Help with Joe Friel's training plan


New Member
May 26, 2011
I could really use some advice from those that are familiar with Joe Friels method of building a training plan. I'm working on my plan for the coming year, it's all coming together well but I have a few questions about how to chose what workouts to do. Looking at pg. 144-145 of his book, it shows a weekly training pattern for the year. My question is, how do I decide which workouts to schedule? For example, in Build 2 on pg. 145 for Tuesday you have a choice of M2, M3, M4, M5, or M6. How do I know which muscular endurance workout to do that week? The same goes for other types of workouts.

Also, I may be wrong but it does not seems to make sense to do a endurance workout on Monday, a muscular endurance interval workout on Tuesday, an endurance workout on Wednesday, some anaerobic endurance intervals on Thursday, spinning drills on Friday and endurance work the rest of the week. It seems like you would want to do 2-3 days of a certain type of interval, anaerobic, force, muscular endurance with some endurance work in between the interval days for 4-6 weeks and then work on another limiter for another 4-6 weeks. I hope someone can help me figure this out, I'm sure I'm making it way more complicated than it needs to be.
Start with the lower workouts and end at the higher ones as your fitness improves. M1 is M2, M2 easier than M3, etc.

Just keep in mind that you can be flexible and switch them up however you like to fit how you feel and what sort of time you have available. The A1, A2 and A3 workouts are a pretty good example of this. A1 is 'ride how you feel' and typically longer in duration. A2 is adding more intensity but includes longer recoveries. A3 takes that recovery time away. Thus A3 tends to work well in your first week with an A1 on the weekend and A1 or A2 in week two with A2 in week three before your R&R week.

Basically the plan is wide open as there is such a large difference in abilities, so you're going to have to experiment and find what works best for you.

And I'd also agree that you don't really want to work on just one thing for a long time as you'd end up ignoring everything else but you definitely don't want to stack very intense workouts together without sufficient recovery in between as I think you are suggesting.
How can you say it's all coming together well when you can't figure out what training to do?

On Tuesday and Thursday you seem to have some variation on the interval theme. The reason you do endurance on the preceding and following days is that you either don't want your legs to be stuffed when you do the intervals or your legs will be stuffed the day after the intervals. The intensity of the endurance sessions will be somewhat dependant on how well you can handle the intervals and vice-versa.

If you're fairly new, make sure there's a couple of rest days - or at least a couple of very easy days.
Thanks Rizz, that helps a lot!

Swampy, when I said it's coming together, I meant that I had my yearly hours figured out, what days to work out and what to work on those days, I just did not understand how to decide to do, for example M1, M2 or M3. With Rizz's explanation it makes it much clearer. As far as recovery, I have been riding for three years and racing for two, looking back, I can see my recovery time is getting shorter. I can now do a a really hard training day or a group ride/race, do some low intensity the following day and feel ready to go, the day after that.

Thanks again for the insight!