Joe Friel Live!

10 Jan

Last night I was lucky enough to see Joe Friel, the author of The Training Bible and founder of Training Peaks, speak at Oakley HQ just a few miles from my house.  I have to admit that I have not read any of his books nor do I subscribe to his website, but I am on this crazy road to a 70.3 and thought that a little training insight couldn’t come at a better time.

Mr. Friel has trained Olympians, World Champions and National Champions, so I knew that some of his info and recommendations might be a little out of reach for me.  At the beginning of his talk he asked the audience to raise their hand if they were a road cyclist, mountain biker, triathlete or other and about 80% of the audience were road cyclists, so he geared his talk to cycling.

He spoke for over an hour and it was really enlightening.  Obviously I can’t go over everything he said, but here are a few nuggets I came away with.

1) Consistency is key.  He showed us a graph of athletes outputs before and after a missed workout.  The results were shocking.  For one missed 1 hr workout, it will take you on average 5-6 hrs of working out to regain that loss.  Of course we all need rest days, but it is very difficult to regain the ground you miss by just taking that one day off.  Really made me think!

2) Have a plan and have a way to measure your results.  Joe is big on numbers, graphs and data.  A huge fan of power meters, which start at $1500 and a little out of my budget.  He did give some other options, but his point was the only way to know if you are improving and your training is working is to measure your results.  I wear a heart rate monitor and I will be honest, I use it to see how many calories I burned, so I know how much more I can eat.  I don’t train in heart rate zones like I should, I wing it.  But I think now I will look at that a little more carefully.

3) For a beginner, endurance is where you should spend your time.  Put in the miles.  The more experienced you become, the less important endurance (time and distance) are and the more important intensity becomes.  I think this is a trend in general in fitness with the popularity of interval and High Intensity Training or HIT .  After endurance and intensity are covered, then the athlete should focus on skill.  Skills can make a good athlete great.

Of course I am just scratching the surface and trying to recall the talk a day later and I am sure I am missing some big points.  I left thinking that I needed about 10 grand in order to get all the testing done and buy the equipment and software needed to “really” train.  I am sure that was not his point, but I left there feeling like I needed to get a VO2 threshold test, a power meter, bike fit, new bike and heck a coach!

Do you have a power meter?  Follow heart rate zone training?  How has it helped or improved your fitness?


6 Responses to “Joe Friel Live!”

  1. TriFemme January 10, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    I have just gotten the Garmin 910xt which comes with a power meter for biking along with other great features for swimming and running (including heart rate monitor). Its too cold and icy to do many outdoor bikes right now, but I can’t wait to use it this spring. Its about the third of a cost of a power meter-so may be worth checking out for you.

    • Kristi January 10, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

      Just a quick clarification….the 910xt doesn’t have a power meter….it just allows you to *link* to a power meter (as does the Garmin 310). You’ll still need to have one of the power meters out there on your bike (Quarq, PowerTap, etc).

      • toughchik January 11, 2013 at 8:35 am #

        That is what I thought!

  2. January 10, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    What a great treat to hear his speak! The snippet about a missed workout is so interesting…I know even if I’m injured, I try really hard to get the workout duration done and adjust the intensity to my ability. I find this usually allows me to maintain my fitness….maybe not gain, but not loose while I heal!

    I have the Garmin 910xt (which does it all…maybe even finish the race if you get too tired!!) and will pair it with the Quarq power meter I got for for Christmas.

    The Quarq was more to contain me than anything else….I’ve found I’m better staying in a “power zone”, similar to HR zone when running. Otherwise I beat myself (mentally and physically) up trying to maintain a certain speed. The data helps keep me in check when my subconscious starts to take over….now I don’t even look at bike speed or running pace….2 things that caused me to push too hard all the time and end up hurt way more than I needed to be!!

    I can’t wait to see the progress from fitness test to fitness test, but the tools themselves are invaluable to me on a daily basis.

    • toughchik January 11, 2013 at 8:37 am #

      Thanks for your reply. I DO try and keep a certain speed on the bike and probably to a fault. Now just talking the hubby into the investment! I have a 310, which I believe links to the Quarq too.


  1. IM TX 70.3 Week 6 Recap « Tough Chik - January 14, 2013

    […] – I had the privilege of seeing Joe Friel speak this week, so I tried my indoor session using HR zones as specified in the training plan.  I […]

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