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Performance Cycling: Training for Power, Endurance, and Speed [Paperback]

David Morris
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £10.54 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

12 Jun 2003
From a U.S. Olympic coach, physiologist, and veteran cyclist comes "Performance Cycling" - the ideal training manual for the several million coaches, cyclists, and endurance athletes of all ages and abilities who want to rev up their RPMs and go for personal gold. With techniques utilized by national champions and Olympians, this unique, cutting-edge guide covers the proven ways to make any body perform for maximum endurance and toughness.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Ragged Mountain Press (12 Jun 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071410910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071410915
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 678,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"Dave Morris is an innovator in the world of cycling...His training methods are what's next to come in our sport." - Jonathan Retseck, U.S. National Team Member, 8x U.S. National Champion; "[he] helped me to win a silver medal in the points race at the world championships in 1996. I want everyone to know that he deserves much of the credit for my success." - Jane Quigley, 12-time national champion, 1996 National Champion Silver Medalist

From the Back Cover

"I want everyone to know that Dave Morris deserves much of the credit for my success." Jane Quigley, 18-time National Champion, 9-time World Champion Medalist, and 2-time Pan-American Games Gold Medalist

Raise your performance to the next level and beyond!

Your personal best is about to get much, much better. In Performance Cycling, David Morris provides you with the revolutionary training methods favored by elite cyclists around the world to maximize speed, strength, and endurance in preparation for major competitions.

This comprehensive program integrates the practical knowledge Morris gained as a physiologist for the U.S. Olympic Committee with the latest scientific research and findings in nutrition and the demands of competition. Whatever your age or current level of ability, this cutting-edge guide supplies cyclist-tested techniques for making your body stronger, faster, and tougher. You'll learn how to:
-Assess your abilities and set goals
-Establish a training schedule and plan workouts
-Integrate resistance training with aerobic training and maximum sustainable power output
-Increase your power during the competitive season
-Train for specific types of events
-Reach your performance peak on race day

Performance Cycling will help you discover just how strong your performance can be.

"Dave Morris is an innovator in the world of cycling. . . . His training methods are what's next to come in our sport." Jonathan Retseck, 8-time National Champion

"Because of Dave's years of experience and studies, this book will benefit anyone wanting to learn more about the newest cycling research." Mari Holden, 2000 Olympic Silver Medalist, 2000 World Champion, 6-time National Champion

"Dave has been coaching, racing, and riding for years, and really knows the ins and outs on why the body works the way it does." Alison Dunlap, 2001 Mountain Bike World Champion, 2-time Olympian

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Several complex, interrelated systems work together to enable a human body to function and survive. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Serious about improved performance. 2 Feb 2012
I purchased this book "Performance Cycling" some years ago and dismissed it to the back of the shelve. I thought it of little practical use after having only scanned through the initial chapters. The information appeared woolly, especially the diet section and the weight training chapter showed exotic gym equipment that was unavailable to me.

However I have reached a point in my cycling where my self designed training methods are no longer providing the power boost I am seeking. So in desperation I revisited this book and spent a lot more time in reading it. What a revelation.

Yes I still think the sections on how the body works and diet is of little help to me but the later chapters on block training, developing strength then converting this strength into power and endurance are excellent. There is sensible and intelligent information on why you should use different types of training and suggestions on how to fit these into a schedule that suits you. I have also realised that, with a bit of thought, it is possible to perform most of the weight training exercises without any of the exotic gym machines.

The technical information of bike position and aerodynamic effects are also good.

What I really appreciate is that there are no rigid and unreasoned training schedules that were worked out for someone totally unlike me so often provided in other books as something you must follow religiously .

I have only just started a training program based on this book so I still have my fingers crossed that it will be successful. However I can recommend this book for its sensible and considered guidance that can be adapted to training all levels of abilities.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I Like this book 10 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thought I would try something different this year so Im following the programme outlined in the latter stages of the book.
The book is a good no-nonsense summary of different training techniques and how the body adapts and recovers to compensate and improve.

The outlined programme is a little unconventional, it that gym based block training comes first before adding endurance aspects. The reasons for this are all clearly explained with references to modern research. It all sounds very sensible - the truth will be in my results later in the year. Putting the gym training at the beginning also helps when its not so nice to go out during the winter months. It does get a little counter intuitive when there is not so much time on the bike though and you need to be aware of the temptation to go out too hard on the bike during recovery days in early spring = overtraining.

