The Time-Crunched Cyclist - Authored by Chris Carmichael and Jim Rutberg
Reviewed by Tom Baker
The Time-Crunched Cyclist is the third edition in the Time-Crunched series. Chris Carmichael of Carmichael Training Systems and his media director and coach Jim Rutberg have written this book to explain their ideas on achieving race-winning fitness in only 6 hours of training a week.
The book is for people who are no longer able to spend the long hours training due to life’s responsibilities.
The book is in three sections. Part 1 presents the case for how their method will work for you, its opportunities and limitations. If you are skeptical of how only 6 hours of training can enable you to reach race fitness, then this is would be the place to start reading this book. The limitation to their method is that the fitness level achieved is short lived – only long enough to last for a race or two. Of course, to only utilize such shorts training times implies that the time is at high intensity, because the work done is constant and equal to intensity times time.
Part 2 covers the tailored training programs. These include 1) criterium, road race, cyclocross, 2) century and gran fondo riding, 3) commuter, and 4) weight loss.
Part 3 covers sports nutrition. This is more a discussion about how we eat, rather than what we eat. The topics include fueling workouts, myths and facts. This is a valuable section to read for this reason. Food choices and hydration are also covered.
Part 4 is about making the most of your fitness. This isn’t about doing longer, more traditional training methods, but rather hard and short duration workouts – high intensity interval training (HIIT).
This book is well researched and the research is timely. If one only read this book for the latest scientific research into training methods and how the body is trained to use food and create energy, if would be worthwhile. Scientific understanding of the bodies mechanisms is evolving rapidly, so knowledge from just a few years ago is being replaced with new findings.
Coaching is a big business now. The work programs in this book promise a lot. The use of power meter training at submaximal efforts just below the lactate threshold, as detailed previously in The Ultimate Ride are integral to the approach presented.
There is an extensive reference section at the end of the book. It’s also interesting that the authors mention other cycle training books which also the topic of submaximal effort in improving lactate threshold and power, including Joe Friel’s The Cyclist’s Training Bible, Serious Training for Endurance Athletes by Rob Sleamaker, Ed Burke’s Serious Cycling and Asker Jeukendrup’s High Performance Cycling.
It is clear from reading this book that 1) the understanding of the body’s mechanisms continues to expand and is being exploited by cyclists and coaches and 2) this book offers an approach using much less training time with the promise of success for people who can’t devote the time to train long hours.
Another valuable book from VeloPress, who seem to bringing a great variety of books to cyclists these days.
The Time-Crunched Cyclist is available from:
VeloPress, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo and independent booksellers
Paperback with two-color interior, illustrations and tables throughout.
7″ x 9″, 320 pp., $21.95, 9781937715502