20 July 2010

Book Review #2

Today's book is The Time-Crunched Cyclist, by Chris Carmichael. For those who may not know, Coach Carmichael is Lance Armstrong's personal coach and has coached many hundreds of others from professional to more casual cyclists over the years.

This book focuses on getting the most workout possible in the shortest amount of time, and is (as the title clearly suggests) aimed at the cyclist with family, work, and other obligations and a limited amount of hours weekly in which to train.

Basically, the program is a condensed version of the basic periodization training programs many coaches and cyclists are using today. The major difference is that Coach Carmichael's system uses short, very intense workouts at or even over Lactate Threshold so that both improved Lactate clearance and muscle endurance occur rapidly. The first few chapters describe the program's philosophy, goes over the basic science underneath the program, and nutritional considerations.

The workouts are brief, but well-explained, and are highly customizable. Coach Carmichael covers a wide range of potential scenarios, and also gives great tactical advice in the latter part of the book. The last two chapters cover additional workouts for adding endurance and strength training in limited time.

Overall, I believe this is a good read for all cyclists, of any level, as the information Coach Carmichael covers is important and useful. A cyclist who has the time to undergo a more traditional periodization training program may not use the training program itself, but the Coach's coverage of nutrition and training tools is worth going over. This is not the only book that covers this material, but it is covered in a pretty down-to-earth manner.

My ratings (out of five stars):

Overall: ****
Cycling Specificity: *****
Ease of reading: **** (Some of the training tools coverage can be somewhat technical).

Final analysis: Recommended for cyclists who have a limited time to train but really want to be at their best. Cyclists with more time may benefit from reading it to gain understanding, but it is not essential.

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