Tag Archives: HITS

TT048: Joe Friel on “Fast Over 50”, High Intensity Training, & More

Joe Friel

Joe Friel recently released his 14th book, Fast After 50.  It’s geared to all athletes training and competing after age 50.  Most, but not all, of the interview is centered around the book, but there is much in here that will apply to all triathletes.  Topics discussed include sleep, high intensity training, recovery, and items listed below.  Joe also gives some insight into his research process.

Joe discusses three key factors in athletic success:

Fast After 50

  • aerobic capacity
  • lactate threshold
  • economy

As athletes age, economy tends to remain stable, VO2 max suffers the greatest loss, and lactate threshold declines more slowly.  Maintaining or slowing the rate of decline in these areas should be a focus of training.

Joe talks about three key factors that negatively affect aging athletes.  They are:

  • Loss of aerobic capacity/VO2 max
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Negative trend in body fat percentage

Part of the performance loss of the aging athlete is a result of a reduction of high intensity training. This leads to a decline in aerobic capacity.   Joe talks about the importance of keeping this in, or safely adding it back into, your training regime.

Joe generally defines high intensity as a 9 effort level on a scale of 1-10.  It must be added very slowly into a training plan to reduce the risk of injury, starting with short 15 second efforts and gradually increasing the dose.  For a more detailed recommendation refer to Joe’s book.

I asked for a specific example using high intensity training for a 55 year old triathlete training for an Ironman.  With a consistent and well planned training schedule, this athlete would include high intensity training throughout the plan, with a peak dose in the Base 3 period. This would be 12-16 weeks before the race.  After that it would be reduced to a maintenance level.

More From Joe?

I asked Joe about future projects, and he just started work on a new book that is slated to be completed in 2016.  The project is being kept under wraps, but he said “It’ll be my major work of my career as far as writing books.”  Bigger than The Triathlete’s Training Bible? “Yeah.”

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