An Introduction to Periodisation
Runners Training Cycles.
To really enjoy your running you need to have a planned structure in place. This article sets out the basics of Periodisation with more in depth articles to follow.
A training cycle consists of 3 phases:
SHOCK: this usually lasts for 1 - 2 weeks during the beginning of training. It is characterised by sore and stiff muscles.
ADAPTION: is the next phase which is when your body adapts to the new stimulus which creates an increase in performance. The higher your fitness levels, the less time it will take for your body to adapt. This phase could last 2 - 8 weeks.
STALENESS: this will occur in the final phase. You will feel overworked, and your performance will begin to plateau and decline. This is the result of over training. This phase is the reason that PERIODISATION was set up; to avoid overtraining.
PERIODISATION is the breakdown of a training programme into blocks of time in which the emphasis is placed on gradual progression of specificity, intensity and training volume to achieve peak performance.
You should become familiar with these cycles when creating your training programmes or indeed when using someone else's programme.
A MACROCYCLE is the full training period. In many training programmes this could be of considerable length directed towards the goal of peaking at maximum performance.
The Macrocycle is comprised of MESOCYCLES which each have specific development objectives.
The Mesocycle consists of at least one MICROCYCLE which is the shortest period of usually 1 - 2 weeks. The duration of these cycles are goal driven and relative to the amount of time prior to a specific race.
Periodisation should include the following phases:
- Base Building Phase - build strength and endurance; a solid fitness base.
- Transitional Phase - increase intensity, speed and / or volume.
- Specificity Phase - focus on technique and sport specificity.
- Competition Phase - "peaking" phase.
- Recovery and Active Rest Phase - taking appropriate time off to recover.
In order to continue improving your fitness level and performance your body needs to be stressed at the appropriate levels. As you body adapts and becomes more fit, the level of difficulty needs to be increased.
FITT is a good acronym to know, which stands for:
- Frequency of exercise.
- Intensity of exercise.
- Time taken for exercise.
- Type of exercise.
There are many variables that can be adjusted to increase the difficulty. FITT covers the majot variables of a training programme. Be certain to increase the difficulty of 1 variable at a time.
It is important to first set goals and keep that overall objective in mind when creating a training programme.