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Episode 9

Joe Friel – Ride Inside: The Ultimate Guide

by | Nov 14, 2020 | podcast | 0 comments


Joe’s recent books, “Fast after Fifty” and  “Ride Inside”   

Issues with aging athletes:

Vo2 Max, muscle mass and fat gain

How Joe researches his books

How research on baby boomers has changed athletics

Incorporating data from wearables on training and lifestyle stress

Training using art for data reluctant athletes

Diet choices for endurance athletes

Genetics and Metabolism

Organizing Joe’s Research Notes

The new book Ride Inside – How it came about

Joe’s next book … for coaches

Joe’s two favorite workouts & training for life

Hosts & Guests

Suzanne Atkinson, MD

Joe Friel


Joe’s Latest Book (affiliate link)

About this Episode


 Joe Friel joins me in an enjoyable discussion about his book writing process, diet choices for athletes, the latest technology in virtual riding, and Joe’s most recen tbook, “Ride Inside: The Ultimate Guide” 

Episode 9: Joe Friel Ride Inside: The Ultimate Guide


Suzanne Atkinson: Hi, this is Suzanne Atkinson to try to listen to podcast for curious traffic’s. Each episode features an interview with an athlete coach or scientist whose passion lies in triathlon. It’s my job to uncover their story Hello, welcome and thank you for joining me today on try to listen. Today you’ll be hearing an interview between myself and Joe Friel. Joe Friel is a remarkable coach; he is truly the coaches’ coach. And one thing that I admire the most about him is his curiosity, and ongoing desire for learning. He is constantly reading new research; he’s constantly incorporating it into thematic reviews of the literature. He shares freely of his knowledge and writing on his blog. And he’s written quite a number of books on all different aspects of endurance training. This is the second time that I’ve formally interviewed Joe for a podcast. And I really like doing these follow up interviews with coaches and athletes who I’ve interviewed in the in the past, because it really helps to see how they’ve progressed, what kinds of things they’re pursuing and thinking now what direction their career and curiosity has taken them. And this interview was was absolutely not disappointing in any way. I love talking, Joe, and I hope that you enjoy this interview as well.

Hi, there, this is Suzanne, thanks for joining us today. Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Joe Friel. Joe, if you don’t already know is the author of the training, Bible series, triathlon, cycling and mountain biking. He also published a book recently called fast after 50. He’s got several other books that He’s authored. And currently he’s working on a new book, I believe it’s called ride inside that should be published, I think in May, how are you doing, Joe?

Joe Friel: Doing very well. Suzanne, thanks.

Suzanne Atkinson: Good. Did I get the title of your newest book? Correct?

Joe Friel: It is that’s that’s the title was probably gonna be after May, I’m afraid unfortunately, it’s gonna be sometime later summer.

Suzanne Atkinson: Okay, well, I’m sure it’ll still be really valuable for everyone. I wanted to follow up on a conversation that you and I had, several years ago, we sat down at Kona. And at that time, you were just about to publish fast after 50. How has that book been since it’s been published as it received? The kinds of reviews that you thought it would have been as helpful for people as you’d hoped?

Joe Friel: Seems to have done very well. I get I get lots of emails about that book. Lots of questions. People asking about things, you know, that they’re, they’ve read and don’t quite understand. And so, I that’s been going on for a few years now and just doesn’t seem to let up. The book has done very well.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah. Is there any one topic in that book that seems to strike people the most?

Joe Friel: Well, I think it comes down to the bottom line, the book, which I introduced early in the book, and then my spend the rest of the chapters talking about, which is basically three things. You know, what’s, what happens to do to max as we get older? And why and what can we do about it? What happens to the muscle mass, we were used to seeing people as they get older, becoming less muscular, that has an impact on performance. And finally, gains and body fat as we get older also on so those three topics are gonna be the tough topics that are brought up repeatedly by athletes.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah, I can relate to a lot of those. I was, I think, two or three years from my 50th birthday when we did our last interview. So now that I’ve turned 50, I can identify with with the number at least, although, yeah, I have to admit that the day that I turned 50 was not nearly as traumatic as I expected it to be. Oh, yeah, it was it was kind of a relief, because that whole year of 49 leading up to it. I did have a lot of anxiety about life changing and thinking I wouldn’t be able to be as active but a lot of those thoughts were really unfounded.

Joe Friel: Sure.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah. So, another thing that we talked about back then was you’re the amount that you research and study, are you still reading every day and learning new things for yourself?

Joe Friel: To trudge through, it seems like my life somehow has gotten more busy. Since I’ve come back on Kochi. Yeah, everything else has taken its place but I always have a stack of abstracts looking at it right now inside of my desk, waiting for me to read them. And what I’ve been doing since the 1980s is every day when I come to my office, the first thing I do is pick up one abstracts off the top of the pile and read it to see if there’s anything there that seems interesting to me that I should follow up on by trying to find them. Find the entire paper.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah.

Joe Friel: So, it keeps me keeps me busy trying to just keep up with what’s going on in the world.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah. Do you find that over the years, there’s been a increase in the amount of information that’s available? Like, is it hard to keep up at the same rate?

