Webinar: Using Periodization to Set up Your Season

Thursday, September 25, 2014 | By Jeff Boelé
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Periodization is knowing how to divide your season to achieve a particular level of fitness at a desired point in time. In this webinar, Coach Jeff Boele details the process behind periodization and outlines the principle you should follow to be at your peak fitness at the right time.

Coach Boele also took the time to share some thoughts he had after the webinar. Here are more details on how periodization can be applied to specific instances.

I appreciated the questions; it’s always good to be presented with opportunities to explain theories and training practices. That said, the answers I gave were almost as broad as the concepts covered. To a certain degree, that has to be the case. Laying out foundational concepts is integral to applying training theories to individual athletes. I had a professor in college tell me, “Before you bend or break the rules, you need to know the rules.” In this case, the “rules” are the basic principles of periodization. Once those ideas are understood, it then becomes possible to manipulate the principles to meet the real needs of athletes. Here are a few potential cases where adapting the methods of periodization can be beneficial.

  1. An athlete with a higher training age may not need to spend as much time in a General Preparation (Base) period. The General Prep period is often characterized by less specific work. This period can also be utilized to gain foundational training elements. Athletes with higher training ages could have years’ worth of this type of work. So progressing toward more specific work sooner in the Macrocycle may be appropriate.
  2. Conversely, an athlete with a low training age may benefit having a longer General Prep period. The foundational training elements of the General period may be more appropriate for long term development. More time doing general training and less time doing specific training may yield similar results with less injury risk.
  3. An athlete that loses focus quickly may benefit from a longer Pre-Competition period and a shorter Specific (Build) period. Planning multiple races during the Pre-Comp period can offer several focal points to keep training progressing towards the key race that will happen in the competition period.
  4. Another potential method for athlete #3 would be to set up very short Macrocycles. Train for a key race every 7-8 weeks. Yes, I did just say 7-8 week Macrocycles. While this may not allow for maximum physiological benefits over the course of the training block or even be the best for long term development, it would provide nearly constant change. Always offering something relatively new may be the best strategy for reaching goals. I understand that this last example is somewhat extreme and very easy to argue against. But the point is that different athletes require different approaches to reach their goals. Sometimes those methods don’t match up with the best theoretical practice.

Bottom line, like most things in the world of coaching and competing, individual considerations must be made. It is our duty as coaches and athletes to test the methods and theories and find what yields the best results. There are many roads to Rome.

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