A few weeks ago, the fine folks over at VeloPress asked me if I’d like to have the opportunity to review a book. After some back and forth, we decided that one book, in particular, would be a great initial fit with the TriMadness blog and be a superior capstone to the TriMadness Coaching Series. Today, I’ll share with you my thoughts on Joe Friel’s new book, Your Best Triathlon: Advanced Training for Serious Triathletes.
Friel wrote this book as a follow-up to his wildly popular book The Triathlete’s Training Bible, and is really built upon similar principles. Your Best Triathlon is geared for what Friel calls the “serious” triathlete – one who is gearing up for their best race ever.
That’s the main premise of the book: how to train for, and execute, your best triathlon race ever.
So how does Friel get us there? The book offers an in-depth view of each training phase (Prep, Base 1-3, Build 1-2, Peak, Taper, Race) including specific workouts for each phase. Don’t assume that this book is simply about training plans – they are there (at the end of each chapter are detailed training plans for each distance triathlon), but there is so much more to this book than just training plans.
For starters, Friel spends quite a bit of time explaining discussing your base fitness, how to train via periodization – which as many of us have heard is the right way to train for endurance sports. He discusses how to target specific weaknesses in your repertoire (he calls them limiters) such as endurance, economy, and muscular endurance. Friel then spends the better part of a chapter discussing the various types of worklouts that help target your limiters so that they can become enablers.
Friel then invests one full chapter to each phase of training. Within each chapter are specific goals and objectives that one should strive to meet during that phase. The entire book is predicated upon gearing up for an “A” race, and the timing of the training plan that you will build (based upon the workouts in the book) should be reflective of that race. As I mentioned, at the end of each chapter, there are complete workouts for each training phase. The workouts are designed in block form – two or three weeks of heavy workouts followed by a “rest and test” week.
Each reader will be able to create their own personalized training plan upon reading this book.
As I noted, this book probably isn’t for the training neophyte. One of the big assumptions is that you’ve got some triathlon background and at least some exposure to the tenants described in Friel’s earlier work (I didn’t). The pace of the book is good – it’s certainly not a novel, but isn’t as dry as a textbook. Regardless of how it reads, it is highly functional and a must read for any self-coached triathlete.
As we discussed during the TriMadness coaching series, athletes who are self-coached must have at their disposal a plethora of information and data. Your Best Triathlon: Advanced Training for Serious Triathletes is a fantastic tool to place into your triathlon toolkit. I’ve already dog-eared and highlighted a good chunk of this book, and plan on incorporating many of his tips into my own training.
You can purchase this book at many retailers. Download the Table of contents and an excerpt from VeloPress.