Joe Friel: Yeah, it’s hard to keep up. For examples that we talked about the over 50 thing I wrote, I wrote my first book on that topic back in about 1997. And at that time, there was hardly any research at all on aging athletes. So basically, I wrote a book of my opinions.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: And then I, as I, as you mentioned, I wrote I followed up and wrote this other book, which is like about, like about 15, 16 years later, I write the next book on this subject, went back and started reading research on the topic. And I was overwhelmed with research. In that 15-year period, it went from almost nothing to it took me six months to get to all the all the literature that I was finding on the topic.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: I think that’s I think that’s because the baby boomers were just reaching into their, at that point into their mid-60s. And they were begin to change things rather dramatically, in terms of athletics, or aging athletes. So, more research was being done starting about the time I wrote my book, and back in the 90s. Yeah, research has been piling up ever since then.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah. Do you think that your book that you wrote back then had any influence on people who are going into exercise physiology? And maybe it’s sparked some ideas?

Joe Friel:  I mean, the book I wrote back in the 90s.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah.

Joe Friel: You know, it was both based, again, just basically my opinions on the topic. And I didn’t really try to turn it into a book where I brought up deep questions that need to be answered. I just talked about how I was experiencing the the world of being 50 ish.

Suzanne Atkinson:  Yeah.

Joe Friel: And so, I don’t think it had any impact at all, on the research in the field, but but having baby boomers aged up at a gigantic impact.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah. Well, we talked before about some ideas that I think you you wrote about and fast after 50, or we’re planning to include in an update in the, in the training Bible series, and that was how things that coaches have been doing for a while, like period, or polarized training, for example, had finally been researched. And so now there was real data that supported the anecdotal evidence that coaches were already pursuing.

Joe Friel: Right?

Suzanne Atkinson: Are you finding that there’s anything new and novel since then, in the last five years, that that should continue to be looked into coaches who are really cutting edge and trying new things.

Joe Friel: But less, that’s one of the big ones, it’s athletes are still adapting just it’s really hard to get athletes to accept changing the ways they’ve done it, if you’ve been doing for several years. And the topic you bring up polarization is, is certainly one of those topics that athletes typically see as every workout needs to be as hard as you can possibly make it that day. And this idea of going easy at the time is really counterproductive, counterproductive, it from their point of view, right, what their goal is. So that that’s been an ongoing challenge is to get that idea across. But it really isn’t that I was saying it’s what I’ve been seeing in the last few years has been kind of a continuation of some of the same stuff we saw before, although it’s become much more detailed, for example. HRV

Suzanne Atkinson:  Oh, yeah, that’s a good example.

Joe Friel: That’s, that’s come up just the last final how many years but probably the last seven or eight years has been like that, I started to become really kind of moved to the top of the pile is one topic that almost all athletes now aware of, and many are paying attention to. And that was something you know, when I wrote my first book, nobody even thought of the idea. And had never come up when I wrote that book back in the 90s. And now it’s become a rather significant topic in the field of athletes, especially in terms of recovery. And then then there’s all the stuff that’s going on with just the measurement.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: All the factors in our lives, that we now have available that we certainly had no idea we can come around. It is beyond the scope of our imaginations back in the 90s. To think in terms of, you know, being able to measure what happens to persons drunk during the day and

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:  During during the sleep at night, you know, what, how much sleep are they getting, how much deep sleep how much is REM sleep? And so how much time are they awake and all these details are things that we’re now collecting?

Suzanne Atkinson: Right

Joe Friel: Which which are really kind of going to be the basis for a lot of things going forward. I think in terms of being able to apply not only what you’re doing and trying to the outcomes in terms of performance, but also what’s going on with one’s lifestyle. Surgeons performance. That’s that’s the direction. I think we’re moving very strongly right now. And we’ll see a lot more on that. There are many things out there right now that are toying with the idea, but nobody’s really taken to the next level yet. In terms of how do we actually apply this to our, to our training? So, it there’s a lot to be learned yet about this whole topic of lifestyle?

Suzanne Atkinson: Uh, huh. What can you give me an example of what you perceive as the next level and incorporating this lifestyle information?




Joe Friel:  Yeah, for example, one of the things that I’ve been we’ve been doing like our training peaks, is following attorneys stress scores for athletes, we’ve been doing that since the mid-2000s. So, we do probably 15 years now 12, 15 years, something like that. And it started to have just been kind of interesting. And now it’s gotten to the point that many athletes, I’ve learned to pay attention to that very carefully in terms of your training, as opposed to somebody just looking at how many miles they put in, or how many hours they’re putting in

Suzanne Atkinson: Sure

Joe Friel:   I’m looking at their training, stress scores. And that but that only relates to what’s going on with, with trending, trending now meaning exercise,

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:   And that is obviously going to be is impacted by one’s lifestyle. Also, we don’t have a way right now, tying all these times these pieces together, they’re just two loose ends

Suzanne Atkinson: Right

Joe Friel: Realm of life, which is our exercise training. And we’ve got this realm of life, which is anything outside of exercise, you know, or job or family or distress in our lives, like psychological disease, physical stress, and all the stuff that goes on with not married those two together. And that’ll be one of the next things I think we will see happen is those will be combined, and the National will be able to look at what their daily stress score is, that know how they’re doing in terms of what they should be, how they should be trained.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: Should I am I capable of turning more should I train less right now, because of all the stuff I’ve got going on. And we know these things happen, when you have a rough time in your life, a very psychologically stressful period of time, for whatever reason, it has an impact on how you train. And people learn that eventually that things show up like the heart rates are high, and they don’t have nearly as much duress and fatigue earlier, and they don’t have the power. All these things show up. Not because of exercise, but because of lifestyle, stress, psychological stress, primarily.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah.

