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The Triathlete's Training Bible Paperback – January 1, 2009
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"Joe Friel is one of the world's foremost experts on endurance sports." -- Outside magazine
"One of the most trusted coaches in triathlon." -- LAVA magazine
"Joe Friel's wealth of knowledge in triathlon is astounding and he has a wonderful way of sharing that knowledge with all athletes from beginners to elite professionals." --Siri Lindley, Triathlon World Champion
"25 years of active multisport coaching has proven that Joe Friel has an unprecedented understanding of endurance sports. As a multiple triathlon world champion, I would consider Joe as one of the leading figures in triathlon coaching today. Joe's professional approach and practical understanding of sports physiology has helped many endurance athletes of all abilities reach their full athletic potential." --Simon Lessing, 5-time Triathlon World Champion
"The Triathlete's Training Bible is a fantastic guide. You can't go wrong using the advice in this book." -- Scott "The Terminator" Molina, triathlon's winningest pro
"Joe Friel has spent most of his life in devotion to the understanding and teaching of sport. Joe has managed to focus on the key components to athletic success while weeding out the noise. This book will play a substantial role in helping you take the next step as a triathlete." -- Justin Daerr, triathlon coach
"As a triathlon coach, 2004 Olympian, and former top-ranked triathlete in the world, I've used The Triathlete's Training Bible as one of my key references. Joe Friel's training books have made the once "crazy" sport of triathlon accessible to the public while also guiding seasoned athletes to their full potential." -- Barb Lindquist
"The Triathlete's Training Bible combines scientific research with the experience of a top endurance coach to provide the best training resource book available." -- Gale Bernhardt, 2004 Team USA Olympic Triathlon Head Coach
"The Triathlete's Training Bible can help you train for any distance and is most useful to newbies and self-trained athletes who want traditional training advice." -- Library Journal
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On the negative, I feel the author spends a little too much time selling his skewed slant on science. In chapter two, he tells the NASA scientist/bumble bee story. Unfortunately for the author, a little research would have exposed this as an urban legend. The bumble bee doesn't fly because of its ignorance of physics; it flies because of the wing being a non-rigid body. While this is a cute story, it's incorrect and not relevant.
Furthermore, the author states 'The best scientists in the world can take a group of the most fit athletes into state-of-the-art lab...and predict how they do, and fail miserably.' This statement is an unsupported 'sweeping generalization'. He goes on to state 'Labs are just not the real world of racing...'. Finally, 'Unfortunately when it comes to contributing anything extraordinary to the training and techniques of athletes, science has a poor track record.'
These above statements diametrically oppose his others regarding the growth of knowledge in the fitness industry. 'The rate at which this type of knowledge continues to grow is staggering. In the 1980's, science learned more about the human athlete than in the previous eight decades combined.'
I understand the author has a Masters Degree in Exercise Science. Knowing this, the author should show more critical thinking toward the sciences. For a scientist, the whole world is a laboratory. Most studies of exercise/motion are NOT theoretical in a pure sense. Rather, they are experimental. A scientist, outside the lab, is participating in observational or experimental science. Whether the author realizes it or not, he himself acts as an observational/experimental scientist while compiling this data. Furthermore, when a scientist uses 'the art' of this training he is also experimenting. There are measurable results.
As illustrated above with the bumble bee story and in the examples of strides in exercise science, Mr Friel is entirely off base with regards to exercise science. The 'growth of knowledge' did not come from the ether. If there are fault with the science, it is almost always due to the author or scientist not asking the right questions.
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.
The work is comprehensive, covering all aspects of season planning, training, racing and the ancillary work necessary to become a great athlete.
I think the strongest component of the book is the season planning. Most books just place things in a "base, build, taper" method without explaining why each should be done.
This, however, brings me to my main beef of the book. There are many ways to logically plan a season, but this illustrates just one method. The book forces the athlete onto one methodology, and everything is based around this one method. I believe the logic is much the same for each method; you build your basic capacities and then you build your capacities most specific to your goal race to an ideal level to compete well. There are many different ways to complete this process. This book does an excellent job of describing the logic behind one method, but leaves out some key paragraphs that would enable an athlete to prepare their plan around other models.
The model the book prescribes (increasing basic capacities before advanced capacities and a more or less linear advancement of intensity) is effective - and probably the most universally effective - but there are other ways to build a season!!
The other problem with the book is the lack of progression with the ancillary training. The drills and weight sessions will be, in many cases, too advanced for many athletes at the beginning. The drills are more the problem, but in some cases it will be the weights. It's not a huge beef, but I'm a fan of progressively building into higher level drills if you can't handle them to start with!!
All in all, a great book. It is one of the most complete training guides for the triathlon, and triathlon books are among the best guides to endurance training!!
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