Its dead easy to generate your own programme using the outlines in the book which are not full of confusing detail.
In order to give it all a fair trail, Im trying to follow this as close as possible and will report back later.
Im hoping/expecting some PB's

Ill report back later.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great framework training program 26 Jun 2003
By Ashwin Amanna - Published on Amazon.com
This is a review based on having the book and following the program in the book since November 2003.

Caveat: Everyone is individual, and one person's experience will differ from another. I've tried many different programs from Friel to every other magic bullet article in Bicycling Magzine and I'm pretty observant of my body and its reaction to training, so I think my experience with the program has some merit to it. Also, I fall underneath the category of -married, full time job, father of 2 small children, with little to no genetic predisposition to being a good athlete. So I'm looking for something with the best bang for the little amount of time I can devote to it. And this book and the training philosophies in it have worked very well for me.

The book is relatively small, and you have to wonder how much useful information is in there. But it is full of excellent nuggets of information. One thing I've found is that some concepts didn't sink in until seeing them for the 2nd or 3rd time. I don't think you get the full benefit from the book with just one quick reading.

In a nutshell, Morris provides a FRAMEWORK for a training program. His particular philosophies such as the Block training methods and focusing on intervals at set power outputs are what really set this book apart from anything else out there. This is not a book that is going to lay out your exact training plan for you.

The problem with this presentation is that there needs to be more help for a self coached athlete to develop a program. Friel takes this notion to the other extreme allowing readers to set up a program down to the hour. I tried Friel and found that it was just too much information and got bogged down in all the different rides, etc. Problem with the Morris book is that he is at the opposite extreme and doesn't present enough guidance.
Now in all fairness to Morris, what I'm asking for is really hard. This is the 'art of coaching'. Everyone is different. Each individual is going to have different goals, amount of time available, events they want to do, different reactions to stress and rest, etc... He could provide some specific examples, but what everyone will do is just copy the example which could prove more harm than good. But it would have been nice to see an entire year program shown in a calendar format. To use as a model for the self coached athlete to tailor their own program. He does provide some examples based on different cycling disciplines, but it leaves you wanting more.

The reality is that 99% of the people who buy books like this are NOT going to get a coach for one reason or another. I think the one reviewer who feels that the book is just an advertisement for coaching services didn't try very hard to understand the book, but without more guidance for the self coached athlete many won't take the time to get the most out of this book and this program. Mr. Morris is a PhD graduate student and I highly doubt he wants to create a coaching empire to compete with the Charmichael's of the world. With the huge increase in available coaching, especially online, his chapter on coaching provides some good guidelines for prospective clients to filter the multitude of coaching services out there.

There are some parts of the book where more explanation is needed.

For example, Morris talks about using power as a quantitative measure of your training. The problem is that and SRM, Power Tap, or Computrainer may be out of reach of many. He should discuss what products are currently available and provide some comparisons. There should be more detail presented on alternative ways to quantify training. Such as riding at a set speed on a constant grade, using the power curves that most standard trainers have combined with a cycle computer with a rear wheel sensor, or using perceived exertion. You DO NOT need an ergo trainer or a power meter to use this framework.

When discussing the different intervals, he provides ranges for duration, and intensity. These are pretty wide and more detail needs to be presented. For example, A SMSP interval is defined as 1-6 minutes at 105%+ of your sustainable power or heart rate. I wish there he'd break it down a little more such as 1min at x%, 2min at y%, 3min at z%, etc. Same goes for the other types of interval. Also there needs to be some guidance for TOTAL WORK during an interval session. Such as if your doing 3 hr mtn bike races, shoot for total work of 25mins of ON at the beginning of a block and progressing to 35mins ON.

The strength training section is pretty confusing. It took several times reading through it and putting the program into a spreadsheet to make sense. But once I did that it turned out to be really straightforward to follow. After following the strength training program for this season, and comparing it to others I've tried, I really like it. It is pretty intense, but is completed in a relatively short time period. In and out and then back on the bike. Like other cycling specific strength programs, this one focuses on taking weight room strength and turning it into cycling specific strength.

One area where the program seems unique is in the prescription for sprinting and leadout intervals during the endurance phase of riding. This is so the rider does not lose all the strength gains made in the weight room during a month or more of LSD riding.

One thing missing is the progression in the training over time, Meaning, how to increase the overall work throughout the season. As you work, then rest, work, rest... you should be able to increase the difficulty of training. In the weight training section is it easy to see how the difficulty increases between week 1 and week 2 of the strength period for example. But I wish he'd discuss more how to develop your own training program and increase the difficulty (varying the time and intensity) as time goes on. I guess you can do part of that yourself by retesting your sustainable power (which your training intensity is based on) every month. It should get higher as you train, so then the training would get harder too?

