Written By Dr. Nicholas Parton, DPT, MTC, CSCS
Background of the Triathlete’s Training Bible:
Joe Friel made his mark on triathlon long ago with his first edition of The Triathlete’s Training Bible, and to his great credit, he did not stop growing when he achieved success with his first book. He went on to create The Triathlete’s Training Diary and has recently updated the content of his training bible, the newly released 4th edition. Sports science is an evolving field, a lot like nutrition and other fields that try to identify what can be done to maximize the ability of the human body. As he mentions in the foreword, this book is for “high performance” and is meant for those who have some understanding of what it takes to train for triathlon regularly. As a doctor of physical therapy and certified strength and conditioning specialist, I thought this book would provide an interesting read and an opportunity to compare the current exercise science research with the information provided in this book.
Key takeaways on what the training bible can teach a triathlete:
- Succeeding in triathlon requires work on the mind and the body. Proper goals, focus, and purpose are as important as training volume, intensity, and rest.
- Determine the Three Physical Metrics to determine fitness: Aerobic Capacity, Anaerobic Threshold, and Economy. Develop your basic abilities, aerobic endurance, muscular force, and speed skills, then your advanced abilities, muscular endurance, anaerobic endurance, and sprint power, in order to improve your physical metrics.
- Learn to manage your training load. Utilize tools of pace charts, heart rate, and power to create zones of training that allow you to apply an appropriate training stress and also successfully rest. In the book you are able to use the information to create your custom zones.
- Plan your year based on your goals and your longest race/”A-race” for that year. Then drill down to determine training periodization with weekly volume and finally daily planning.
- Develop triathlon specific skills early to gain your competitive edge as it takes less time to maintain those skills after they are learned. Use warm ups to practice motor patterns and hone your skills.
- Mimic sport specific motions during weight lifting to maximize the benefit of your gym/strength training time.
A valuable resource and training tool for triathletes:
I’m a firm believer that many athletes know just enough about sports science and nutrition to be caught in fads and poor training regimens. For most triathletes, The Triathlete’s Training Bible and Diary are as good as taking an entry-level exercise physiology class in college. It’s important to take the time to gain full and diverse knowledge about your body and training. From this book, a triathlete can acquire an improved in-depth understanding of how the body adapts to loads of training during rest and through periodization, which will help the athlete listen to their body with improved success and less guessing. Triathletes will learn about the concepts of training during the preliminary chapters of the training bible. Knowing how and why the body responds to training allows an athlete to find increased value in what sometimes seem like endless hours of training and commitment. Once these foundations of knowledge are established, the reader is then provided with workouts and explanations of workouts in order to apply those concepts. Athletes can utilize the training diary to plan, log, and analyze past performances. Examples of brick workouts and ideas of how to vary training are found in the appendices. Personally, I love how Friel lays out specific workouts for each of the abilities that a successful athlete needs; this allows the reader to further test themselves and improve specific weaknesses. We all avoid certain types of workouts that are our least favorite, but this book can help you understand if what you’re avoiding is actually a true weakness as well.
Bottom line: Utilizing the training practices in the book will allow triathletes to specialize, properly overload, and adapt their training for maximum benefit and time efficiency.
Happy Swimming, Biking, and Running!
About the Author: Dr. Nicholas Parton, DPT, MTC, CSCS is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in Colorado Springs, who works with athletes in their homes and in the field through Parton Physical Therapy (www.partonpt.com), spends his free time triathlon training with the support of TriSports.com, and enjoys getting lost in the mountains with his wife, Jessica.