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Hi Joe,

I am a former All- American distance runner, turned triathlete. I am now a TP coach and one of my athletes is a burned out swimmer turned cyclist. She was a state champion in the butterfly and back stroke in high school and spent hours a day training until 2 years ago. She swam 2 seasons in college and then took up cycling. She is now a senior in college and wants to compete in the Collegiate Nationals for cycling. I am curious how duration would work in this circumstance? She has a well developed aerobic system and has improved, as you cite, by increasing cycling volume. In order to improve, do you think she needs to continue increasing her total cycling volume or keep that steady and increase the intervals? I have had her increasing the intervals recently, since for a time, she did not want to have anything to do with intervals and just rode her bike a lot of miles. Now she is open to being coached. So, I guess what I am wondering is, in the case of an athlete changing sports, whether the same rule of increasing duration will improve performance (for about 4 years) or whether that would be different if it is a well trained athlete?

Joe Friel

Hi Pam--Good question. There are many nuanced variables that I didn't get into in this blog. You've nailed one of them--the athlete who changes from one endurance sport to another. Tough one to answer. I suppose the starting place would be that the swimmer who becomes a cyclist probably has a well-developed cardiorespiratory system. The challenges are more peripheral with muscular development of the hips and legs, primarily. This is still going to take some time. Can't say how long as there are a lot of "it depends." But I'd venture a guess that at least two years of duration/volume focus would be beneficial. That doesn't mean no high intensity training. It's just a matter of how much and when. The good news is that cycling is perhaps one of the easiest sports to start anew. Swimming requires developing a highly complex skill on top of duration and intensity. Running places great orthopedic stress on the legs and hips and takes a long time for the necessary soft tissue "toughness" to develop. This alone can be 3 or 4 years. I wish I could be more specific for you here but each such athlete is an n of 1. I suspect you'll figure it for her over time. Good luck!

Jan Marsal

Hi Joe,

I have both your Triathlete's Training Bible and Your Best Triathlon books and with them I've learned a lot about the importance of purposeful training and I find myself quickly improving every day (thank you in advance for that!). Now I have a question regarding the Annual Hours between them. In which way is training volume modified on Your Best Triathlon from the Table 7.5 of Weekly Training Hours from the Training Bible? I found that, for example the Sprint plan shifts from 400 minimum annual hours to up to 500 hours, so apparently there's not much correlation between them. What's the point on that? It would be great if you could explain a little about it. Thanks!

Joe Friel

HI Jan--I'm afraid I can't answer your question with specifics as I am away from my office and won't have access to the books for several more weeks. We're moving and things are in storage. So either you'll have to wait or give me more details so I can understand the numbers you're wondering about. Sorry for the delay.

Jan Marsal

Hi Joe,

I think I may have ending up figuring it by myself. For example, taking a look on the Sprint plan from "Your Best", you establish a margin from 7:10 - 14:50 weekly training hours on Base 1 which according to the table on the Training Bible, that would be around 400 to even 750 annual training hours, taking in to account that in the R&R phase from that period the weekly hours go up to 10:30 (which according to the table, that would be the 750 annual load).

Does that mean that the plan in "Your Best" is intended to be completely flexible in conjunction with having an ATP that works with TSS (like in Trainingpeaks, which is my case)so that you can make adjustments here and there to fit the hours in the plan and your own seasonal objectives with a target CTL for the A races? Does that make any sense or am I overthinking a lot about it? Thank you and don't worry about the delay, your help is invaluable!


Hi Joe,

Apologies if this is the wrong place to post this message.

I am 49, overweight, work shifts, a weak swimmer who can only really do the breast stroke, have always had an interest in triathlons, but done nothing further. I have a decent bike and go out once sometimes twice a week.

Where do I start with triathlon training in terms of workout schedules for someone with my fitness level and learning about each discipline, for example, is fast after 50, a good place to start?

Thanks for your assistance.

