Preface I HOPE YOU’VE READ THE TRIATHLETE’S TRAINING BIBLE. If you have, you may be wondering why I’d write another book about triathlon training. After all, it’s been the best-selling book on the subject of triathlon training since 1997, when it first hit the bookshelves. I’ve revised it twice since then. More than 300,000 copies have been sold worldwide, and it’s been translated into German, Chinese, and other languages. The book has been used by the national triathlon federations of many countries to train their coaches. Amateur and elite triathletes around the world tell me they learned how to train from my book. It has been very gratifying to make such a contribution to so many lives and to the sport.
So if that book has been so successful, why not just revise it again? Why is a whole new book on the subject needed? Well, there are lots of reasons. I’ll explain.
As I’ve traveled around the world talking with triathletes at seminars, camps, and races, or communicated with them via e-mail, I’ve found that their comments often begin the same way: Something in the book was hard to understand. Some athletes have never implemented my principles into their training because they just weren’t sure how to do it. After I answered their questions, there was an “aha” moment. They now understood. In this book I explain some of these misunderstood or perhaps complicated concepts from The Triathlete’s Training Bible in a new way, using the same explanations that help people understand them when I am talking with them in person.
Here you will also find race-specific training plans for each period, with each of the workouts described in detail. That wasn’t done in The Triathlete’s Training Bible. The focus here is less on pedagogy and more on application. I’ll tell you exactly what to do and how to do it.
In Your Best Triathlon, rather than just explaining how to train as a disinterested author, I’ll write it from the perspective of your coach. The triathletes I’ve coached over the years have always come to understand the methods I use better than anyone else—with the exception of the coaches I’ve trained. I’ll talk to you here just as I do with the athletes I coach during my weekly telephone conversations with them. This is when we get into the details of how to do a certain workout and why we’re doing it this particular way. You will learn a lot about triathlon training and will be able to apply it right away.
In Part I, I’ll describe some of the important principles from the first book from a new perspective while also introducing you to some new methods. Then in Parts II, III, and IV the serious training begins. Using a periodization format based on the seasonal timing and distance of your next important race, I’ll walk you through the step-by-step process that goes into the preparation for an important triathlon. Even if you didn’t have any trouble getting it the first time around, a new perspective may reinforce the original ideas, resulting in greater mastery. Repetition is the key to full understanding and accurate implementation. Exposure to similar information, especially from a different point of view, may give you a greater depth of comprehension. After all, it may have been many years since you first read The Triathlete’s Training Bible.
If you are a student of training who has read The Triathlete’s Training Bible very closely, you may find some differences in what you read here. That’s because the world of training is not static. It is constantly evolving. New technology often results in different ways of viewing old methods, and I continue to be a student of training who is always looking for better ways. This often results in change and even contradictions from what I have previously written.
I like it when triathletes ask me to sign their well-worn, dog-eared, thoroughly highlighted and tabbed books, whether it is The Triathlete’s Training Bible, The Cyclist’s Training Bible, or one of the other books I’ve written over the years that they are holding in their hands. It’s apparent that these athletes have been deeply involved in the process of learning and not just reading to finish a book. You’ll get a lot more from this book—and ultimately race better—if you do that also. The more tattered this book becomes, the more you will learn. Mark it up!
What else can you do to make this book—and me—your coach? You could read a chapter at the same time as your training partner and discuss what you are learning whenever you get together for a workout. But realize that talk and good intentions are not enough. It takes action to become a better athlete. Apply what you are learning. Try out some of the methods the very first chance you get. Start following the training plans at the ends of Chapters 4 through 12 based on where you are in the season right now.
What should you do if you come across something you don’t understand, or something you are reluctant to try because you are unsure what to do? Go to my blog (joefrielsblog.com) and do a search for the topic. There’s a good chance you will find what you are looking for, as there are years of information stored there on a wide variety of subjects. If that doesn’t help, then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Briefly describe your quandary, and one of our TrainingBible coaches will get back to you with an answer. If your question is simple and does not require a lot of time to research or address, there is no charge for this service. I do need to warn you that if your question is complex, we may suggest a consultation with one of our coaches, and there’s a fee for that. Keep your question brief and to the point to avoid that cost.
I do a few weekend seminars, one-day clinics, and multiday camps around the world on training for triathlon. These are listed on our Web site (TrainingBible.com). Consider attending one to learn about triathlon firsthand and to get your questions answered.
The ultimate way to become a better triathlete is to hire a coach. If you have high goals and are pressed for time, this is the best way to not only race better, but also grow as an athlete. There are thousands of great coaches around the world. You can find one through your national triathlon federation or at TrainingPeaks (trainingpeaks.com), a Web site devoted to the enhancement of training and performance of endurance athletes.
One final point: This book is not meant to be read cover to cover. Treat it as a reference guide. After Part I, start reading with the chapter that corresponds to where you are in your season. Chapter 3 will help you to figure out where to begin based on how many weeks remain until your most important race of the season. Consult the training plan at the end of the first chapter you read, modifying it as needed to fit your lifestyle. As you are about to finish a 3- or 4-week training block, read the next chapter to begin preparing for the following block. If you are now at the start of your training for a new season, continue straight on through and go to Chapter 4, which describes how to train as your season begins. Then follow the training plans at the end of each chapter as you progress through the season.
The training plans at the ends of Chapters 4 through 12 are just like the ones I write for the athletes I coach. At the start of the season, the Prep and early Base blocks, the workouts are quite simple. As the season progresses the workouts become increasingly complex. By Base 3 (Chapter 7), you may well be scratching your head as you look at the training plan tables. Don’t worry: Each training session listed in the plan is explained in great detail earlier in the chapter.
So let’s get on with it. For the next several hundred pages I’ll be your coach. We will work as a team as you get ready for the best triathlon you’ve ever had.