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Joe Friel

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12 Weeks

Plan Specs

triathlon half ironman advanced masters hr based pace based tss based

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Plan Description

Train smart with a half-distance triathlon plan by Joe Friel, best-selling author and internationally recognized endurance coach.
• Prepare for a half-distance triathlon: swim = 2k, bike = 90k, run = 21.1k
• Plan is intended for an athlete over age 50.
• Plan is for 12 weeks in the Build to Peak training periods, culminating with your race.
• Receive two follow-up emails from Joe with more information on the plan (must provide email address at time of purchase).
• If plan is not working for you within the first 2 weeks, you can switch to a plan of equal value or receive a full refund.

This half-distance plan for over-50 triathletes was designed by Joe Friel using the principles from The Triathlete’s Training Bible and Fast After 50.

Do you need books for this plan?

To use this plan, you MUST have a copy of the 4th edition of The Triathlete’s Training Bible (published 2016) as you will be referred to certain portions of the book that are associated with the workouts in the plan. You may purchase the book here. Fast After 50 will also help you understand the plan, especially the 9-day “week,” and the concept of periodic high-intensity interval workouts to boost aerobic capacity (VO2max). To purchase, go here.

Who is this plan for?

This plan is intended for a triathlete over age 50 who has found that he or she recovers more slowly than just a few years ago. It uses 9-day “weeks” instead of the standard 7-day in order to optimize recovery, as explained in the book Fast After 50. By the end of 12 weeks you will have excellent fitness and be ready for your A-priority, half-distance race.

When should you start the plan?

Start this plan 12 weeks prior to your first half-distance, A-priority race of the season. (There is a “Fast After 50” Base period plan for the 12 weeks preceding the start of this plan.) You should be able to swim 1 hour, including long (400m) intervals, bike 2.5 hours, and run 1.5 hours. You should have heart rate (run and bike) and power (bike) zones set before starting this plan. (For more on how to set your zones for heart rate, power, or pace, read this.)

What is the weekly volume?

Training volume is described as both workout durations and TSS. Seven-day volume throughout the first 9 weeks ranges from about 9–13 hours and 500–700+ TSS. After 16 days of focused training, there are 3–4 days of recovery followed by 1–2 days of swim, bike, and/or run testing, as described in Fast After 50 and The Triathlete’s Training Bible, 4th Ed. In the last 3 weeks you will taper down to the race with 7-day volume starting at 11 hours and 600 TSS.

Do you need any devices or apps?

You should have a power meter on your bike to gauge the intensities of this plan. For running, a heart rate monitor will do, but a GPS is also recommended. The plan was created using the TrainingPeaks “Workout Builder” format so that workouts may be uploaded to a device or app. (For more information on compatible devices and apps and how to export the workouts, read this. However, it’s not necessary to upload the workouts in order to use this plan.)

After your event, please provide feedback on how this plan worked for you.
“Thanks again for your interest in my training plans, and I hope your training and racing go very well this season.” —Joe Friel


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
5:33 hrs 2:30 hrs
2:55 hrs 1:50 hrs
2:23 hrs 1:03 hrs
0:27 hrs 0:30 hrs
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
5:33 hrs 2:30 hrs
2:55 hrs 1:50 hrs
2:23 hrs 1:03 hrs
0:27 hrs 0:30 hrs

Training Load By Week

Joe Friel

Joe Friel Coaching

An endurance coach since 1980, Joe Friel has worked with triathletes, cyclists, and runners around the globe. He trains coaches and assists various national federations and national Olympic team staff. He also consults with professional athletes and sports-related businesses. Coach Friel occasionally offers personal camps and seminars for clubs and teams. He has authored 17 books on training including the best-selling Training Bible series. For more info, go to his blog at

Sample Day 1

AE3. Endurance Ride 2h power.

This is an aerobic endurance maintenance workout. Ride only in power zones 1, 2, and 3 as you feel at the time. This should be a comfortable effort. Power and effort will rise somewhat on uphills but no higher than zone 3.

Sample Day 1

ME2. Descending ladder 2300y.

(You may substitute a masters swim workout.) WU: 5-10 minutes of mixed swimming and drills.
500 at 10 sec slower than T-pace (60sec rest).
300 faster than preceding pace (60sec).
200 faster than preceding pace (60sec).
200 faster than preceding pace (60sec).
100 faster than preceding pace.
CD: 1000 easy swim.

Sample Day 2

AE1. Recovery Spin 1h.

Do a very easy recovery spin on a mostly flat course (or on indoor trainer) in small chain ring. Zone 1 power only. Light pressure on the pedals. Comfortably high rpm focusing on smooth pedaling skills. Upper body "quiet" with legs spinning easily. OR take today off if still tired from past few training days.

Sample Day 3

AE2. Aerobic Threshold (AeT) Steady State 1.5h (45min).

May be done outdoors or treadmill. Warm-up 20 minutes. Then on a mostly flat course run 45 minutes at 30 bpm (+/-2bpm) below your 5a zone (FTHR). Focus on good form with a comfortably high cadence and somewhat flat footstrike (not on heavily on heels or toes). Cool down in heart rate or pace zone 1 for the remaining portion of this session. If using a GPS device (recommended), afterwards determine your 30-minute Efficiency Factor (EF). EF should gradually increase over several weeks. (EF is shown on the analysis feature of TrainingPeaks for this workout.)

Sample Day 3

SS1. PDLC form 45min.

PDLC Swim (intended to improve your swim technique which is what keeps most triathletes from improving their swim times).
Swim for the scheduled workout duration doing only 25 repeats moderately fast while focusing on only Posture, Direction, Length, or Catch. Focus on only one of these--your worst (“limiter”) of the 4. (20-30sec rest after each.) See The Triathlete's Training Bible. 4th edition for PDLC details.

Sample Day 4

Strength Maintenance (SM).

Warm-Up 5-10 minutes. Then do 2 sets of Strength Maintenance (SM) weight lifting. First set is light - 12 reps with 15 repetition max (RM - a load you can only lift 15 times) load. Second set is heavy - 3-6 reps with 6RM load. Cool down 5-10 minutes spinning on a stationary bike in an easy gear/resistance at high rpm. This should be a brief workout. For details on strength training turn to Chapter 13 in The Triathlete's Training Bible (4th edition) or go here

Sample Day 4

AnE2. Anaerobic Intervals 1.5h power.

This workout and its purpose was described in Fast After 50. Warm-up for 50 minutes gradually building intensity. Then do 3 sets of 5 x 30-second intervals. The recovery after each interval is also 30 seconds. Ride easily between the sets for 5 minutes 30 seconds in zone 1. The effort for each work interval is the high end of power zone 5. Cadence is comfortably high. Cool down in zone 1-2 for the remainder of the ride. If at any time during the 30-second intervals you sense knee discomfort or the number of intervals seems excessive then stop or do fewer--or do them at a somewhat lower intensity. It's ok to do only 2 sets if this is your first season doing this type of workout.

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