General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Thoughts on Friel's "Your Best Triathlon" (or the plan you used last season) Rss Feed  
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2013-12-03 9:27 AM

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Austin, Texas
Subject: Thoughts on Friel's "Your Best Triathlon" (or the plan you used last season)

After a much needed couple months of down time from structured training (work, injuries, mental recuperation, etc.), and from posting much here (to many people's relief, I'm sure!), I'm starting back at it for next season.  As such, I wanted to both put down a few thoughts on the plan I used last year (in the hope that it might help anyone looking at using this book) and ask if anyone else has used it and/or has thoughts on it.

I used Friel's Your Best Triathlon as the basis for my plan.  Last season I started with the first build, having spent the early season focusing on running races and just maintaining some bike and swim fitness, so I didn't use the structured Base 1, 2, 3 blocks.  This season will be similar, in that I'm doing a Higdon HM plan for a late Feb. HM, and just maintaining bike and swim during that time, but at least I should be able to start with Base 3 and then the Build/Peak/Taper blocks.

My thoughts:

The long run was much better if I could do it on Thursday (which he suggests if you can do it - it's scheduled on the weekend mostly to accommodate the typical work schedule).  I also think that the plan would work best if I had gone to the longest distance when there was a range (1:00-1:15?  run the 1:15, etc.) for the 70.3.  For the Oly, the plan seemed spot on (and I think this year I'll also add some of the Oly speed work in to the 70.3 plan now and again for speed and variety).  I really liked the 30' warm up on the bike for the long interval run - I know not everyone likes bricks, but I found this a great training stress.

The bike volume was OK, but I felt that it was a bit less structured with power/intervals than I'd have liked (tough to do in a canned plan, I know).  This year, I plan to use the same overall framework, but will add in more interval work (Over/Unders, SS, etc., probably borrowing some from the Time Crunched Triathlete workouts - he did have some good hill work in there, I'm just adding some more) and make my long ride at the longer end of the range, as with the run.  

On the swim, he had more interval work than I did.  Once the local pond opened up, I didn't go back into the pool and did a lot more long, continuous swims than he (or it seems anyone else who knows about swimming) called for, although I would certainly mix up the intensity of those swims.  I admit it was mostly because I love the OWS and was OK sacrificing a minute or two of improvement to totally enjoy swimming all summer!  This winter, though, I will follow the workouts more closely and do sets in the pool, but once the pond is open all bets are off.  

I went with a 3 weeks on, one week of "rest and test" for each of the Build blocks.  That let me both recover a bit before starting the next block and also race at least monthly (I love racing and would end up doing way too many races if left to my own devices).  He suggests 2 weeks on 1 week "rest and test" for folks getting up around my age, so I'll be watching this season for whether or not the 3/1 still works or starts to break me down some.

The Peak/Taper block was 3 weeks.  He makes a concerted point that it takes that long to really peak and then taper, but it always felt too long for me.  I'm torn between really sticking to that plan and doing what "feels" right (one week of peak and a week taper).  Anyone have thoughts on this?

OK, let the season begin!  Love to hear anyone else's thoughts who used it and hope this is helpful for anyone considering using this plan.  If you used a different plan, it would be great to collect your thoughts on that, as well - might be helpful to many...


2013-12-03 11:06 AM
in reply to: mcmanusclan5

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Subject: RE: Thoughts on Friel's "Your Best Triathlon" (or the plan you used last season)

I also have used that book for my training plans over the past three seasons, and I have found them to work well for me.  I used the half-iron plan to prepare for my first 70.3 race this season, and I felt that I was adequately prepared.  I agree with you that I might have been well-served to work more on the higher end of the suggested ranges in both the run and bike workouts, but I did what I could with the time I had.  My goal was to break 6 hours, and I came in at 5:54, so I was happy enough.

Next year I am registered for IM Chattanooga, which will be my first attempt at the iron distance.  I will probably use Friel's plan again, although like you I will be doing a late-February HM to kick off my run base.  I will also be doing strength training and a couple of rides a week during the winter, and I usually swim three days a week. 

As far as the peak and taper, I found the three weeks to work well for me, especially since his "peak" block still includes a fair amount of volume.  I did not feel that I had tapered too much for my races during his plan.

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