Periodization: Some basic principles

To understand ‘periodization theory’ it is important to understand the training principles that form the basis of the theory.

Principle of specificity

A training program will progress from ‘general training’ to ‘specific training’ throughout the year. For example, an athlete may want to develop greater cycling strength. Early in the season they might use a weight training program to develop leg strength (general training). Later in the season they might spend more time cycling on hilly terrain while simulating race intensities and less time working with weights (specific training).

Principle of individuality

A training program will emphasise the unique needs of the athlete. For example, one athlete might possess great aerobic endurance but lack speed. Another athlete might possess great speed but lack aerobic endurance. Neither will reach their full potential if they follow the same training program.

Principle of reversibility

Workouts within a training program are arranged in such a way that elements of fitness achieved in an earlier phase of training are maintained throughout the season. For example, aerobic endurance training may make up a large proportion of the early season training program. In order to maintain your aerobic endurance throughout the season, as you introduce other types of training e.g. speed work, your training program will always have an aerobic endurance component to it although it may make up a smaller proportion of it.

Principle of progressive overload

In order for fitness to improve the body must be given new challenges to stimulate physiological changes that will result in improved fitness. For example, if you perform 15x100m freestyle at the same pace with the same rest period all of the time you are unlikely to get any faster over 1500m. However if over a number of weeks you gradually increase your pace during each interval or decrease your rest periods between intervals you will provide your body with a new physiological challenge that is more likely to result in a faster 1500m time.

Reference: The Triathlete’s Training Bible 3rd Edition by Joel Friel.

Capiche? See you this Sunday…finally! Tim (LFTC Coach)