Kind regards Stuart

Joe Friel

Hi Stuart, Thanks for your note. Glad to hear you are thinking of doing a triathlon. That's great. Could I suggest reading my book, Your First Triathlon? Good luck! https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=joe+friel+your+first+triathlon&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=228990329270&hvpos=1t1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=7717239634611577966&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9030347&hvtargid=kwd-430851211567&ref=pd_sl_24lugh36n0_b_p38

roi joi

Have a friend who likes to set mileage goals, then does the flattest, weakest rides (STRAVA RE scores < 50) he can put together to meet those goals. He seems to have stopped riding altogether now, after tapering off into short, flat, slow rides the last 2 months.

I'm not surprised, as I have always liked HIIT type training because I like to challenge myself. Do you have any thoughts on how to stay motivated, especially during the holiday season at the end of the year? HIIT, LSD, ???. Which is best?

Joe Friel

roi joi - Hard question to give a definitive answer to as we're all different. But the bottom line remains that most all of us do this for fun. So include workouts that you find to be fun.


Hi Joe, thanks for the great article. I've switched from cycling to running about a year ago and I am currently planning to do a few ultra trail races next year. I have your training bible for cyclists is there anything similar out there for runners? Or can I apply the principles you use in the training bible to running as well?
Thanks for your work. Keep it up!
Regards, Pascal

Joe Friel

Pascaleissler - I don't know of any such books for runners but there may well be some. The principles apply regardless of the endurance sport.


Hi joe - trying to figure out how to combine recommendations for weekly and mesocycle workouts from “fast after 50” with my TSS recommendations from training peaks. Current plan is to use the weekly workout recommendations based on priority workouts at each stage of training and then makeup missing weekly TSS with lower intensity efforts.

Joe Friel

CallMeTBone - Are you talking about the 9-day week described in Fast After 50? If so you really can't use the TSS tables for that. Instead you might read this -https://www.joefrielsblog.com/2016/07/the-9-day-training-week.html. Basically, it's doing all of your high intensity/long workouts every third day. TSS won't be neat and pretty as a result. But that's ok as you have to think then in 9-day weekly TSS numbers instead of 7.


Hi Joe,

(apologies in advance if this comments section is not the best place for my question. I am also very new in the "community".)

I just finished reading your "Your first triathlon" and have a very simple question regarding the bike training.

For frequent travelers carrying a bike around the world is not the easiest thing. Not to mention carrying the bike trainer. It seems to me you discarded the option to work out using a electric bike in the gym (I think they are called stationary bikes...?), always mentioning the bike trainer instead. Is it very ineffective, or it could work? Is there any model of such bikes that would work?

At the same time, do you know any resource (articles/books/etc.) with tricks and tips about triathlon training for frequent travelers?

Thanks a lot, I loved your book and already purchased the "triathlon bible" (but will wait a bit before reading it).
Kind regards

Joe Friel

Javier--Yes it is difficult to get a workout when traveling. Most riders, I think, probably rely on hotel stationary bikes. Some may carry their bikes with them if they will be gone some time but can get on the road/trail. But it's a hassle. Carrying a indoor trainer along with a bike would be an even bigger headache. I don't know of any easy solutions but perhaps someone who also shares your dilemma and has a solution will comment here.


Hi Joe,

I am following your "Your First Triathlon" and have a question.
I couldn't find yet a race that fits my business schedule. That doesn't affect my motivation, and I am already at week 8 of your suggested training plan (for experienced runners -- if that makes a difference).

I was wondering what adjustments to the plan I should make if I don't have a race in one month from now (that is, 12 weeks after I started). Should I keep repeating one (or more) week's schedule? If so, which one(s)?

Thank you.

Joe Friel

Javier--I'd suggest repeating the last 3 weeks prior to the last week of the plan (weeks 9, 10, 11) until the week before your race when you should do the last week of the plan (week 12). Good luck!

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