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on October 25, 2011
In my opinion, the goal of this book is to give people who want to compete in triathalons a scientific, self-coached training plan. Does it deliver? Absolutely. The book accomplishes this through six, cleanly divided parts.

PART ONE, "The self-trained triathlete" is concerned with the "philosophical" basis for methodical training. It deals with things such as attitide and commitment, which are as important as physical training. PART TWO, "From lab to real world" talks about the scientific foundation of training and goes into the science and priciples of training (i.e. progressive resistance, periodization, etc.). PART THREE, "Training with a purpose" pulls together parts one and two in which a system of purposeful training is described. This part will help the reader to determine exactly what their training needs are and the best ways to address them. PART FOUR, titled "Planning" helps you design your own training plan for a season, week by week. PART FIVE, "Racing and recovering" takes you through the details of preparing to race and recovering after - it gives you info on what to do before and after the actual race. This information is essential as many athletes neglect to recover properly before starting training again for the next race. PART SIX, "The competative edge" talks about supplemental aspects of training that can contribute to peak performance such as swimming tips, weight training ex's, eating tips, etc. - kind a of "tie up the loose ends" section.

A book that truly lives up to its name, I can't see many readers coming away from this book without picking up much useful information - from the beginner to the experienced. Athletes who have shoulder trouble that interferes with their training might also find Bulletproof Your Shoulder helpful too. Happy training!
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on September 25, 2009
I bought this book in preparation for my first olympic distance triathlon and found it a bit too advanced for my needs. I'd highly recommend it for anyone who is in top form for the olympic distance or doing ironmans, but it was so detailed I lost the forest for the trees in trying to make sure I was training effectively.

I was hoping for something a little simpler - "here's how you should think about your training and to know you're ready for the race (for me - that meant finishing without feeling like i was going to die.)"

Those nuggets are in there, but it's clearly directed for people who are competing at an elite level or is there to help people train for ironmans. To that end, the book appears to be superb - very well thought out, and well laid out as well.

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on August 15, 2012
I thought this book was really great, particularly for the price. It's jam-packed with really useful information.

This book is about how to structure your life around being a triathlete. It's about how to work up a training plan for each year that will help you achieve your goals and reduce your "limiters" - those parts of your triathlon you might not be strong. It goes into incredible detail about how training works, particularly the ideas of periodization and building fitness by varying intensity and volume, and the idea of the three basic parts of fitness (force, speed, and endurance). It talks about identifying your limiters and developing plans to fix them. It also goes into great detail about the differences between training for a sprint triathlon and an Ironman triathlon (it's not just "more hours").

It goes into some detail about how to race, what nutrition and hydration you'll need to bring along, checklists for things to bring and all that - probably stuff you've already got a handle on. It has some information about nutrition outside of racing but it is mostly just an overview. It has essentially no information at all on technique, though - don't buy this book thinking it will make you a better swimmer.

Other than that there's really nothing negative to say about the book. It's very well-laid-out, lots of charts and sample training plans. It doesn't over-explain things but doesn't gloss over them either - it's a good balance.

IMPORTANT: This book isn't a "My First Triathlon" book. It's not a "Triathlon for Dummies" book. As the intro says, it's basically a cheap replacement for a triathlon coach. If you've signed up for your first sprint triathlon and you just want a couple of not-too-detailed training plans to get you into shape to finish it, this isn't the book for you.
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on February 8, 2010
I bought this book because I was completing my first triathlon (done) and heard that this was a great book for triathletes. Its a big text - almost like a phone book, and the content is similarly weighty. There were some bits here and there that I found accessible and useful (but struggled to find them again buried between reams of complicated schedules). The author is no doubt knowledgeable but I think that this is more for a coach or someone who really likes a lot of rules and structure - for example the general training plans are centered around periods broken into "Pre Base 1 2 3 Build 1 2 Prep Race Tran", each with variable mixes of "endurance force speed muscular-endurance anaerobic-endurance power testing" - do we really need this level of complexity? I'll stick with something a little more relaxed.

Edited- OK having now been in the sport a couple of years, I have to admit I still go back to the bible a fair bit, and I'm adding a star.
I still think for beginners, Friel's Your First Triathlon would be a better choice.
At the other end, if planning an Ironman, I think his other book, Going Long, which I just purchased, is superior, more accessible and more focused.
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on August 22, 2011
This is an awesome book. But, it is INCREDIBLY detailed and thorough. It took me a few weeks of reading and taking notes and making plans to get through, but I finally felt like I understood triathlon training and planning a training period...be it a week, 6 months or a year.

Before reading this I would get a training plan online, or from a friend, try to personalize it a bit, follow it and do ok. But, after signing up for an Ironman and not wanting to shell out the $$$$$ for a coach to make sure I got through the year injury free and ready to race, I got this book. It's amazing. It goes through planning the year up to your race in great detail....hours per year, per week, training phases for running, swimming, biking, weight lifting, cross training and resting to make sure that you peak at the perfect time for your race. It has workouts, drills, tips...if you learn well from a book, it's almost like having a coach. He has special sections for women, novices, masters, youth and elite racers; injury prevention and treatment, etc.

That said, this book could be incredibly overwhelming if you've never done a multi-sport race or training before, or if you're not into planning/organizing. If you're more the go-out-and-do-it kind of person, this book isn't for you.

However, as someone who struggles with the "Am I Ready?! Can I Really Do This!?" anxiety, especially on race day, this book has very much calmed me down...I know that on the day, I'll be as prepared as possible and ready to go.
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on November 18, 2013
No better all-around guide to Triathlon. I have read and re-read this manual over the years. Joe Friel probably know more about training and triathlon than anyone. For a beginner, there is a lot to learn, and this manual teaches it all. If you are experienced with triathlon, it is a great reference guide. Get sport specific guides for more depth in any-one sport. It can't go into the same level of detail as a cycling specific guide for example.

Pros - Information dense. Covers all the sports. Year round advice. Delves into the science of training. A lot of great workouts included to keep revisiting. Follow this program and you will perform well.

Cons - Although just released, the Kindle version is not a modern kindle book with proper layout and difficult to navigate. Stick with the paper copy rather than buying the kindle version until it is improved.
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on January 14, 2012
The book presents some complex training methodology and putting together a training program based on the information and concepts in the book takes days. Casual triathletes may find this frustrating and potentially overwhelming. I would figure elite athletes would have coaches to put all this info together for them in the form of a training program. So who is the book geared to? Anyone who has had prior, advanced athletic training and is accustomed to periodization training concepts. Anyone who likes to obsess on their hobbies. Anyone who intends to take their triathlon training from casual , just wanting to finish - to setting some PRs. There is a wealth of usefull, interesting and valuable information int this book.
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on October 31, 2013
This is a very detailed training guide. As a competitive age grouper, I still wasn't ready to dive into all the details of this book. Maybe an off season purchase. It is also useful in parts. As a whole, it's very overwhelming.
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on August 7, 2011
Read this book and see how much goes into Tri-Athelon training - This book takes a lot of the guesswork and initial effort out of compiling training schedules and such. The Tri will take exponentially more planning and work to complete - its not just getting to the pool, getting on the bike and running - the planning that is involved in allowing the body to rest in sequence so as to do the workouts - that's where this book shines.
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on December 5, 2014
if you have plans on doing triathlons, just buy it. Every page I turn to has some concept I benefit from. I feel like after reading through it once, i only picked up about 5% of what is in the book. Lots of good info on how and when to train. Im using it right now to build up my training and race plan for next year.
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