Joe Friel: So, we know these things happen. We have but we don’t have a way of measuring and jointed, you know, conclusions based on these things yet,

Suzanne Atkinson: Right. I know that the some of the watches like, I think, Garmin and whoop, both have some some type of feedback about how much recovery you need. Do you think those things are still not as sophisticated as they need to be to be helpful?

Joe Friel: No, they’re not because they, I’ve got I’ve got one on each wrist, right? So, I’m watching this stuff all the time to see what’s going on.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:  And I compare it with my because my training, and you can definitely see trends over time. For example, the roof measures HRV. And I can take a look every day and see what my HRV is today, today and what’s been like in the previous days.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:  And I can kind of compare that with how I my training has been what I know about my training over that period of time, if there’s any relationship between them, but that’s kind of where we are right now is it’s really not giving us any direction or guidance. It’s simply just numbers we’re looking at, we really don’t know how to how to apply this. Yeah, that’s interesting was with training stress score TSS. Over the years, we’ve learned how to apply it, though. Now I can tell the athlete what their turning workout should be with Attorney load should be for today’s workout based on what I see there, for TSS is having been in the preceding days. So, I can draw conclusions from that and give direction to an athlete. But I’m not able to do that right now from looking at the entire picture of what’s going on. There’s just too many pieces.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:   That aren’t married together in any way that’s really meaningful for me

Suzanne Atkinson: Right? Do you think a lot of that has to do with, with combining the art of coaching with the data? I mean, a lot of what you’re describing are things that athletes and coaches have, up until now intuitively followed or given some kind of a great category, you know, how is your sleep on a scale of one to five, so it’s more qualitative and quantitative. But we have been able to use those types of measures for the last, you know, Millennium. I mean, heart rate and sleep, hours of sleep and things like that have been things that coaches have paid attention to attention To

Joe Friel:  yes, that’s true. And that’s, that’s where we are right now is we’re still you’re dealing with these topics, these things in an artistic way from that from the terms of the art and science and training, as opposed to the science perspective, which is not bad, both things are necessary.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:   But if, again, if I go back to TSS, that started at the very same way, it was people looking coaches and athletes looking at TSS numbers, and trying to use that. And from an art perspective, what does that mean? What do I think I should do?

Suzanne Atkinson:  Yeah

Joe Friel:  Now we’ve gotten to the point that I can I can tell you what to do, you know, oh, God knows what’s going on with your numbers.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: And I can tell you what to do. I mean, it’s just become a CISSP come rather scientific.

Suzanne Atkinson:  Yeah

Joe Friel: There’s data we can look at. And we can draw conclusions from that data, which is supported by my by historical data from other athletes over time. We’re not there yet with the other stuff. It’s, we’re still in this phase of art. And that, but that’s always the way it goes,

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: If you go, you can trace coaching and training back, you know, you don’t go back a decade or multiple decades, or even a century. And you can look at and see to start out as strictly being art. Yes, people thought, right. And as you follow, it eventually becomes more and more scientific over time. Until now, we’ve gotten the point where we’re very data oriented. And we’re not there yet with this whole idea of lifestyle stress. So, it kind of this art stage of looking at the data.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah. What would you say to people that have that may struggle with data, certainly, there are a lot of different personalities. And some people get stressed by having a watch on the wrist all the time, that’s measuring everything.

Joe Friel: Understand, yeah, there are many, many people who just don’t like numbers at all. And that’s okay. But they’ve got to have something they can do, if you’re not gonna pay any attention to numbers at all. And they’ve got to be able to be very, very good at paying attention to how they feel and how things are going. You’ve got to be able to use the art side of coaching. 100%. extremely good at it. There’s nothing wrong with the art side of coaching, I support it 100%. But I don’t think that rules out the science side of coaching or charity, neither

Suzanne Atkinson: Sure

Joe Friel: Both things are important. Both things are, are necessary. To some extent, it’s just that some people don’t like one or the other. So, they’d like to rely on only one of these two, but I think that’s I think that’s short sighted, being able to be able to depend on on multiple factors, and just making decisions about training, I think is actually quite beneficial.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah, it reminds me a little bit of any sort of behavior change. For example, if someone wants to lose weight, or, or eat better, or become more more consistent in their athletic training, you know, pick one thing and try and make one simple change and see if you can make that a habit for coaches or athletes that might be afraid of the the numbers or not like them as much, you know, maybe pick one thing that they could track and follow and see how that impacts their training and how they perceive everything.