He does provide several example programs based on different disciplines. I just think there needs to be more details for helping a self coached athlete take the frame work and create his own program. For example, how to change the framework for a sport class mountain bike racer vs vet expert.

In conclusion, I think the book is very unique compared to what else is out there, and the concepts have worked very well for me. I constantly refer to it, have bookmarks everywhere and get more from it every time I glance at it. Just keep in mind that this is not a cookie cutter book, and you'll need to put your own work into it to come up with a training plan.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All I can say is that the program worked for me...with some modification. 6 Jun 2006
By Lex - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was a gift from my wife for Christmas 2003. I had signed up to go to the Tour de France in July with a Aussie tour group. I had heard from others from previous trips the daily rides of 70 to 120 miles always had an ultra-competitive group of Cat 1 and 2 riders. My goal was to time trial Alpe d'Huez and be able to hammer up some of the steeper climbs with the really good riders and ride 1100 miles in 10 days. When I received this book I had been doing triathlons for about four years...after cycling on and off since college. My old routine was go long on the weekends and during the work week to do a day of intervals with a day off followed by a 2 hour tempo ride followed by another day off.

This author advocates doing a big block of intensity followed by several days off which was different for me.

I did his program for the "stage race rider" and blocked high intensity days on Thu and Fri followed by a long 6 to 8 hour ride (much longer than he had in his program) on Saturday and then another 3 hours on Sunday at easy pace. Mon-Wed were off days or easy spinning.

At first this was very difficult! The very first weekend, I felt wiped out by Sunday (after 4 hard days in a row) but took three days off the bike and on the next thursday I felt really strong. I repeated the program the next week...same feeling by Sunday..kind of wiped out and wondering if I was going to burn out (which is a concern with this program)...three days of easy spinning followed. Well, on Thursday (two and half weeks into program) I was a animal on my interval ride. Holding 29 mph for about 4 minutes before poopin out. I didn't have a power meter running but it was on the flats with no wind. Some guys can do that for an hour - I'm not one of them. But before this program I couldn't come close to doing that. So I started to see results after a few weeks.

By the time the Tour de France came around I was as strong as I've ever been on a bike. Being a Cat 5 rider I was now doing training rides with Cat 3's and they were telling me "wow, you're really hammering today...way to keep up with us." I could never keep up with this group in years past.

Why the success? Two things. I think the back to back intensity that the author advocates is KEY and ONLY if you allow enough rest after. I would almost always bounce back from my three off days with increased power. The second thing is the modification to my weekend rides. I agree with some of the reviewers that the mileage can seem scant compared to previous training (I was doing about 800 miles per month before this book). What I did is shorten my weekday workouts per the author's program...but kept some really long LSD rides on the weekend. So I would be riding for only 1.5 hours on Thu and another 1.5 hours on Friday followed by a 120 mile hilly 8 hour ride on Sunday (thanks to my wife for the hall pass!) and another three hours on Sunday. That single Saturday LSD ride built up a lot of endurance for me that seemed to last. I rode 100 miles almost every day for 10 days in France without problem....and felt amazing time trialing up Alpe d'Huez. That summer was the best cycling shape I've ever been in and I had so much power compared to previous years.
28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rock hard abs in three minutes a day... 23 Feb 2004
By K. Mills - Published on Amazon.com
I consider exercise physiology to be a science in constant flux and am always interested in people bucking the all-powerful conventional wisdom in favor of something new. Having said that, this book didn't quite convince me.
It starts with an incredibly academic discussion of general physiology that actually includes diagrams of chemical reactions. I'd recommend skimming over this-you won't need it. The rest of the book tends to favor vague generalities to scientific explanation.
In an nutshell, Morris's book puts forth the following: Maximum sustainable power output is the most important thing in cycling (no argument here), power measurement is much more objective than heart rate (couldn't agree more, as long as you have the $1,200-$3,000 it costs to measure it) and strength training protocols can be adapted to cycling (now we may be getting a little far out.)
First, be aware that this book is all about power. In order to use it properly, you'll need to buy a Powertap, SRM or CompuTrainer and go to a lab for a lactate threshold test. Morris does give an LT test you can do on a regular trainer, but it's almost an afterthought. I tried it (on a CompuTrainer no less) and came up with numbers that made no sense at all based on my known power output and average HR during a TT. All Morris's workouts are based on (essentially) a percentage of your LT power-so you have to get it right to follow his program.
Having said that, do I really believe that he (or anyone else) really knows what percentage of LT power produces the most significant training effect? Morris, for instance, suggests that LT intensity efforts produce a "much greater" response than LSD workouts. How much greater? Based on what study? If it's twice as great, then would I be better off doing a 3 hour LSD ride than burning myself out in a 1 hour TT? And do short, intense efforts provide training stimulus for slow-twitch fibers? All this is left to your imagination. The truth is that unless a mad scientist traps 1,000 racers on a desert island and forces them to ride trainers while jabbing them with biopsy needles and arterial catheters, we just don't really know for sure. Heck, there's still debate about heart rate zones, and HRMs have been around for years.

