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Periodization

Hello all and welcome to this weeks blog.


In this week’s blog I want to discuss periodization. An athlete and coach should apply the fundamental principles of periodization so that the athlete arrives at the competition in the best possible condition ready to perform your best.


Training plans are individual and always in fitness there are many different approaches to training, however the underlying principles of periodization are commonly practiced.

The main areas that will affect your performance are:

  • How, when and what you train,

  • How, when and what you eat,

  • How much you sleep

  • How other life demands effect you

Each of the above will effect each athlete differently. Everyone has their own level of tolerance therefore when it comes to training, a lot relies on athletes self-awareness and the coaches understanding, and this comes from practice and experience.

In today’s blog I run through the principles of periodization.


What is Periodization?

Periodization is a systematic training plan that is created so that the best possible performance / result is achieved at the right time.


The training year is called the Macro Cycle and is normally broken up into meso cycles called preparation, competition, taper and transition. Again, this can vary from book to book, but ultimately the same.


Each Meso cycle will have a separate focus (micro cycles) so that by the competition time the athletes are primed. These cycles will enable the athlete to develop, peak and recover throughout the year.


Cycles within the year

• Macrocycle – the whole year / time

• Meso Cycle – Blocks of work- These usually include a three- to five-week period of progressive loading, followed by a week of lighter, active-recovery workouts. Each mesocycle will typically be focused on a specific fitness goal, like endurance, neuromuscular power, sprinting, etc.

• Micro Cycles – Blocks within the meso- cycle normally 7 days (could be a deload week in a Meso cycle)


The Phases


The Preparation phase is the longest phase most commonly 2/3 of the macro cycle and can be broken up in General and Specific Preparation 50/50%

General Preparation

• Building an aerobic base all the Zone 2 with some Zone 3.

• Strength work to supplement training

• Skill development in each discipline

Specific Preparation/ Pre-competition-

• Continue to building an aerobic base all the Zone 2 with more Zone 3 interval type work.

• Strength / Power work to supplement training

• Skill development where needed

•  A shift to more performance training and coaching efficiency and placing the athlete in as close to competition scenarios.


The Competition Phase

• Intense Threshold interval type work Zone 3-4.

• Maintenance strength work to supplement training

•  A shift to more performance training and coaching efficiency and placing the athlete in as close to competition scenarios.

• It is key that toward the end of the cycle there is enough tapering time so that the athlete is not overly fatigued going into competition.


Taper

A taper involves a gradual reduction in training volume and intensity approximately 1-3 weeks before a race depending on the distance. This allows your body to fully recover and will set you up for the best success possible on race day.


The Transition Phase

This phase takes place after the competition and its aims are to recover/ recuperate the body and mind after competition. Therefore, the training will be less intense/ taxing. However, training should still occur. The aim to prevent reversibility of gains made, maintain strength, cardiovascular fitness, skills and injury prevention where the body will experience less stress.


Using a periodized approach is more likely to result in a successful race. Without a plan, no structure and randomly training I can categorically say you are not going to do yourself justice in the race…..



I hope you enjoyed this blog and until next week stay healthy.

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