ISLM #5 | Joe Friel | Fast After 50

“What's going on between [an athlete's] ears is more critical than what's going on with their body.”
– Joe Friel

For nearly four decades, Joe Friel has been one of the world's top coaches of endurance athletes and a pioneer in developing approaches to optimize human performance.

In his storied career, he coached an Ironman Triathlon winner, USA and foreign national champions, world championship competitors, and an Olympian.  His clients have spanned a wide variety of disciplines including road cycling, mountain biking, triathlon, running, rowing, and endurance horse racing.

He is also the cofounder of and TrainingBible Coaching, as well as the author of more than a dozen books on athletic training and performance including his latest, Fast After 50. He has been a columnist for more than 200 magazines and his articles have been featured in such publications as Runner's World, Outside, Men's Health, Bicycling, the New York Times, and Vogue.

Joe helped found the USA Triathlon National Coaching Commission, serving two terms as chairman, and conducts seminars and camps on training and racing for endurance athletes and coaches in Asia, Europe, North and South America, and the Pacific region.  In addition, he is a sought after consultant to corporations in the fitness industry and to national governing bodies.

Joe is an accomplished athlete in his own right--a Colorado State Masters Triathlon Champion, member of several All-American teams, and a representative of the United States at world championships. He's still competing today as a 70+ year old masters athlete in USA Cycling bike races and time trials.

It was an honor and a treat to pick the brain of one the world's leading authorities on optimizing the performance of masters athletes and really anyone over 50.  Enjoy!

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Want to hear another episode from an expert in masters athletics and high performance aging? In this episode, we talk to Dr. Vonda Wright, Medical Director of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex and the founder and director of the Performance and Research Initiative for Masters Athletes (PRIMA)

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY:  What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode?  Would you like a transcript of this episode?  Who else would you like to see appear on the show?  Please let me know in the comments!

Scroll below for links and show notes…


Learn more about Joe Friel:

Website | Twitter



  • One of the defining moments of Joe's life and career. [03:06]
  • The origin story of Joe's latest book, Fast After 50. [05:23]
  • What are the biggest myths about aging, training, and performance? [07:46]
  • The three biggest changes experienced by aging athletes. [9:05]
  • What do we know "for sure" about athletic performance as we get older? [11:46]
  • Does high intensity interval training slow down the aging process? [13:44]
  • What are we still not sure about when it comes to aging? [15:47]
  • The rationale for hiring a coach. [17:20]
  • Questions Joe would ask athletes at the start of a coaching relationship. [18:41]
  • How would Joe advise an athlete for optimal impact who only has 8 weeks left before a big event? [24:06]
  • The most useful product or service for a masters athlete for under $100.  [26:08]
  • What differentiates Joe's coaching philosophy and approach? [27:19]
  • Who are the most unorthodox coaches having success and why? [28:55]
  • What role does technology have or could have for masters athletes? [34:00]
  • The masters athletes who inspire him. [36:48]
  • Final key takeaways--lifestyle vs. genetics and the importance of sleep. [39:13]
  • How to find out more about Joe and his work. [42:03]