Choosing Your Periodization Schedule
As you divide your training year into phases, you also need to consider how to chunk your training within those phases. Here, it is necessary to revisit the terminology associated with periodization introduced at the end of chapter 2.
Recall that a macrocycle encompasses your training year as a whole. For the purpose of illustration, let’s consider the 15 week training plan in table 4-1 as this athlete’s macrocycle.
|4||Base 1 (recovery)||Local 10K||C|
|8||Base 2 (recovery)|
|12||Build (recovery)||Dip N’ Dash||B|
The next step is to divide those 15 weeks (the macrocycle) into intermediate training periods (or mesocycles). From one perspective, these mesocycles could simply refer to the general phases discussed earlier (base, build, and peak). However, it is helpful to chunk training into distinct blocks that provide a few weeks of increasing volume and/or intensity followed by a recovery week. For example, a four week block of training, or mesocycle, may involve three weeks (each week is a microcycle) of increasing volume and/or intensity followed by one week dedicated to recovery. This is known as a 3-up/1-down periodization pattern.
The recovery week builds extra time into the schedule to allow the athlete to absorb the previous training. Keep in mind this is not a week off from training, but merely a week (or partial week) with reduced volume and intensity to give the body a chance to rebuild stronger than before (recall that fitness gains occur during recovery not actual training!). The built-in recovery time ensures that positive adaptations (rather than negative adaptations that lead to injury) are achieved with the training.
Another option for a periodization schedule is a 2-up/1-down pattern, which involves two weeks of increasing volume and/or intensity followed by one week with extra recovery built in. The 2-up/1-down pattern works well for athletes new to training, athletes prone to injury, and older athletes.
Do you need to schedule an entire recovery week at the end of each of these mesocycles? Maybe not. Advanced athletes and younger athletes are often able to get away with simply scheduling a few extra recovery days. But athletes new to training and those prone to injury and overtraining generally benefit from scheduling a full recovery week.
Assess your own background and situation to decide how to periodize your training. The possibilities are certainly not limited to the 3-up/1-down or 2-up/1-down schedules discussed here. But if you cannot match the quality of the training prescribed in a new mesocycle; then you may not be adequately recovered from the previous mesocycle. This is a clear sign that you need to pay more attention to recovery and reduce volume/intensity during scheduled down weeks. The periodization pattern you ultimately choose should be based on your background, current fitness level, goals, and response to training.
The example of the 15 week training plan seen above in table 4-1 uses a 3-up/1-down pattern. This chunks the training into two base training blocks, one build block, and a final peak block of three weeks. Note that the lesser priority races fall at the end of recovery weeks. This strategy allows the athlete to recover a bit from previous training and use the races to test fitness gains. Likewise, if the athlete didn’t have races scheduled at the end of these down weeks, benchmark tests could alternatively be scheduled into the training plan.
TRAINING GUIDE CONTENTS
– Train with a Purpose
– The ABCs of Systematic Training
– The R&R of Training
– Begin with the End in Mind
2. Exercise Science Concepts
– Overreaching and Overtraining
– Energy Systems
– Aerobic Capacity
– Lactate Threshold
– Aerobic Threshold
– Muscle Fiber Types
3. Monitor Your Training Intensity
– What is Training Intensity?
– Key Indicators of Intensity
– Using Training Zones
– Training by Feel, or Perceived Exertion
– Training with Pace
– Training with Heart Rate
– Running with Power
4. Create Your Training Plan
– Prioritizing Your Events
– Overview of the Training Phases
– Choosing Your Periodization Schedule
– Filling in the Details of the Overall Plan
5. Create Your Weekly Workouts
– Creating Weekly Schedules
– Establishing and Developing Your Base
– Building Upon Your Base
– Peaking for Your Target Event
– Race Week and Race Day Warmup
6. Functional Strength
7. Recovery and Nutrition
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