorn Sivanesan

Thanks Joe :) appreciate the response


Hi Joe,

I have a strangeish question. I hope you can help! I´ve just lost my job and I have three months available to train how I want! Obviously I´m tempted to head out every day and go bananas but consulting the PMC, even 2 hours of zone 2 every day is extreme. I´m just coming to the end of base 2, have you got any suggestions how to approach the next few months?

Many thanks,


Joe Friel

D - Read about "crash" training in my Training Bible. But I recommend no more than a week of that followed by a few days of rest. Then back to "normal" training. Have fun!

Jakob Boman

Thanks for this very clear answer! I have done sports for many years and at several levels and I have never until now understood the overall differences between the levels. Awesome post!

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