The Time-Crunched Cyclist

I’m not sure about you, but I suspect you might be a little like me: married, two kids, job, hobby that takes about as much time as a job, lots of personal interests that take up time and, oh yes, cyclist with aspirations of greatness that will never be realised because I don’t have enough freaking time to train!

Or at least I didn’t. According to the new book by Chris Carmichael, The Time Crunched Cyclist, I can be fit, fast and powerful (his words – I like them!) in 6 to 8 hours a week. Sign me up! I just finished the book (I recommend you get it) and I’ve come to a couple of conclusions about it:

1. I love it. I love what Carmichael has to say here about traditional ‘base building’ workouts being completely useless for time-crunched people.  I never felt I was really getting any faster or stronger when I was doing a that kind of stuff, and always felt that my biggest gains came after a period of lots of intense spinning bike, mountain bike or short road sessions. In fact, Carmichael says that intensity is the key to success and if you can manage 6 to 8 hours a week, with a high-intensity, 12 week programme that he’s designed, you’ll be a better cyclist. He outlines why this is the case, how to get there and how to use nutrition and sensible cross-training to make the most of your fitness. Plus, he’s got an understanding, world-view that says, “I know you want to be a pro cyclist. But you’re not. You’ve got a family and it’s OK if that’s your priority. Really. It’s ok.”

2. The Sufferfest is perfect for anyone following the Time-Crunched Cyclist training programme. Because the workouts in the book are all 60-90 minutes long, and involve high intensity intervals, they are perfectly suited for time on the trainer. Carmichael says it’s ok to deviate from the suggested workouts in his plan, as long as you’re doing the kind of intensity he’s looking for. If you’ve done one of the Sufferfest workouts, then you know it’s nearly impossible to fit more intensity into an hour. Unless you’re bionic. Then you probably could.

So that’s the ‘no time’ excuse for not achieving greatness gone…damn. Now if only Carmichael would write “The time-crunched, slightly lazy, pizza and red wine loving cyclist training plan.” I’d really be racing for the podium.