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The Time-Crunched Cyclist: Fit, Fast, and Powerful in 6 Hours a Week (The Time-Crunched Athlete) Paperback – August 1, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Chris has always been an innovator. I've relied on his training methods for 20 years, and now even the busiest everyday cyclist can too." — Lance Armstrong

"For those with tight schedules and real life demands, The Time-Crunched Cyclist offers an alternative to hanging up the bike in frustration." — DailyPeloton.com

"Chris Carmichael's newest book, The Time-Crunched Cyclist, is worth a look for anyone with a real life." — PezCyclingNews.com

"It's very hard: a) to put this book down and b) not to pick up a useful amount of beneficial knowledge from it." — TheWashingMachinePost.net

"With the training plans, nutritional information, case studies, race and ride tips, success stories and more, The Time-Crunched Cyclist certainly gave me new hope that I would be able to train well to truly enjoy the sport that I love. If you are, like me, a cyclist with too little free time on your hands, I would definitely recommend that you buy and read this book." — BikeWorldNews.com

"Carmichael explains superbly in the book how a training program which features shorter but higher intensity training coupled with good recovery periods can deliver spectacular results." — Roadcycling.co.nz

About the Author

Chris Carmichael was an Olympian and a professional cyclist before beginning his career as a coach, best-selling author, and entrepreneur. He has coached seven-time Tour de France Champion Lance Armstrong since 1990, was recognized as the U.S. Olympic Committee Coach of the Year, and was inducted into the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame in 2003. For more information, please visit trainright.com.


Jim Rutberg is the editorial director and a coach for Carmichael Training Systems, and co-author, with Chris Carmichael, of The Ultimate Ride, Chris Carmichael’s Food for Fitness, Chris Carmichael’s Fitness Cookbook, The Carmichael Training Systems Cyclist’s Training Diary, 5 Essentials for a Winning Life, and innumerable web and magazine articles. His work has appeared in Bicycling, Outside, Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, VeloNews, Inside Triathlon, and more.


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Product Details

  • Series: The Time-Crunched Athlete
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Velo Press; Original edition (August 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934030473
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934030479
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #803,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I started cycling again a few years ago after having ridden a bunch in high school and college. I had always ridden for transportation and a little fun on the weekends, but I started going on some group rides and found that I was pretty fast. So, I started riding with the "fast" guys. I made a lot of progress (got faster) two seasons ago without any specific training plan, and decided to try my hand at racing. So, I decided I needed to have an actual training plan. I read and tried to follow Joel Friel's Training Bible and made progress last season, but felt that there was something that wasn't quite right. I felt like the prior season had been much more beneficial. I was training smarter, but I wasn't progressing like I thought I should. The training often seemed way too easy. I read this book, and it all started to make some sense. I was rarely able to train more than 8 hrs/wk. When Friel's plan started calling for 10-13 hrs/wk, I just wasn't able to make it happen. I think I just wasn't stressing my body enough last season.

The TCTP (Time Crunched Training Plan) replaces volume with intensity, so you don't have to try to put in 10-12 hrs/wk. Based on my experience of the last two seasons, this should work.

The book is well written. He talks about making it short because he knows the readers are "time-crunched". I felt he could have shortened it a bit more, but it is way better than other books on training that are way too wordy. The three real life examples of CTS clients that have successfully used the TCTP are very motivational and effective as to how to use the plan.

I respectfully disagree with Peter Krogh's review that the book is only for century rider.
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Format: Paperback
I grabbed TTCC because I signed up for a metric century and was not in any shape to do it. When I started the program, I could do about 20 miles over roughly 1 hour of riding before I was done. I followed the program pretty closely, but sometimes missed the 1 or 2 midweek rides and was still able to complete my metric century in 3hrs and 15mins after 9 weeks.

What I really appreciated is that the book explains the method behind the madness. I changed my pedaling style to a higher cadence and was able to keep my lactic acid buildup to a minimum. I have focused on the using my heartrate as a gauge for effort and that made a huge difference.

My only point of disappointment was that I started gaining weight (especially around weeks 3-5) as I added muscle mass. It was discouraging, but I did see a change to my physique as my legs got bigger and my stomach got smaller. At week 9, my weight is down 5lbs from the start, but my body has changed and my clothes fit much looser, especially around the waist. This book won't make you drop pounds quickly, but it will make you quicker on the bike.

I was very impressed that Chris & Jim have been very responsive to questions i asked via Twitter ([...]) about the program. It is very unusual for an author to answer individual questions like that.

I have a friend who is training for a true century and I've already bought him a copy. I would recommend you pick up a copy, too.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first book I've read on structured training. I've been racing for over 15 years with varied success. Now, with 3 kids and a career, I was excited to find a program to be get the most out of my limited time to train and race.

As others have noted, the book does waffle a bit on setting expectations. At one point it will talk about being able to get to a place where you are successful at a cat 3 racer (which is no small achievement) and then will provide an example of someone using the plan to compete in a national championship event. So, it does try to set realistic expectations (that you won't likely be racing at a professional level on this plan), but sets a broad range of what the limitations may be.

It was easy to follow and it did seem valuable that they included an 11 week training plan for different types of cyclists (exp racer, new racer,exp century rider, and new century rider). I also like the explanations about LT and the field test to calculate it.

However, as other reviewers have noted, it is not clear where racing fits into the program. During you 11 week plan, you can be racing, but it isn't clear how these are substituted for the prescribed workouts. Also, there is a required 6 week 'break' between 11 week blocks. However, it also wasn't entirely clear if you could race at all during that time (with lowered expectations), or if you should refrain from racing all together.

In summary, the book was valuable to gain knowledge of structured training and the plan can be used as a starting point for building a training plan. Unfortunately, it isn't entirely clear what kind of adjustments to the plan can be made without impacting the results.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The TCTP isn't about reclaiming your youth so much as it is about reclaiming your identity. Being a cyclist is an important part of who you are, and it's a lot easier to proudly identify yourself as a cyclist when you're good at it." [pg. 52]

Finally, a book that speaks to us "retired racers" who are in our late 30's and beyond, with a career, family, and obligations that do not lend themselves to 4+ hour training rides. Admittedly, the training plan is intense, but that's the point.

"Our relationship with our sport may have changed, but our desire to be fit, fast, and powerful hasn't diminished."

And how does he address that? By recognizing (finally) that all of the training plans out there do not lend themselves to the average athlete who wants to balance being an attentive parent and husband, a responsible employer/employee, and get in the training hours required to be competitive either in a race series or simply during intense weekend rides. His answer - high intensity, low volume, taper, recover, start over. Do no more than 2 to 3 cycles of this per year.

And his rationale -

"Initially I had a lot of trouble with the relatively short-term nature of the fitness gained using this program. Coming from the old-school mindset of endurance training, I struggled with the idea of a top-heavy training program that build high-end power without the deep aerobic fitness necessary to support it long-term. But for athletes with limited time to train, the alternative is sticking with old programs that can't possibly generate the fitness necessary to be a successful cyclist.
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