Periodization is defined by USA Track & Field
as “The process of planning training in order to produce high
levels of performance at designated times. There are three major
concepts associated with the process of periodization:
1. Periodization and Planning. Planning is perhaps the most important
step in insuring the effectiveness of the training program. Planning
enables control of training variables and parameters in a manner
that guarantees the best chance for success.
2. Periodization and Record Keeping. Record keeping is another crucial
part of the periodization process. This enables monitoring of training
loads accurately, and modification of training from season to season
and year to year.
3. Periodization and Peaking. Peaking refers to designing training
so that the best performances come at the most crucial competitions.”
When establishing a training year it is necessary to identify the
most important competitions of the season and the peak requirements
of you, the athlete. Reverse-engineering your season (or working
backwards from the end of the season to the beginning) allows you
to arrange periods, mesocycles, microcycles, and sessions using
peak requirements as the season-end goal. So, to plan your season
you need to understand the above terms. A session would make up
what you are doing for a given training session or practice. A microcycle
is usually based on a given week, or a 7-10 day cycle of training.
A mesocycle is most commonly a 4 week cycle of training composed
of 3 to 4 microcycles. A period is divided into one of several categories:
Off-season or General Prep, Pre-season or Specific Prep, Early-season
or Precompetition, and Late-season or Competiton & Peaking,
and can contain multiple mesocycles.
Plan your season by targeting your important competitions to coincide
with your athletic peak. The advice of an experienced coach can
go a long way here, as planning so far in advance requires the understanding
of how all training and regeneration factors interplay within a
season and given sport. Each training period should build on the
previous period, and each mesocycle should build on the previous
mesocycle. Within each microcycle and training session there is
a need for training variance to allow for adequate regeneration.
An example of an established method for planning a mesocycle (or
training month) would be placing the training load for the 4 microcycles
(or training weeks) at 1.High – 2.Medium – 3.Very High
– 4.Low. This would allow for a reduction in training load
in week 4 (to deepen regeneration) and a return to a higher level
of sport fitness in the following micro- and mesocycle.
Use of this Manual – specifically of the Training Log –
will allow analysis of your periodized plan both during and after
your season to help eliminate overtraining, undertraining, and inconsistent
performances. There are no textbook answers for solving all of the
variances and problems that arise in training, but access to past
performances along with a detailed training log will go a long way
in determining your course in the future.
Timing peak athletic condition to coincide with the most important
competitions can be difficult. It is precisely this reason that
the Training Log and all its detail follows – to give you
the complete set of tools to achieve peak performance when the most
important competitions are at hand. Use the Training Log at the
very least during your peaking phase, in order to understand and
document how all of your previous training and regeneration efforts
influenced your most important competitions.