Joe Friel: I agree, I think that’s that’s a good way of doing it. I have asked this contact me all the time. Well, I should say, Well, you said that as contact me all the time when I was coaching, asked me to coach them. And one of the things I’ve often tried to get at is how did they see this? Art versus science attorney and aspect of their, of their own? Their own trade?

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:  And athletes who were strictly opposed to the data to the science side, strictly want to go on basis of how they feel, you know, and have a conversation so they can understand what’s going on, you know, as their coach, I could not be inside their head or inside your body and know how I felt, because that’s what’s going on. It’s how I feel.

Suzanne Atkinson: Right

Joe Friel:  Right. As a coach, I can’t I have no way of getting information from I can ask them on a scale of zero to 10. How hard was it? They can tell me the number. But that’s an average number. I really don’t know what it means, you know, was this a six? So, what it was?

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:  And I think that’s terms. Yeah. So, I thought I have to make sure they understand that. As their coach, I’ve got to have Dad, I can’t get inside their body to feel I’ve got to understand from a data perspective. And what I found is with those athletes, they began to over time, learn what the data was telling them and they became more accepting. There was just a lot reaction initially. Just to deal with numbers.




Suzanne Atkinson: Right. A little bit of rebellion maybe.

Joe Friel:  Yeah

Suzanne Atkinson:  I think that’s especially challenging when you’re coaching from a distance if it’s not someone that you see every day, like you might on a on a high school team or a sports coach face to face.

Joe Friel:   Sure

Suzanne Atkinson: Oh, that’s all all good information. How about nutrition? One of the things that we talked about before is some of the different avenues with the types of nutrition that athletes can follow. And specifically, you had talked about, like a carb heavy paleo diet versus a fat only diet or a blend of the two. What kind of changes? Have you seen with that? And what are athletes trending towards? And what are you supporting?

Joe Friel: What I’m adding more and more. And what I also learned to sport is, the athletes who are doing very long, steady state events, like an Ironman distance race, are really probably better off having a high fat diet, I think that’s very beneficial to that type of event. I’ve seen so many athletes who are, who eat high carb, have a very hard time getting enough carbohydrate in during the race. Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: Volume demands carbohydrates, especially with the body’s become used to using fuel. It’s very difficult during a 10, 12, 15 hour event to get in enough carbohydrate, that having upset stomachs, all the things that we’ve seen happen with athletes, and that condition is quite beneficial if the athlete becomes long term becomes adapted to using or to eating a high carbohydrate diet, that becomes I mean, a high fat night, that becomes their, their chronic diet, I think it’s much easier than for them to, to race in long distance events.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:  On the other hand, athletes are doing shorter events, you know, events that take an hour, hour and a half or less. I’ve got no problem with being a high carbohydrate. But there’s all but both of these have downsides. There’s nothing is perfect.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:  And they both have downsides. Not everybody’s cut out to eat one way or the other. There’s a lot of things about our, how we are our genetics, how we came to be at this point in time. That was our genetics. And that has a lot to do with how we should be eating. So, it takes some experimentation, I think to figure these things out. But there are some that we can we can, we can almost know immediately what the answer should be. We know that peoples who come from, for example, American, Native Indian American Indians

Suzanne Atkinson: Uh huh

Joe Friel: Are really better off not eating a high carbohydrate diet.

Suzanne Atkinson: Uh huh.

Joe Friel: We know that causes nothing but problems for them, basically, because they’ve not developed long enough eating that type of diet. They’ve only been eating that type of diet for over 100 years.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah.

Joe Friel:  Whereas people from Europe and been eating that diet for a couple 1000 years. Because when there’s a lot of difference in our bodies have reacted to it. And consequently, we see a lot of people in the group of American Native Americans is a lot of type two diabetes.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:  Rampant among Native Americans. But so so there’s a lot of other variables that are shown in this whole thing that really have a lot to do with how we make decisions. Also, I’m just giving one, one gross example of that.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: But that has, that’s the same all of us experiences. To some extent, we are at this point in time as individuals, based on all the genetics and all this, all the people have come before us all the civilization, all the many groups of people who have been our ancestors, and where they’ve come from, and how they’ve eaten over time. So, this whole thing is a very, very complex topic.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:   but you just can’t get one estrus in this. It’s everybody

Suzanne Atkinson: of course

Joe Friel: All unique in some extent.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah. You know, I think that some people are able to do an experiment of one very easily and say, Okay, for this next four weeks, I’m going to eat a high fat paleo diet and just make the switch and do it and see how it impacts their body. Some other people might want to do that, or might want to experiment, but they do too. Their internal hormonal issues, drives for hunger, the way they metabolize things, or the symptoms they may get from withdrawal of carbohydrates, they may have a much, much harder time making a switch like that, and are just constantly, you know, stuck in the same pattern that they’ve always been following. And they may or may be struggling with it or not having success.

Joe Friel: I agree. Yeah, there’s, there’s certainly always that option. If you want to try something, if you want to believe you may be able to get better, whatever it may be that just being one of these topics.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: Is to experiment, find out how it works for you. The only way the only way to find that out is to is to try to try and prove time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Oh, it says, as you suggested, perhaps four weeks, perhaps even six weeks for somebody to find out. If anything like that or any other way is beneficial for their performance or gone.

