It is that time of the year, our favorite time of the year! No, not hunting season… event selection season! You have come up with so many different ideas and narrowed it down to high A and B priority races and maybe a training event here and there. Your training is about to get into full swing, and that means it’s time to consider periodization. As athletes, you may have never heard of a periodized training plan.
Many times we hear about the more common phases of training.
Transition – During this time period, many athletes take time off of their main sport(s), shift focus or even take time completely off from exercising. This break can last anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months but is helpful in regenerating excitement to train, pick the direction of the next training block and even allow many to catch up on the things that were neglected around the house while hours of training were being logged in the evenings and on weekends.
Build/Intensity – Dependent upon the time available from training inception to event date, this could be broken down into two separate categories or could be lumped into one portion. This is where volume and/or intensity will increase to improve your fitness and strengthen your weak spots.
Taper – The taper period can be as few as several days or many weeks. An athlete’s training load decreases during this time to allow for optimal freshness and peak performance come event day.
Race – It’s show time! Need we say more?
The less often discussed phases are the cycles of training and they include the microcycle, macrocycle and mesocycle. These cycles break your training down into small portions to better specify and customize your goals.
A microcycle can be as short as a day or workout or as long as a week. Each of these workouts or training weeks have their own specific goal or outcome that might change (within reason) from one day to the next.
A macrocycle is created from multiple microcycles. Think weeks of training (micro) considered over the period of a month or the entirety of your training (macro). Each of the individual workouts might be different, but the accumulation of the microcycles is striving to meet one common goal.
A mesocycle is the big, big picture. Mesocycle is the largest phase of training and is typically a minimum of a year. These are comprised of many macrocycles and might lead up to one key event or have several events in the time period where the shift or focus of the Mesocycles changes.
This style of training can help you see beyond just one event, and consider how your training throughout the year will help you reach your goals in the year (or years) to come. Many of the training plans you might find from a quick Google search will show you just stock meso and macro cycles. Investing in coaching can help you make a truly custom plan that considers the mesocycle too, designed by a coach who wants to help you achieve your goals well into the future.
Skip printing out that freebie plan for that one event — have a free consultation with one of our coaches to learn how you can keep achieving for many events and mesocycles to come!