The main `revolution' here is Morris's suggestion that multiple days of high intensity intervals followed by multiple days of rest will create a greater training response than the less frequent interval sessions most endurance athletes are used to. This is not a new idea-I've been using this kind of program (to great effect) for rock climbing for almost a decade. The question (never broached in any meaningful way by the author) is whether endurance can be trained the same way as strength. Morris's entire theory seems to come from an accidental result in a small-sample study relating to overtraining. As is typical in this book, there are no specifics given-just that the subjects showed "remarkable improvement." How remarkable, remarkable in what way, or remarkable compared to what, is again left to your imagination.
This vagueness is amplified in the section on weight lifting, which he considers (laughably IMHO) the one exception to the rule of specificity. No discussion of why. No mention of the numerous studies contradicting this position. Nada on the fact that the adaptations for strength (hypertrophy/motor unit recruitment) are very different and sometimes mutually exclusive to those necessary for endurance. And zippo on the fact that even sprinters like Mario C. admit to having weight training programs less rigorous than my Mom's. All we get is his admonishment that lifting is "very important" and three months should be devoted to it. Oh, a piece of advice. Don't try to do a one rep max squat as he suggests. You'll kill yourself.
The scheduling section of this book includes sample training blocks for different types of riders, as well as an example rest week. The workouts are very high intensity (following a 3-week aerobic base period. That's not a typo-1/4 of the time you just spent lifting) and are designed more for training than winning-i.e. he has you doing two days of intervals back-to-back before a race. If you are looking more for trophies than long-term improvement, you'll have to do some tinkering. There is essentially nothing on periodization from the standpoint of advice on how to design peaks.
When I look at Morris's schedules, I remember my old-school mountain biking days. Essentially, lift like crazy all winter, do some riding on the road in the spring while the trails dry out, then race on weekends and squeeze in a couple of short high-intensity days during the work week. The problem is that I don't remember it working all that well. Eventually, we were all forced to drift to road bikes and huge mileage to stay competitive.
I don't mean to sound completely negative here. There are some interesting ideas in the book. The back to back intensity days with a corresponding number of days off might be worth trying. Also, I liked the idea of doing muscle endurance intervals after an LSD ride. And, obviously, the obsession with power output is right. Overall, though, this book had more the feeling of thinking out loud than a defensible program. It would be nice, though, wouldn't it? Based on the incredibly low volume proposed, you could have a full time job and still win the TdF. So buy the book, ask your boss for three weeks off in July, and get to work.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A training program that makes sense. 4 Aug 2004
By R. Reviewer - Published on Amazon.com
I found this book very directly and succinctly taught me what I need to know to become a better cyclist. The concepts that David Morris uses in this book should increase your understanding of what it takes to be a stronger, faster cyclist -and isn't that the reason why a bike racer or a wanna-be racer buys this kind of book?

The training program in this book is fairly straightforward and easy to understand. The program does not involve too many training cycles with a lot of different goals to reach within those cycles. The program Morris outlines is succinct and based on what I see as a logical goal. That means that knowing what you are going to do today and next week in the gym, on a trainer or on your bike is relatively easy to keep in mind. The actual schedule of work involved is hard to very hard but as the author states you adapt his program to meet your own requirements and because of its relative simplicity that is not too difficult to do.

I recommend this book for those cyclists who are seeking a practical training program to become a more powerful cyclist.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not easy to read 6 Sep 2008
By Bilbo - Published on Amazon.com
I am married, with kids and fulltime job and compete in Masters road cycling - so time efficient training is what I want. I had discovered this book by searching google and following ashwin's blog - finally the book was reprinted and I got a copy - I am a little disappointed in it, I feel the theory of hi intensity training is covered better in both Arnie Bakers 'Hi-intensity cycling' and in Michael Ross's 'Maximum performance for cyclists' - the Ross book has copped some negative comments, and for me his recommended workouts were simply too hard, but it gives the groundwork for time efficient training - both those books I found more useful than Morris's.
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