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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone had the opportunity to work with either Carmichael Training Systems or 53x12.com? I've browsed through both of the websites, but was unsure whether or not it was a worthwhile investment. I've read Carmichael's books Food For Fitness and The Ultimate Ride. I've also just finished reading Friel's book. Is there a significant difference between working with one of those companies or just trying to create your own training program? I've raced in the past, but this is my first serious year of training. I'm anticipating riding about 18 hours a week. Thanks for your help.
 

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I run a small on-line coaching business, so you should know my bias coming into this discussion.

There is of course no 'right' answer. If you read Friel's book you probably have a pretty good starting point to create your own program. CTS and 53x12 offer diverse programs, some are very helpful, others are just generic programs. I question the benefit of the generic programs.

If you are new to really hard training, from my perspective, a coach can best serve you by having you take more days off. If you are good at listening to your body, then a coach may not be necessary. If you are prone to over-doing things, then a coach that is going to hold back the reins could be very valuable.

18 hours a week is quite a bit of volume, the one thing I would stress is make sure you don't over-train; get adequate amounts of rest.

Good Luck.
 

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fuzzy legs
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Carmichael

prs77 said:
Has anyone had the opportunity to work with either Carmichael Training Systems or 53x12.com? I've browsed through both of the websites, but was unsure whether or not it was a worthwhile investment. I've read Carmichael's books Food For Fitness and The Ultimate Ride. I've also just finished reading Friel's book. Is there a significant difference between working with one of those companies or just trying to create your own training program? I've raced in the past, but this is my first serious year of training. I'm anticipating riding about 18 hours a week. Thanks for your help.
I had a friend follow the Carmichael system. He did the most affordable option on their website, which is still expensive. The program was generic, very little feedback, and he said "it was a complete waste of money". The Friel books are wordy on the first pass but when comfortable with the language, setting up your own program is pretty simple.

If you do an online coach, spend the money for a comprehensive, personalized program, otherwise don't waste your cash, you're better off working a program on your own.

my 0.02
brad.
 

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Cyclocross is Seasonal?
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I trained with CTS for a year. This was back when it was reasonably priced, and it was okay insofar as I improved more than I would have on my own. The program was mostly generic and I got a new "coach" every month. I've heard it's better now, but I wouldn't go with CTS again unless they were very cheap, and I had no idea what I was doing.

For the past year, I've been with Cycle-Smart. The difference is night and day. I actually know my coach personally and have been able to develop a relationship with him. The program is built around my strengths and weaknesses and fits the amount of time I have to train while still pushing me to do more than I thought I could. I hit every single one of my long term goals in my first season with C-S.

Right now, I'm self-coaching through my base period to save some money. I'm a little nervous that I've set everything up right, but I've learned enough working with my coach not to mess it up too badly. I'm also completely willing to take rest as I need it.

What good coaching offers is an outside perspective on both time management and training load. You can get a lot done in a little bit of time provided you use your time wisely. A coach also takes some of the brain work out of planning workouts. Generally, I prefer riding my bike to fretting over when to schedule my peak. A coach will take care of that for you. A coach will also tell you when to put on the brakes and offer the reassurance that taking a break will not lead you to lose all the precious fitness you've gained.
 

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What are your goals? If you're a genetic monster and you're somewhat motivated and have some tactical skill (not all it's made out to be - the guys that win are usually the fast guys) you'll start winning or placing in races and moving up without need for much specialized training. Once you need it, you'll probably get it for free as part of a team. If your a stuck Cat 4 who just wants to be a Cat 3, good coaching can probably help. It's up to you if you want to spend the money.
 

