Periodization is the process of dividing an annual training plan into specific time blocks (phases).
How does it work?
Each time block (phase) has a particular goal and provides your body with different types of stress.
Periodized Training works on the concept of overload and adaptation; by stressing the body over time, allowing it to recover, and then stressing it again, athletes can gradually build fitness.
This allows you to create some hard training periods and some easier periods to facilitate recovery. Periodization also helps you develop different physiological abilities during various phases of training.
- During the base training phase, you focus on the development of aerobic and muscular endurance.
- During the intensity phase, the focus switches to lactate threshold and aerobic capacity.
- During the competition phase, greater emphasis is placed on boosting anaerobic capacity and neuromuscular power.
- During the transition phase, focus is on the psychological part, a year dedicating time towards your main event means some time off.
Periodization is the best way to promote the training effect, which consists of changes in your cardiopulmonary and musculoskeletal systems that result in greater speed and endurance.
To develop an effective training program, it is important to understand the foundation of periodization. This foundation consists of three cycles: macrocycles, mesocycles and microcycles.
The macrocycle is the longest of the three cycles and includes all stages of a periodized training program.
Because macrocycles incorporate all weeks of your annual plan, they provide you with a bird’s-eye view of your training regimen and allow you to facilitate long-range planning.
Choose which event you want to peak, mark that date and work backward to create a program that allows you to peak at that time.
You can use the same process to identify several major events and develop a plan that facilitates multiple fitness peaks.
Because of its length, you will always make changes to your macrocycle as you train your way through it.
The mesocycle represents a specific block of training that is designed to accomplish a particular goal.
This mesocycle usually takes 3-4 weeks of microcycles with building-up workouts followed by one week of tapering / recovery (which is also a microcycle).
A microcycle is the shortest training cycle, typically lasting a week with the goal of facilitating a focused block of training.
The number of workouts can vary from 2-10, depending of the type of workouts, which phase you are in and your fitness level.
Why is it important?
- With proper use of periodization, you can maximize your gains while reducing your risk of injury and overtraining. It also helps to keep your training fun and fresh.
- Periodization works hand-in-hand with progressive overload. Planned progressive overload is essential for gaining fitness. You can manage fatigue and continue to make progress toward your goal by breaking your training into phases and altering intensity & volume.
- It is not possible to maintain peak form all year round so periodization is vital. It will allow you to time peak performance for competition and your main event particularly.
- No matter what your goal is, breaking down everything into manageable steps and using a trainingplan will always produce the best results. Small steps are the best way to reach big goals, and that’s what periodization is all about.
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