If I could do one thing when I meet a new cyclist, it would be to impress upon them the need to rest when training. In fact a new cyclist needs to rest much more than an experienced cyclist. Their body has not even learned how to train yet. Your first year (maybe 2) of serious cycling, your simply training so you actually have the fitness to train hard. There are [very bad things][bad] that can happen when you overtrain.
> Palmer took a break from exercise on Thursday, but the next morning he went for a long bike ride. The following day his arms were uncharacteristically sore and swollen, his urine the color of black tea that had been seeping for hours. Instead of suiting up in workout gear on Sunday, he found himself in a hospital gown hooked up to an IV drip that flushed his kidneys with more than nine liters of saline.
The above quote is from an article on the Cross-fit phenomenon. I certainly don’t think that Cross-fit in and of itself is a bad exercise routine. The article sums up to say that so many people are getting in to it and so many trainers are learning to teach Cross-fit that it’s hard to find a really experienced trainer.
Add to that the fact that, as with any fad, so many people are getting in to it that are not athletes. These people don’t know the difference between training hard and injury, it all just hurts.
If I can recommend 1 book for any beginner cyclist it’s the [Cyclist’s Training Bible][bible]. It’s a big read but you’re going to learn so much about how to train properly and get fit/fast that it’s totally worth it. Don’t worry if you don’t get it through it first time, it took me 3 tries to read it and 4 to really understand it. Despite that, I learned more about how to train properly every time.
[bad]: http://www.livestrong.com/article/545200-the-fall-of-fitness/ “The Controversy Behind Crossfit”
[bible]: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1934030201/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=strugwithfait-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1934030201 “Cyclist Training Bible – Amazon”