main article image

Upping Your Running Game With Periodization

Posted on 2017-03-20


Periodization sounds complicated - it’s not. It’s really just a fancy word for dividing up a training program. Periodization is the well respected and amply tested practice of dividing exercise training into phases. It developed as a response to Hans Seyle’s research which showed too much exercise at the wrong times leads to distress and complete exhaustion.

He noticed that staggering exercise periods could keep the body safe while still pushing the limits. Periodization was later used with great success in the 1960 Olympics and grew in popularity.

Utilizing Periodization In Your Training Schedule

The main principle is to divide a training program into various periods and balance them to help the body reach peak performance at competition time. It’s a crucial practice in high-level racing and can definitely take a dedicated runner to the next level. It works great for training on the treadmill or on the streets.

Here is one way periodization can divide training into three different types of cycles or terms.

The Macrocycle: One Year

A macrocycle is roughly a year-long term. This is the overall period that will be divided into other cycles and phases. A phase is a period that focuses on different goals, a cycle is just a period of time.Periodization sounds complicated - it’s not. It’s really just a fancy word for dividing up a training program. Periodization is the well respected and amply tested practice of dividing exercise training into phases. It developed as a response to Hans Seyle’s research which showed too much exercise at the wrong times leads to distress and complete exhaustion.

He noticed that staggering exercise periods could keep the body safe while still pushing the limits. Periodization was later used with great success in the 1960 Olympics and grew in popularity.

The Mesocycle: One Month

A mesocycle is usually about a month. It can vary from 2-6 weeks depending on the desired goal or program. A mesocycle should usually end with the end of a phase.

The Microcycle: One Week

A microcycle is typically a week. This makes it easy to keep track of the program and synchronize with a regular calendar.

Once a training program is divided into these cycles, it can then be divided into various phases. The phases should be designed to put the runner at peak performance for race time. Different trainers have different names and preferences for the phases, but usually they can be broken down into a basic three.

Preparation Phase - The preparation phase is typically the longest phase. It focuses on building a good base by increasing miles and adding some easy speed and strength work. It could be about 10 percent speed work and 15 percent strength work.

Competition Phase - This phase is designed to put the runner at peak performance for competitions. The focus here could be increasing speed and dropping overall miles depending on the type of upcoming race. It could include 60 percent endurance, 15 percent speed work, and 25 percent strength training. This could include long runs, tempo runs, and intense hill running. This phase should definitely be optimized for your race whether it be a long marathon or something more high intensity.

Transition Phase - The transition phase is essential and should not be ignored. It is necessary to avoid the exhaustion Seyle’s initially noticed. It is used to facilitate psychological rest, relaxation, and biological regeneration. This phase usually shouldn’t be too long and probably shouldn’t exceed 5 weeks. No competitions should take place during this phase. It is essential to get some rest before getting back into the preparation phase and preparing for the next season.

Sources:

www.unm.edu/
www.nordictrack.com