Joe Friel returns with an entirely rewritten guide to training and competition.
There comes a point in your cycling progression where how fast you go will be something you will want to increase. It may be in the very beginning, I want to go faster – NOW! Or it may be after adjusting to cycling to commute or for enjoying the community around you. You may not want to go faster for the sake of thrills, but more for the ability to cover distance. As an example, a rider with an average pace of 19 mph will travel 30% farther than a similar rider traveling at an average of 13 mph. It’s not so much that riding 19 mph is more enjoyable than 13 mph, it’s that you’re able to cover more ground in the same amount of time, go farther, see more. The next questions to follow may be; how do you get there? Is it just simply riding as much as possible? Is there a more systematic way to improve your efficiency, and get more out of your time spent in the saddle?
The first edition of the Cyclist’s Training Bible by Joe Friel was released more than 20 years ago, and sought to answer these questions. The book has gone on to be a best-selling guide to training for cycling, and has been fundamental in changing how athletes train and prepare for competition. The 4th edition was released in 2009 and continued to communicate the lessons Friel learned while coaching and training some of the best athletes in the sport. This fall, Friel will be releasing the 5th edition of his guide to cycling excellence, as well as the 2nd edition of the companion book, The Cyclist’s Training Diary. Both have been substantially revised, most notably the 5th edition undergoing an entire rewrite.
The Cyclist Training Bible continues the exploration of the systematic approach to training. Since the 4th edition was published, much of the methodology and approach to training has changed. The price of power meters, advanced cycling computers and trainers have greatly changed how cyclists train in these years. The 5th edition addresses these topics with useful information to take advantage of the overwhelming amounts of data these wonder-tools provide. Beyond just explaining how to use the data, Friel provides guided plans that fit a wide variety of athletic endeavors. And this is the greatest departure from the previous edition.
Beyond how technology has changed training, the methodology of training has also shifted. Friel highlights this with more emphasis on periodized training, the idea of scheduling your training and races in periods of training intensity, as well as interval training, the methodology around short in length, but high-output training sessions that have risen in popularity in our time-crunched society. Where the 4th and earlier editions provided a singular plan with addenda offering adjustments depending on the athletic goals, the 5th edition provides multiple individualized plans. This is hugely beneficial and takes into the account that a one-size-fits-all training plan may leave a lot on the table if the training doesn’t fit the event.
The humble confidence of Friel comes through his writing with an encouraging tone of discipline and perseverance. The differences between the 4th and 5th editions is substantive, and Friel himself in the Prologue relents “What I’ve written here sometimes disagrees with what I said earlier. That brings us back to where we started: Things change. The sport has changed. Sports science has changed. And I have changed.” Only for the better. For the self-motivated person looking to systematically improve their cycling, look no further than The Cyclist Training Bible, 5th Edition (bible $27, diary $16).