So CTS developed a new approach—the Time-Crunched Training Program—to help cyclists achieve competitive fitness and power without the impossible time demands of traditional training methods. Cyclists learn the science behind this alternative approach to training before performing the CTS field tests to get a baseline reading of their fitness. Nine comprehensive training plans include effective time-crunched workouts, nutrition guidelines, and strength training to develop the speed and endurance for a wide variety of cycling races and events. The new Time-Crunched Training Plans cover: New and Experienced plans for criteriums, road races, and cyclocross New, Experienced, and Competitive plans for century rides and Gran Fondos Gravel racing and ultraendurance mountain biking plans Intermediate and Advanced plans for commuters This new, third edition integrates Strava, the popular ride tracking and analysis program. Powered by Strava, the Time-Crunched program becomes interactive, social, highly motivating—and focuses riders on the training data that matters most. It also adds the Time-Crunched Diet, a sports nutrition approach designed to help riders optimize their power-to-weight ratio with new guidelines on eating behaviors and delicious recipes from chefs Michael Chiarello and Matt Accarrino.

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I spent eight weeks training to be seven seconds quicker. Well, no more than usual. This was back when I was a slower rider. Geez, I sound like a TV infomercial.

This of course is just one measure. There are many others. My journey began when I decided to give up monster weekend rides and begin training proper. Before I knew it I was huffing and puffing on a turbo trainer in my hallway. Glamorous eh? Always ride with a specific goal in mind. Yet my training was far from aimless. With one eye on next year, I wanted to learn about my body and understand how it would respond to the stress of training.

Plus I might even get quicker. These codes dictated my evenings. The TCTP demands three interval sessions a week plus slower endurance rides. Easy right? Not quite. Cramming intervals into the evening was challenging.

Get home from work, jump on the turbo, eat, go to bed. The new shorter weekend ride left me with many an hour to fill yet my tired legs ruled out cycling. What to do?! Looking back, my weekly totals were a meagre three to five hours. An hour of intervals on Tuesday and Thursdays followed by more intervals on a weekend, maybe with some endurance tacked on the end. Super time crunched. The intervals The novelty of intervals wears thin quick. An hour of suffering is not something to enjoy.

Climbing on the bike is the hardest part. Once on, you bury yourself in pain and loud banging music. More times than not I would finish the session euphoric. Endorphin overload. Some intervals are more enjoyable than others although much depends on how fresh you are. Attempting any interval with fatigue is asking for trouble. Fast Pedal FP intervals border on the ridiculous but are fun and a welcome change from max out intervals.

One for rest days. Of sorts. Over Under OU intervals are painful. Repeatedly riding marginally above or below your threshold quickly takes its toll. Hey, I like variety. And pain. All out time. The latter steady effort is when you build steadily to max power and finish strong.

PFPI are the most brutal of intervals and this might explain why they are only introduced in week seven. Before I began this programme there would have been no way I could have ridden so slowly but with intervals in my legs I had no choice! My training plan How did I fare? Yet resting when tired is what the plan demands. I commute daily and whenever I did try a few zone two spins they left me feeling very tired for the entirety of the next week.

This makes for unpleasant turbo sessions. I gave myself two simple rules when completing the plan. The workouts are designed to stress your body. Completing them at 95 percent of the prescribed effort would defeat the purpose. Secondly, and just as importantly, listen to your body. You know when your legs are tired so skip the session entirely to avoid building up fatigue and ruining your training plan. Knowing when to stop is difficult but there will be several signs.

I have a little test for my legs which is a good indicator of fatigue or freshness. Count to two again. Feel your legs burning? Works every time. All of my local hill climb records have been smashed and I was no slouch before I began this plan.

Without aiming to, I also lost weight. Well, my calves are. The rest of me is just thinner! Christmas will fix that. Most importantly, the plan taught me to listen to my body and stop overtraining. I kept a training diary not for posterity but to monitor my efforts. I then rest and plan easier sessions. The plan is so focussed it leaves little room for other rides.

On the rare occasion I put in extra miles I paid for it later in the week. Plus the road is by far the most enjoyable session. Fitting the training into the working week was also difficult. I have to thank my better half for accommodating me.

Waiting around for a late dinner. Coming home from work to a maniac sprinting in the hallway. Enduring the porno style huffing and puffing. Towards the end of the plan I also found it mentally challenging to climb on the turbo and commit percent. I imagine such challenges will be even more difficult come light and warm summer nights. Should you start a training plan? Do I recommend the time crunched training plan?

If you want to ride faster and can commit to the above, then this plan works. I read many other blogs and they all agree. Just consider if such riding is for you. If you do take on the plan, push yourself but be flexible and listen to your body. Remember, you are not a robot. I was fairly strict following the plan but did shuffle many of the sessions to fit around that thing called life.

What next? Form is fleeting and I can already feel my legs emptying. It is December after all. I may even join a few group rides to get some miles in. The plan will be filled with intervals from this training plan which I look forward to tailoring. There is a limit though. I love cycling too much to be so focussed. My plan will include down time and some time to discover the world on two wheels.

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The Time-Crunched Cyclist, 3rd Ed.

I spent eight weeks training to be seven seconds quicker. Well, no more than usual. This was back when I was a slower rider. Geez, I sound like a TV infomercial. This of course is just one measure. There are many others. My journey began when I decided to give up monster weekend rides and begin training proper.


Review: The Time Crunched Cyclist book by Chris Carmichael


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