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How To Periodize Training: Periodization in Sports and Exercise

Updated on June 12, 2012

Periodization of Training- An Overview

Fitness is developed over time and training is a form of stress. Therefore if it is performed incorrectly over time it will tire an athlete, making them sick, injured and demotivated.

The key to periodisation of training is to organise specifically to balance the stress of training with adequate recovery.

To help achieve this it is best for an athlete to break their training year down into specific macrocycles to lead to increased performance through overcompensation.

1. Off Season/ Transition Period Macrocycle

2. Pre Season/ Preparatory Period Macrocycle

3. Competition Period/ In Season/ Race Season Macrocycle

The periodisation of training can help you to greater sports performance for sport and exercise

Active Rest and Relaxation

Active rest and relaxation during the Off Season/ Transition Period.
Active rest and relaxation during the Off Season/ Transition Period. | Source

Off Season/ Transition Period

The Off Season/ Transition Period gives athletes the opportunity to recover in body and mind from the stresses of competition

This period can often involve active rest and recovery activities and cross training to keep the body and mind active. Activities like downhill skiing during the winter provide a great cross training and psychological stress relief for athletes that compete throughout the summer months.

Pre Season/ Preparatory Period

This period of training is symbolised by a slow progressive build up in training volumes and intensities up from Off Season/ Transitional Period towards Competition Period / In Season Levels.

It often features two specific blocks of training

1. Base Training

2. Speed Training

Base training is predominantly low intensity endurance training whereas Speed Training phases in more performance specific elements such as intervals, sprints, and event trials with an element of base training.

Competition Phase

Good race performance is facilitated by periodization of training.
Good race performance is facilitated by periodization of training. | Source

Competition Period/ In Season/ Race Season

The Competition Period/ In Season/ Race Season is where fitness is consolidated through manipulation of base training and speed training to create peak performances for priority events

Low priority races and events help to 'tune the engine' in preparation for peak performance.

Through the periodization of training coaches and athletes can tailor training specifically to target particular events. This gives physical and mental goals for the athlete to achieve.


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