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Book Review: The Cyclist’s Training Bible by Joe Friel

the cyclist's training bible

Joe Friel is one of the most widely known coaches in cycling (perhaps second only to Chris Carmichael,) and his book, The Cyclist’s Training Bible, has been the biggest resource around for cycling training as long as I can remember. I think the first edition was released way back in 1996!

Boy has it withstood the test of time, because it’s still going strong today! While the basic info doesn’t get outdated, it’s nice to get updates as training becomes more sophisticated and more research studies are released about proper nutrition and fueling. For example, power meter use is becoming more and more common and warrants mention in top training manuals today.

The fourth edition of The Cyclist’s Training Bible was released in March 2009, and that’s what I’ll be reviewing today, so keep on reading…

What’s In The Book

This is a huge book! 352 pages if I remember correctly. It’s pretty safe to say, Joe Friel covers everything you need to know about training.

Here’s a quick list of what you’ll find:

  • Theories behind training and physiology
  • Types of workouts
  • Periodization methods
  • Essential skills required for racing
  • Goal setting
  • Case studies
  • Example training weeks
  • Making your training match your desired race
  • And more…

Really, there’s too much to list, so I’m not even going to try to list every little thing. But I will point out some of the good stuff…

Most importantly, there’s the concept of periodization, which is when you set up your training plan into defined segments that combine to make a whole plan. These phases include Base I,II,III, Build I,II, Peak, and Compete. Each of the seven phases plays a part in making you race ready. In other words, this is “how to set up your own training plan.”

And yes, you also discover the best tips on how to keep a training diary so you can monitor your training progress.

After all that, Friel covers topics such as strength training, stretching, yoga, nutrition, etc.

Then, after 300 pages about training and nutrition, you finally get to the actual workouts to do! It’s “Appendix C” that finally has the actual workout ideas for you to use for daily workouts.

These are categorized by the focus of workout, which would be strength, speed, endurance, power, etc.

Put it all together like you’re told, and you have yourself a full-fledged training plan!

What I Like About The Book

In simplest terms, you spend $16.47 for top-notch coaching advice – that deal can’t be beat! There is no other resource that goes this in-depth about cycling training for anywhere near this price.

As far as the content, it’s all top-notch. Probably 95% of it, you can’t even argue! It’s just that good.

Yep, even the “Fuel” chapter (i.e. nutrition) is good. It’s a good plan which I believe would work for virtually every endurance athlete out there.

What I Don’t Like About The Book

There’s nothing that I didn’t like about The Cyclist’s Training Bible, but there are a few things I should caution you about.

First, the book is huge. It’s the size of a college text book, and it is organized similarly. If you are not enthusiastic about your training, you could find it “dry.” It’s definitely not like reading a novel!

And if you just ride for fun, well, don’t waste your time or money. You probably won’t get a whole lot out of this book, and if you try to start structuring your riding, you might even lose interest in riding… and you don’t want that to happen!

My final verdict is…

Let’s be clear – this book is not for someone looking for a “ready to use” training plan. This book is an in-depth guide, almost a textbook. Friel gave you a fishing pole rather than a fish, so expect to study the book and put in some real work to prepare your own training plan.

However, if you are a cyclist who wants to compete in races or simply maximize your ability to impress your friends, and you plan to coach yourself, this is the book for you. It gives you everything you need to know to design a proper training plan and improve your fitness year after year.

If you like to set goals, put in the effort, and get results, then get this book!

Official website: www.TrainingBible.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com

Product Review Details
Company: Joe Friel / Velo Press
Product: The Cyclist’s Training Bible
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.9 out of 5
Date last updated: 2011-04-20
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

usa cycling certified coach


pn1 certified coach
Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
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Hometown, PA