Suzanne Atkinson: Have you seen any of the advertisements for genetic tests that give some impact or some insight on how people metabolize foods and their athleticism?

Joe Friel: I’ve not gone run into or shot any of those I’ve done the things that have to do with, you know, checking your ancestry and using the mouth swabs and that sort of thing to see what your ancestry is all about.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:  But I’m not able to really tie that directly to nutrition. So I’m not aware of anything

Suzanne Atkinson:  Okay I was hoping I could get a jumpstart from you on that, if he’d already researched it. There, there’s at least yeah, there’s at least one copy. I can’t think of the name right now. I’ll try to add it to the show notes if I can find it again. But it’s similar. You do a mouth swab or a spit test and send it in? And they’re supposedly, you know, a list of 20 to 30 factors relating to your genetics that have to do with eating and exercise? Oh, yeah. Interesting. Yeah. I don’t know what the validity of those is. And that’s something that I’m I’m curious about looking into right now.

Joe Friel:  Yeah, that would be the thing. I’m always concerned about that. What are how factual is that on getting? And what what science is based on? Sometimes afraid we really don’t know those things at all. And we’re just kind of accepting things at face value from because the advertising is really good.

Suzanne Atkinson:  Right Yeah, it’s it’s good advertising. And it’s, um, they’re topics that we want to believe in.

Joe Friel:  Right

Suzanne Atkinson:  So how do you go about picking these abstracts? You mentioned that you have a stack to go through it you? Do you go through the table of contents of certain journals? Or do people send you things? Or do you have someone that helps you choose stuff?

Joe Friel:  Oh, gosh, lots of different sources. One, one very good source anymore, just being online. People occasionally mentioned studies that they’ve read, this probably happens a couple times a week is all fine that study and I’ll just print out the abstract, it goes on my pile. Or people send me an email and say, you know, I’ve seen this and they’ll send me a, you know, a link to a paper or cash. There’s just so many ways that comes to me anymore used to be in the old days, I started doing this back in the 80s.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:   There’s nothing online at all. Obviously, there’s no online world. So, I have to go, I’ve had to go to the library and pull out the journals

Suzanne Atkinson:  Right

Joe Friel: Which just starts thumbing through them was tremendously time-consuming process.

Suzanne Atkinson: Right, which also probably meant you were one of the few people actually putting that much energy into it.

Joe Friel: Yeah, I never found anybody else doing it. It was too tedious to do.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:  But I was lucky because I used to have a running store, which became a triathlon store back in the early 80s. And we were right next to the University of Colorado State University, just across the street.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: So, I drop in there easily on a lunch break, or something. And pull up, you know, pull a journal off the shelf and just glance through what’s going on.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:   So that’s how I got started doing this, but it was extremely time consuming most days.

Suzanne Atkinson: Sure. Are you still managing your information on three by five cards?

Joe Friel:   Yeah, yeah. I was this. Okay.

Suzanne Atkinson: Well, I envy that in a way you talk about a physical stack of papers. And I think that I and you know, maybe a lot of other people who have shifted a lot of education to online versions, I tend to get lost in. In the online world, I get online to look for something specific. And it’s so easy to get distracted by a newspaper article or a headline. So, you know, physical sheets of paper with abstracts on them, to me sounds really attractive. And I’m just curious, how do you physically organize this? I mean, after 40 years of doing this, do you have filing cabinets full of papers that you manage? Or do you get these moving all the way through as you leave the room on the front end, again, for new new abstracts?

Joe Friel: Well, I’ve got boxes that hold the three by five cards. And they’re categorized by various topics. And so, I started doing that this is back in the 80s. There was no other option right now. And three by five cards were just easy to deal with. So, I started writing those down. And then once once, you know, the internet started allowing me to do these things much more quickly. I continue to get because I now had to, I had nearly 20 years, cards built up and yeah, changing to a different system was going to be different difficult. My wife, who’s just always very concerned about things like that. Always was what asked me a question about why don’t we have a fire at the house? You lose the wholes boxes and all those cars and a 14 That’d be 30 years.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: So many years ago, she started typing these into into an Excel spreadsheet for me.

Suzanne Atkinson: Mm hmm

Joe Friel: So, I can search them and find them. quickly again. And so, I’ve got an app to back it up online. So, what’s gotten both ways?

Suzanne Atkinson: That’s great.

Joe Friel: She’s kind of nice to be current with, with what’s going on in the world of technology.




Suzanne Atkinson: Uh huh. Um, can we talk a little bit about your upcoming book, maybe you can give a little preview and some insight into what people can be doing during this home home isolation period?

Joe Friel: Yeah. I’m afraid my timing is very good. Home isolation.

Suzanne Atkinson: If only we could have predicted this. Hmm.

