Joe Friel Base 1 test

I decided to make my own plan this winter using the Joe Friel Cyclist’s bible. Base 1 went well, and now I’m in a recovery week. The plan calls for a T1 workout – an Aerobic Time Trial – on Saturday. It just says ride 5 miles @ 9-11 beats below LTHR. IMO there are so many variables this test is almost not worth doing.

Has anybody done one of these before?

I recently got a PM for my road bike, so might do a 20’ outdoor effort.

Does the book say what the intended outcome of this test is? Are you comparing the average power to a previous test? Maybe it makes more sense it the context of the plan and what the previous phase was intended to accomplish.

The intended outcome is that you ride faster each time you do the test. Outdoors, there are too many variables to compare one test to another. Indoors, HR is very temperamental.

The book doesn’t mention power in that paragraph, but I guess measuring average power for the 5 miles (say 10-15 minutes?) indoors and comparing it to previous tests would be sensible.

Edit: should’ve said ‘faster’ not ‘further’

I believe (and I could be wrong) Joe Friel put those time trials and tests in there in order to cover his bases for the “vast majority” of cyclists (who might not have a PM or HR Monitor). He is mostly just wanting you to take a test so you can repeat and see progress over time.
You’re right in saying that there are too many variables, but it is better than nothing for those without any tech and gives them something to test against (even if it means writing in a “windy day… didn’t go as fast as last time” to their training notes)

I would say go for the 20’ or any other version of the FTP test in order to get a good idea of your zones for the endurance portion of your remaining base phases, especially as you add in more intensity like Sweet Spot, Tempo, and eventually Threshold in the next phases. This will also give you a good range to have as you focus on progression to a better endurance base and longer TTE


I haven’t seen this test, but the one he recommends for triathlon is a 30 minute test to get power over the 30 minutes and LTHR calculated over the last 20 minutes. I agree that going by distance outdoors is throwing a lot of variables into play that doesn’t seem like a good, repeatable test.


And I have used that test for almost a decade. Straight forward, requires pacing, but seems legit.

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I just started using it this past winter/spring and I found it pretty good as well. Nailed the pacing on the last one I did back in March. :smiley: (I was doing it by feel while riding in Zwift, just recording in a Free Ride in TR)

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I’ve got the latest edition (5th), and Appendix B shows:

  • T1: Aerobic Threshold (AeT) Test

not Aerobic Time Trial. Just pulled up Kindle and yes, the 4th Edition has the name and instructions you gave.

In the newer edition, the T1 Aerobic Threshold (AeT) test simply states to warm up, then ride for 1-4 hours depending on the length of your A event. If you are targeting crits, then ride for 60 or 90 minutes. And then to go out and ride +/-2bpm from “LTHR - 30bpm” so lets look at a concrete example. Say your LTHR is 160bpm, then -30bpm sets a heart rate target of 130bpm. That means you should go out and do a warmup, then ride 1-4 hours between 128-132 bpm HR.

So big difference between the 4th and 5th editions.

@velocoach that would make sense. I agree that it needs to be a repeatable test to monitor progression.

I did a few 25m TTs in Aug/Sept so I’ve got a really good idea of my TT FTP. Road bike might be a good idea though…

@wyku yes, I did that test before I used power. It’s great for finding your zones, although I have found Joe’s zones a little off for me. That’s another topic :slight_smile:

@wyku 30 minutes @ 102% is pretty potent for the off season!

@bbarrera ah I have the 3rd edition. I have three A events next year: a 10 in April, 100 in June & 50 in August. Is it 30bpm below LTHR for everyone? I’ve done 181bpm for a complete hour in training, so mine would be 151 which is right on my z2/z3 border.

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See this post:

And paragraph that begins with “ How about heart rate if you have a power meter on your bike? Does one exclude the other?” for more info.

Unrelated question - how did you know how to structure your week? Maybe we can DM about it, but I want to do more of a traditional base this year and have read Friel’s book, but don’t know how much of what to do. That is one thing I adore about TR, takes all the guess work out of it.

Coach Joe Friel sells training plans:

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Yup, I agree with that as well - - way too intense for me, Z2 especially.

@bbarrera thanks for the link. Measuring the EF is a good idea.

@ejthoms week structure is in the book… my base 1 recovery week has been:
M - off
T - 1hr easy with cadence spin ups
W - 2x45’ easy (had to break a 1:30 ride into two because of work)
T - 45’ easy including 1’ max effort AM, easy run PM
F - off/recovery (haven’t decided yet)
S - AeT Test
S - 3hr easy ride

@wyku yes, exactly. I think JF’s z2 was 145-160bpm. I use 122-150bpm

Gave the Aet Test a go:

231 avg / 233 np – 77/78% FTP. Actually found keeping HR 149-153bpm quite tricky