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CTS is $40/mo, they pump out a generic schedule after you do a fitness test in your events. That's not too expensive and if the schedule feels light I can request an adjustment. I wanted coaching for a Tri and I am making much better progress than I would have on my own. I hadnt been coached since college x-c back in 87, so I have and continue to learn much.
Anytime I got a question on anything I log into the forums and get feedback from their coaches and other CTS athletes who may have had or have the same q.
I would like to move up the $100/mo but the wife shot that one down.
I am pretty happy with CTS.
Aloha,
WS
 

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I've done CTS coaching atleast a few times and had great results. This year I'm going it on my own because I just can't see spending the $100 bucks and I have a very good understanding of how to train and listen to my body. The thing a good coach can do is help you get results with alot less work. Under CTS, or any training program, you learn to ride easier in general with specific intervals for LT, Power, Sprints etc worked in. Most people before they know any better just get out on the bike and peddle as hard as they can until they fall off, then wonder why they are not improving.
 

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euro-trash said:
I run a small on-line coaching business, so you should know my bias coming into this discussion.

There is of course no 'right' answer. If you read Friel's book you probably have a pretty good starting point to create your own program. CTS and 53x12 offer diverse programs, some are very helpful, others are just generic programs. I question the benefit of the generic programs.

If you are new to really hard training, from my perspective, a coach can best serve you by having you take more days off. If you are good at listening to your body, then a coach may not be necessary. If you are prone to over-doing things, then a coach that is going to hold back the reins could be very valuable.

18 hours a week is quite a bit of volume, the one thing I would stress is make sure you don't over-train; get adequate amounts of rest.

Good Luck.

I've wondered if a coach may be most valuable to me in this sense because I often think I'm my own worst enemy in that I can't seem to help myself and too often I over-cook myself.
 

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Every little counts...
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Option 3: Talk to a local coach who can work personally with you. this may be the best option of them all.
 

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Personally, if you're going to spend that kind of money, I'd make sure to get a local coach -- not some internet correspondent. Friel's book definitely gives some good training pointers, and if you can stick with the program and put in the hours, most programs *will* help you improve. I attended a collegiate training camp, and the pros there -- Dede Barry, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, a Healthnet guy whose name I forget -- almost all said they started with Friel. There's a reason it's called the "bible".

Cheers,
Ari
 

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BS the DC
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18 hours a week sounds like a lot. What do you think you need from a coach?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Coaching Benefit

I have a fairly good understanding of training and designing workouts, however my year is set up completely opposite of most suggested training programs. I live in northern Indiana and I train primarily in southern Michigan. I'm just now starting to ride my bike outside. Most books suggest a base of approximately 12 - 14 weeks where you ride very long, but low intensity rides. The weather doesn't permit me to ride like this. I spend all of my time in the winter on the trainer. I'd go insane if I tried to ride the trainer five or six days a week for three hours at a time. Most of my rides are 1 to 1 1/2 hours on the trainer. Now that I'm riding outside I can increase the length of my rides. I'm a teacher which permits me an enormous amount of time to train. In fact, I have 9 days coming up for spring break. Also, I don't work from June 9th to August 29th, so I have all the time I want to spend on the road. However, this is the time of year where most books suggest much shorter rides, but performed at a high intensity. I love riding my bike, so that's what I like to do in the summer. I like riding my bike in the summer for 4, 5, or 6 hours, but that's not what I should be doing. To summarize, I should ride for a long time in the winter, but I only ride 1 to 1 1/2 hours. In the summer I should ride much shorter, but that's when I go on long rides.
 

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If your goal is to race, then I would say that everyone has to deal with the same weather conditions. During the winter, unless you live in the southwest everyone has to deal with the weather. You have to realize that you are getting faster and more fit by doing the long slow rides. I'm winging it this year, going completely off of feel like i said. If I go out for 3-3 1/2 hours i will ride the first 21/2-3 hrs at a pace I know I can finish strong at, then if i get to that last 45 minutes and I feel good i will ride a bit harder coming in. On my shorter weekday rides, i will alow myself to work into my LT range or do some type of interval. The key is just to stay patient. I also think that the more years of training you have in the quicker you get up to speed. I'm on my 5th year, and even though I took an extended period off I can get the legs back fairly quickly. If you can actually get 18 hours a week in, you need to be very careful about overtraining. Spend 90% of that time at 90% of LT, and the other 10% doing intervals. Setting up your interval schedule is where the training bible will come into play.
 
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