Joe Friel: Yeah. Last summer. I don’t know why this topic came up it for some reason, I began to think about my by turning indoors, I was contemplating the winter coming on. And so getting my my trainers set up, I’ve got my gym in my house and cyber. I’ve got a trainer and a whole stuff, indoor stuff there. And so, I was thinking about that. And it dawned on me that, you know, it’s thinking, what do you know what to do anything else I need right now to kind of be to keep up with what’s going on in the world of indoor cycling. And it dawned on me, I haven’t seen anything. I’ve never seen a book on the topic of, of indoor cycling. So, I thought, Well, geez, this is interesting. There’s no better written anything at all on turning indoors.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: So, this research has found there really wasn’t anything at all. So I decided to write a book on the topic started on the first kind of slow project, because you know, the book is not front end, your book is probably not going to come out and, you know, for until the fall, and so that was already the fall.

Suzanne Atkinson:  Yeah

Joe Friel: Just not gonna come out immediately. So, I’m looking at a year for this book to be ready to be used as be the fall of 2020. Little that I know, is going to wind up everybody riding inside. February, March.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:  You know, so the book is still in the process of being written. It’s not I see done yet, but almost number down to like the last chapter. And then it just goes through the, the editing process.

Suzanne Atkinson: Sure

Joe Friel:  Is a very long tedious thing, and then they finally go into the publishing. So, it’s gonna be it’s gonna be late summer, at best when they have it out.

Suzanne Atkinson: Sure Well, so

Joe Friel: Go ahead.

Suzanne Atkinson: I think that we’re gonna need to learn how to manage training indoors. A lot more. We may not be, you know, quote, unquote, locked into houses indefinitely. But I have a feeling that this current infection is going to be around for a good, you know, 18 months to three years before we really get a handle on it. So the more we learn, even if it comes out in the fall, I think it’s still going to be rolled up applicable for for the Coronavirus issue, but it’s also certainly going to be helpful for everyone who lives in cold climates or anyone that wants to avoid riding in traffic for any reason.

Joe Friel:  Or by the way lives in hot climates.

Suzanne Atkinson: That’s true. That’s true.

Joe Friel:  I live in the Phoenix area. You know, you’re looking at the average temperature is like 108 degrees Fahrenheit in the summertime for like three months.

Suzanne Atkinson: Oh, wow

Joe Friel:   The average temperature average high temperature

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:   Because so going outside is huge. Even if you go outside at Sun at the time the sun comes up, you’re still looking at 90 degrees. And so consequently, weather has a big impact on how long the days are. Are you live in terms of traffic, all of these factors?

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: There are people who are some people just are riding indoors, basically around because of all these factors in their lives.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:    So consequently, we’re trying to put together a bike that I booked, rather, that fits all our needs, explains how to go about, you know, selecting equipment, and all this stuff online, that our sites and all this stuff.

Suzanne Atkinson: Mm hmm. That’s another really exciting area of technology, too, because of the ability to merge actual video with the trainer that you’re riding on and can control the aspects of the trainer from your smartphone. You know, those are some really interesting and in fun ways of training that weren’t around 10, 15 years ago.

Joe Friel: You know, this all started with a company called Kochi trainer back in oh, gosh, very early 1980s. Could have been that 1980 ,81. someplace in that range is when they started.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: And basically, I couldn’t be off a few years ago, I forgotten exactly the details of when they opened their doors. But they came up with a software program you can run on your computer, and while you’re riding your bike, and it was pretty cool.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: The first thing that ever came out like this, and I can recall riding that thing all you know, did three-hour workouts for our workouts and coffee trainers.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:   And now I’m reading online about people doing the same sorts of things. No. four hour rides on Swift, or whatever the thought the app is they’re using

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:  But it’s the same idea. It’s just become a lot more user friendly now in terms of what it looks like when you’re riding your bike,

Suzanne Atkinson: yeah, I bought a copy trainer several years ago and did it. I had it set up, I did some of my own training, and I used it to do some testing for athletes as well. And I think that you wrote several companion trainings guides for the computer trainer.

Joe Friel:  Yeah

Suzanne Atkinson:  But it got to the point where I struggled with, with the computer interface, you know, I had to run, I bought a Mac, I transition my whole work life to a Mac. And so, I had to run a parallels program or something to get the the DOS based or the, you know, Windows based software, and it just became too tedious for me.

Joe Friel: Yeah, recall those days also did the same thing. I got the Mac. And that made life a little bit difficult for a while.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: But that was that was that was really way ahead of his time in terms of what they were doing.

Suzanne Atkinson:  Sure

Joe Friel: With that whole idea. And now we see what’s going on. It’s like, we never could have imagined this happening. People could be doing online races.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: Online workouts. They’ll continue to change I expect to see someday we’ll see. The Tour de France who ever watched it on your on your computer, and put yourself into peloton.

Suzanne Atkinson:  Oh, that would be so much fun.

Joe Friel: You’ll be able to ride with the riders you’re watching. You’ll watch the race and you’re upon

Suzanne Atkinson: Ride with them. That’s great. That’s

Joe Friel: Somebody else to see of course,

Suzanne Atkinson: right

Joe Friel:  So

Suzanne Atkinson: Right. I hope I can slow them down a little so I can keep up.

Joe Friel: I can see things like all there’s all these things that could happen in the future that are still, you know, way off way, way off like that. But

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: It’s very, very interesting. What’s going on?

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah, that’s exciting. So, you’re still in the, in the final parts of writing your next book? Are you able to look ahead to you know, the next thing? Or are there any other topics that are on your on your radar that we haven’t mentioned?

