Jan 25 2012

Periodization Breakdown

Training for any kind of sport is goes a little bit further than going to the gym, doing a workout you see in Muscle and Fitness then running for an hour.  This will get you nowhere.  Sure it is better than doing nothing, but there is no structure.  If you have been reading my blog for a while, you have seen me talk about periodization.  This is the cycling of training priorities from non-sport specific activities of high volume and low intensity to sport specific activities of low volume and high intensity.  These cycle so you prevent overtraining, optimize performance and more importantly, peak when it counts.

Starting with the smallest cycle, a microcycle is only one to four weeks long.  Combining multiple microcycles together gives you a mesocycle.  This can last several weeks to several months.  The final culmination of all of the mesocycles results in the macrocycle.  This is typically an entire training year.

Let’s use Johnny Racer for an example.  Johnny just moved up from minis and plans race Loretta Lynn’s this year.  Last year, he did well at his area qualifier but had a bad regional qualifier.  It’s a new year and he just hopped on his 125.  However, he has a hard time controlling the bike at the end of the moto when it gets rough.  For the example’s sake, let’s say that the reason Johnny is getting so tired is because both his cardiovascular system and muscular system are not used to bigger bike.  He will need to increase his strength and work on his cardio.

Now let’s set a goal for little Racer: It’s almost February and Loretta’s is early August.  That gives us 7 months to work with.  Since it is early in Johnny’s training cycle, we will begin with higher volume, lower intensities.  Resistance training is light weight with 20 reps, only 2 sets and should be a total body workout.  With strength training, you want to give yourself at least 48 hours for recovery to avoid early burn out.  Some light cardio, or active recovery, for 30 minutes at 50%-60% of you max heart rate will help with soreness.    For cardiovascular work, you can keep the heart rate in the 60%-70% from 45 to 60 minutes 3 to 4 times per week.  For added recovery, you can throw a rest week in every 3 to 4 weeks where training is kept to a minimum.

By late March to early April, things can begin to get more intense.  However, with added intensity comes less volume.  Our resistance training set and rep rang shift as well as our cardiovascular work.  For strength work, we move to 3 sets, but drop down to only 10 reps.  You want to movements like a dead lift or squat for the first exercise then concentrate on lunges, pull ups, stability ball exercises and core work.  Just like the resistance training, cardio goes up in intensity significantly.  Our percentages would be 70%-80% and time is about 30 minutes after a warm up.

To wrap up the last 5 to 6 months, we move into more on sport specific training.  Our strength training sessions are high intensity with little volume.  You want to be fast as possible with reps as they should be in the range of 10 -12 reps and only 2 sets.  Cardiovascular training is high intensity as well.  You would shift from more of a longer, steady state to interval training.  Lower intensity bouts would be in zone 2 while the more intense bout would be in zone 4.  Recovery is king in this stage of the year.  You only need to be doing this strength training twice per week.  The same goes with the intervals.  Recovery rides in zone 1 are great for active rest.

This is a rough outline of what a training program would look like.  This is a general outline of what needs to be done, but the goals and weaknesses of each rider would determine the schedule.  Knowing where you want to be and what you need to work on will make the difference come race day.  Not having an idea of what you want to accomplish only leads to lack luster results.  Keeping a log of everything you do will help you determine goals and areas of strength and weakness.

Here are a few links for if need clarity on zones for interval training and finding your heart rate zones:

Zone Training Part 1

Zone Training Part 2


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