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Total Heart Rate Training: Customize and Maximize Your Workout Using a Heart Rate Monitor Paperback – November 1, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joe Friel is the most trusted endurance sports coach in the world. He is the best-selling author of "The Triathlete's Training Bible", "The Cyclist's Training Bible", "Fast After 50", "Going Long", "Your Best Triathlon", "The Power Meter Handbook", and "Your First Triathlon". His TrainingBible Coaching service is one of the most successful and respected in endurance sports.

Joe has trained endurance athletes since 1980, including national champions, world championship contenders, and Olympic athletes in triathlon, duathlon, road cycling, and mountain biking.

He is an elite-certified USA Triathlon and USA Cycling coach and holds a master's degree in exercise science. He conducts training and racing seminars around the world and provides consulting services for corporations in the fitness industry. He has also been active in business as the founder of Ultrafit, an association of coaching businesses; TrainingPeaks, a web-based software company; and TrainingBible Coaching.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Ulysses Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569755620
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569755624
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #436,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is probably a five star book, but I give it a four because of the misleading summary provided by the publisher. This book is definitely not for beginners or those that exercise for general fitness. It is highly technical and really only appropriate for competing athletes that train 10 or more hours/week (or those coaching these athletes). If you want some simple programs that help to provide an efficient program for general fitness (<10 hours/week) you should look elsewhere.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Total Heart Rate Training

One of the reasons I got this book was that it, at the time I ordered it (November, 2006), it was the latest (and greatest) book about heart rate training. Being the latest, I expected it to have the most up-to-date information regarding heart rate training. And in that aspect, it does not disappoint.

Another reason I got this book was because I'm a fan of the author, Joe Friel (I already have his Mountain Biker's Training Bible, Cyclists' Training Bible, Cycling Past 50, and The Paleo Diet for Athletes -- my reviews which should be coming soon).

As a comparison, the only other book I have about heart rate training is Sally Edwards and Sally Reed's Heart Zones Cycling, another admirable book (and also as of this writing, a 2006 publication).

I was discouraged a bit that, to get a really clearer picture on how effective heart rate training is, another form of measurement should be used as well, whether it's Rate of Perceived Exertion (free, but subject to, er, subjectivity), or through the use of a Power Meter (accurate, but expensive). I was discouraged (only a bit, mind you) because Power Meters are kinda out of my financial reach at the moment, and I would not be able to reach the potential of the author's advise. Note, you get a CLEARER picture of your fitness progression when these other forms of measurement are used in conjunction with heart rate monitoring.

This does not mean, however, that Power Meters are mandatory -- Joe just says the facts: if you have one, then better. After all, the title of the book is TOTAL Heart Rate Training, not just "Heart Rate Training", and the author would do the reader an injustice if he didn't show the synergy of different measurement systems.
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Format: Paperback
This brief but densely packed book is a superb reference of conditioning principles for all serious athletes. The reason is that it combines a safe, practical way of quantifying your workouts with a superb overview of the dimensions of training.

Contrary to the impression you might get from the book's title, this book is not a recap of the usual information about heart rate training, it is rather a concise summary of the long experience of the author searching for both effective training strategies and a way of organizing those strategies into an overall system.

The highlights that impressed me:

1. How to realistically and accurately evaluate your own heart rate training zones. "Max heart rate" is risky and unneccessary to test and uselessly inaccurate to estimate from age. Friel's approach is to use lactate threshold and work back from there because it is much easier to determine and more meaningful to most training programs.

2. The physiological and functional effects of each training zone, related to perceived effort and types of training drill. This breakdown tells you exactly how each type of training affects your basic athletic abilities and gives you examples of drills for each zone.

3. An easily understood adaptation of Bompa's system for relating basic athletic abilities (endurance, force, speed-skill) to advanced abilities (muscular endurance, anaerobic endurance, power).

4. Practical suggestions for determining what sorts of training you need to support activity of different durations.

The book focuses primarily on training for endurance sports, but its quantitative approach to training will help anyone in any athletic activity to systematize and improve their own program.
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Format: Paperback
With regards to my goals of using heart rate to help me focus my twice a week cardio workouts in order to increase overall fitness, this book was a flop. Although there is a great deal of useful information, the author relates everything to training for a competition. What I was expecting (from the title TOTAL HEART RATE TRAINING), was an explanation of the various zones and how I can use the zones to increase my cardiovascular fitness. Instead I was given advice on how to set up workouts in preparation for a triathlon.

For the person who does compete, or the coach of competitors, this would probably be a worthwhile read. But those who have no intention of doing such things, I would skip this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought a Garmin Forerunner 305 several years ago and have been using it to record my heart rate, pace, speed, course, etc... I read what I could find on the web about heart rate training and have tried to apply it to my training program. In addition, I have bought several triathlon, cycling, and running books and checked out numerous others from the library and they all pale in comparison to this one. Joe explains the physiology behind his approach so anyone can understand and apply it to their fitness program. I've read most of what he has in the book in other places on the web but I could never put all the different pieces together in my head. In Joe's book he does just that. He synthesizes all the information related to using your heart rate to guide your training into a coherent explanation and plan for applying in real life. Here are a couple of the questions I had that he explained in the book.

1. When I run I usually strive to keep my heart rate in a certain heart rate zone for a certain amount of time. I noticed that the farther I got into my run the more I would have to slow down to keep my heart rate in the prescribed zone. In the book Joe tells us that this is called coupling (coupling of heart rate and pace) and that a fit athlete can maintain a constant pace without their heart rate elevating excessively. In my case, my heart rate and pace are decoupling which is a sign of a lack of fitness. He goes on to describe the approach for measuring the amount of decoupling and how to change your fitness program to address this deficiency.
2. Another lesson learned from Joe's book is that your heart rate zone should be based on your lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR) . I've always used the Kavornen method to compute my heart rate zones.
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