Training Bible Studies with Joe Friel

Joe Friel is author of the successful "Training Bible" series ofbooks, a regular columnist for VeloNews and Inside Triathlonand the founder of www.ultrafit.com.Friel also offers answers to a selection of questions in this weekly column here on VeloNews.com. Readers can send questions to Friel in care of VeloNews.comat WebLetters@7Dogs.com. (Besure to include "Friel" in the subject line.)Q: I have heard a lot of talk over the years of riders consumingor injecting large doses of vitamin B-12.  Is there any added benefitto this vitamin? Also, what kinds of vitamins or supplements can give

By Joe Friel

Joe Friel is author of the successful “Training Bible” series ofbooks, a regular columnist for VeloNews and Inside Triathlonand the founder of www.ultrafit.com.Friel also offers answers to a selection of questions in this weekly column here on VeloNews.com. Readers can send questions to Friel in care of VeloNews.comat WebLetters@7Dogs.com. (Besure to include “Friel” in the subject line.)Q: I have heard a lot of talk over the years of riders consumingor injecting large doses of vitamin B-12.  Is there any added benefitto this vitamin? Also, what kinds of vitamins or supplements can give anoticeable positive results in the cyclist’s performance?—JaredA: Vitamin B12 is necessary for the normal processing of fat,carbohydrate and protein in the body’s metabolic processes. The first symptomsof a deficiency of B12 are anemia and fatigue, which endurance cyclistsare certainly prone to, especially in stage races. There is also a reducedwhite blood cell count with low B12 that makes the rider more susceptibleto colds and other diseases. But a deficiency more often occurs from poorabsorption rather than a B12-poor diet. However, strict vegetarians andvegans are more at risk for low B12 than others. The need for B12 in thedaily diet is minimal. Eating a diet with 4 or more servings a day fromanimal products provides 3-10 times the adult RDA for B12. Good sourcesof B12 are lean meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, organ meats, and eggs.I recommend that athletes take in 600-800 IU of vitamin E (d-alphatocopherol, not dL), 1 gram of vitamin C, and, depending on the amountof fish in the diet, 1-3 grams of fish oil (DHA+EPA) daily. This combinationof antioxidants and omega-3 oil will help to maintain muscle cell wallsstressed by exercise while reducing the severity of inflammations.—JoeFrielQ: I’m a 30-year-old pro mountain bike racer.  If I plantwo BT workouts two days apart will riding in L2-L3 zones (2.5-3 hours)during these two days prolong my recovery time?  The studies I haveread (DOMS research) indicate that because of the loss of strength associatedwith intense workouts that it is not possible to damage the muscle anyfurther.   Two days is usually enough of a recovery time forme.  Just wondering what your thoughts were.  Thanks. -KevinA: There are several aspects of physiology that needto recover besides structural damage to muscle cells following hard workouts.I’d suggest riding only 1 zone on the days between the two BTs. Ridingharder than that, especially 3 zone, is likely to prolong recovery. Thecloser you get to your A-priority races the more important this alternatingvery hard-very easy training pattern becomes. –Joe FrielQ: I am a 41-year-old amateur in only my second year of intentionalplanned training. You recommend riding fast group rides on Saturdays inthe build phase of training, unfortunately my local club ride is on Tuesdaynights. To further complicate things I get the majority of my trainingtime through commuting to and from work Monday through Friday. I am tryingto adapt the suggested patterns to fit my situation. If I commute and dothe hard fast ride Tuesday will I be overloading that day? Any suggestionson how to modify the weekly patterns?Thanks for your book and for helping all of us who use it to realizeour goals and potentials.—KennyA: Most riders will usually get in 2-3 BT (hard) workoutsin a week, depending on the time of the season it is. One of those is usuallybest as a fast group ride in the Build period. That can be any day of theweek so long as you plan for it. Whether or not you do another commuterride that day depends on how it affects your group ride. You may need toexperiment to find out. Some would have no trouble with that while findit is too much. The other BT workouts should be spaced 48-72 hours fromthis Tuesday ride.—Joe FrielQ: Upon approaching one’s peak, is it possible to, if you dialedback your efforts, maintain a pre-peak level for a lengthy duration (beyond6 weeks) until the time it becomes truly necessary?. Is it possible thatone never need to actually peak if the results are consistently good oris it recommended that one push to the limit to avoid routine? Thanks.—DavidA: If one can achieve his goals without having to peak theneither the goals were too low—or he is using banned substances. Just kiddingon the last point. Actually, yes, it is possible to hold a high, but notpeak, level of fitness for a long time. How long depends on many factors,such as the nature of training at the high level, how much base fitnessone established, lifestyle stress, enthusiasm for training, etc. But eventually,given enough time, this strategy will catch-up with you and fitness willdecline. How long that takes is an individual matter.—Joe Friel


Joe Friel is author of the successful “Training Bible”series of books, a regular columnist for VeloNews and InsideTriathlon and the founder of www.ultrafit.com.Friel also offers answers to a selection of questions in this weekly columnhere on VeloNews.com. Readers can send questions to Friel in care of VeloNews.comat WebLetters@7Dogs.com. (Besure to include “Friel” in the subject line.)