Joe Friel: Yes. I’ve always kind of got that going in the back of my head. And I’m actually starting, I’ve already got notes on my next book.

Suzanne Atkinson: Uh, huh. Can you share or is it too early?

Joe Friel:  Oh, yeah. It’s, it’s a book for coaches.

Suzanne Atkinson: Fantastic.

Joe Friel: I’ve been thinking about that for a long time. couple of decades, probably. In there, you know, a couple decades ago, there weren’t enough coaches even even consider the topic of writing a book for them.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yep

Joe Friel:  Now there are enough out there that I think it’s gotten to the point where there’s a tipping point now whether enough coaches around the world, that book for them would be well received. So, I’m talking with another co-author, PhD, teaches coaching and basically, Masters levels coaching at a university and doing all the details.

Suzanne Atkinson: Sure, yeah. Well, let people wonder.

Joe Friel:  Yeah. And he’s, you know, he’s, he’s got his coaches themselves. He’s got both. He has lost. He’s published lots of papers, on the topic of coaching athletes, is involved in doing it himself. And so, in so I’ve got quite a bit of experience myself. And so, I’m marrying our two backgrounds together.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: I think we produce kind of interesting books. So, we’re very, very early stages in this. We both got, we’ve got a, you know, table of contents put together. And we’ve written a few things. Each of us has long lines and what our topics, or individual topics would be.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: And but we’re just not to the point yet that we’re able to take it to, to a publisher.

Suzanne Atkinson: Sure. Yeah. Well, you’ve got a lot going on. It sounds like

Joe Friel:   yeah, there is.

Suzanne Atkinson:  Well, I want to wrap things up, and I just have one or two more questions, and you can take, you know, a minute to answer these or 10 minutes, it’s up to you. But two questions for you. The first one is I always like to try and extract a favorite workout or a favorite recipe or something along those lines. Is there anything that you can share with us? Maybe a current favorite workout lifestyle tip, favorite meal?

Joe Friel: Well, my favorite workouts I do two hard workouts a week the stretches back to all the struggles to the polarization. Yep, the 80, 80, 20 thing 20% of your workouts should be hard, meaning roughly around a professional or higher 80% Should be easy meaning roughly around aerobic threshold or lower. So my my two workouts that I really enjoy doing, or to make up that 20% is once a week I do long intervals that just follow Well, my anaerobic threshold or lactate threshold, or FTP, or what do you refer to it as that, you know, like a seven on a 10? Scale?

Suzanne Atkinson: Sure

Joe Friel:  And so, once a week I do these, I’ve got various courses, I do them on different types, you know, on long climbs, for example,




Suzanne Atkinson: These indoor courses,

Joe Friel: No, these are outdoor, indoor. So, it’s the same thing.

Suzanne Atkinson: I was just curious, since we talked about the indoor, so you’ve got some favorite routes at home that you do these workouts on? Yeah,

Joe Friel: I’ve got like three routes that I use, I do them all. So that’s like my Tuesday workout frequently, is to do that. And so, I get in roughly about somewhere between 25 and 35 minutes and relatively high intensity around, you know, around FTP on that workout every week, depending on whether motivation

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah,

Joe Friel: Fatigue, all these things that go into making decisions. So that’s my Tuesday workout. And then Friday, is I do the high end of that, which I did just this morning, which is to do a shorter course, very short, it takes 30 seconds to three minutes to do, like on a 32nd Hill, or, or a three minute Hill, relatively steep, you know, 7,8,9 10%, grades at about 120% of FTP, so a relatively high intensity, so by a nine on a 10 scale, with short recoveries. And so that’s my Friday workout. And then everything else is easy. I just got these easy rises my wife and smell the flowers and take a look at what’s going on in the world.

Suzanne Atkinson: Now. That’s great. Are you training for something specific or just training to keep in shape or just riding because you love to ride?

Joe Friel: Straight for life? Right? Has a

Suzanne Atkinson: Yes

Joe Friel: People. I never know what’s going to happen the future. But I’ve, you know, tried to maintain some level of fitness because occasionally I get caught up in, in doing something somebody likes to do group writing, always become racist.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:  I just just want to be prepared to be able to race on the spur of the moment.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel: Like that. And also, because I know it’s beneficial to a lifestyle.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

Joe Friel:  Not only the quality of life, but also the quality of life. And so, I try to stay as active as I can by doing things like that

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah. Well, I think that’s really important. You know, as a physician, when I see patients that have either a new unexpected diagnosis, like them a sudden diagnosis of cancer, or there are patients who have been active there their whole lives, but they have underlying heart disease, the people who are in better aerobic and cardiovascular shape at the time of those diagnoses do much better than people who are not so even if you don’t anticipate any of those things happening there. Life can always throw your turn.

Joe Friel: That’s for sure. I agree. 100%. It’s, it’s training for life is what it is. I see so many folks that have just not stayed active enough as you get into their 60s 70s 80s and just not stayed active enough. And then I run into people who are in their 90s or even early one hundreds I know of guys 101 years old.

Suzanne Atkinson: Wow

Joe Friel: And he’s in great shape, you know, is she just isn’t in great shape for somebody who in one years old.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah, that’s great

Joe Friel: And just simply because he’s eight AP his entire life. He’s He’s not just become somebody who has to have somebody push him around in a, in a wheelchair all day long. He drives his own car; he does he works out does all kinds of stuff and know how to 50-year olds would do.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah. Are you familiar with Andrew Weil?

Joe Friel: Can’t place the name.

Suzanne Atkinson: You may recognize the name in a different context. But he’s a physician, a Harvard trained physician that started a program, I think, at the University of Arizona, I may not be correct, but it’s basically about wellness and lifestyle. But he came to Pittsburgh on a speaking tour. And one of the comments that he made was describing compression of aging. So in other words, if you’re 101 years old, and you’re still, you know, active and exercising or riding your bike, and then you have a heart attack and you die within a month, that’s compression of aging, that the whole end of life is is you know, wrapped up into a few weeks rather than developing chronic conditions in your 60s. Right. So that’s a phrase that sticks with me. Yeah, I’m sorry.

Joe Friel: That’s okay.

Suzanne Atkinson: Just one last quick question, and only because I’m curious about it. You had mentioned the last time we talked, that in the back of your mind, you thought you might completely rewrite the training Bible from scratch. Do you still consider that?

Joe Friel: Well, I think we’ve talked Back when this had to Ben Corona,

Suzanne Atkinson: It was 2014.

Joe Friel: Yeah, 14.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah

yeah, what I do in 2016 I rewrote the cipher Study Bible the triathletes training Bible completely rewrote the Mr. Where the manuscript, start with a blank sheet of paper.

Suzanne Atkinson: Fantastic

Joe Friel: Read all new books. They’re there.

Suzanne Atkinson: They’re both new. Okay.

Joe Friel: Yeah, entirely new.

Suzanne Atkinson: Well, I saw the I checked the edition numbers before the interview because I wanted to be caught up in this the cycling is on its fifth edition. And the triathlon is on its fourth edition. So that’s all new information in there. I guess I’ll have to buy new cars. Fantastic. Okay. I don’t have any other questions today. But I really appreciate you taking the time out to chat with me.

Joe Friel: Thank you for asking Suzanne. I enjoyed conversations. It’s always fun to talk about this kind of stuff for me.

Suzanne Atkinson: Yeah, thanks. Maybe we can catch up again on another podcast within the next five years. All right,

Joe Friel: Anytime.

Suzanne Atkinson: Thanks. Enjoy your afternoon, Joe.

Joe Friel:  Thank you.

Suzanne Atkinson:  For help, hope you enjoyed this interview with Joe. I really appreciate you listening in. One of the things that I love about doing this podcast and about doing my coach education webinars over at try coach academy.com is sharing what I’ve learned with athletes and coaches, and using my knowledge to help interview other experts in the field. And ask them questions that may help them reveal information, strategies, knowledge experiences, that as a newer triathlete or a newer coach, or just someone who may not be in touch with a lot of other coaches and athletes, you may not know how to get a hold of that information. Maybe you want to hear about how a particular athlete does something and you can’t find an interview with that person, or how a particular coach has accomplished work with a certain athlete. If you have thoughts like these, get in touch with me, please, I’m always looking for new people to interview. And there’s really no requirement to be a guest on the show. Other than that, you’ve got some interesting story to share. I feel like it’s part of my job as the host to draw out the best for my guests, and help them share their story. Whatever it is, I think that everyone has a story to share that we can all learn from. So that being said, if you’ve enjoyed this podcast, and if you enjoy my other interviews, I would love it if you can help other athletes as well and help other coaches by leaving me a review on iTunes. Preferably a positive review, if you can leave me a five-star review that would be fantastic. If you’ve enjoyed this interview, and the other interviews that you’ve listened to, I’d really appreciate if you could help me spread the word to other athletes and coaches by leaving me a review on iTunes. good reviews, so I understand help other people find the podcast more easily and the more people that find the podcast and listen to it, the more people I can serve. And that’s really my goal is to reach as many coaches and athletes out there as possible about endurance training, tracks on training in particular, but really all human performance in particular endurance. Next week’s interview will be with Pete Jacobs. Pete Jacobs is the 2012 Ironman World Champion. In 2013. He dropped out of the championship race because of his health, he experienced some health issues that he felt he was unable to recover from fully. And part of that was due to his training for Ironman. In this interview, we talk about his struggles after the 2012 race. We talk about his nutrition experimentation and current strategies. We talk about mindset. And we talk about a whole lot of additional things that I think you’ll probably want to have a notebook next to you while you listen. I know that I took a full page of notes and he actually had to ask me to stop typing so much because I was, I was distracting him but there’s so much good information. I just switched to pencil and paper and and filled a page and a half and hopefully, I’ll get all those notes transcribed for you as well. So, thanks for joining me, please leave us a good review. Next podcast is with Pete Jacobs. And if you’re looking for other ways to support this podcast, I do have a Patreon page at tried to listen where you can help support the production transcription and editing of these episodes. Feel free to get in touch with me at any time through the website. Try to listen .com that’s dri the number two the word listen.com Thanks a lot. See you soon



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