The largest component to any training plan is understanding how to structure your season. Throughout the year, you should have a different training focus which consist of macrocycles and microcycles. The macrocycles are preparation, base, build, peak, and transition. The microcycles are going to revolve around intensity or recovery periods. In order to maximize your odds of peaking at the right time, we recommend properly designing a year long training plan.
For athletes that need to be in peak form for prolonged periods of time, it’s important to focus on the microcycles within the peak phase. Due to the body breaking down and requiring time to recover, athletes cannot maintain a peak for extended durations. This is why you may see pro athletes peak for early season events, and not again until later in the year. One example of this in a day-to-day setting is how NBA organizations have started a “load management” initiative for their players. By allowing the body to recover within microcycles, you can get more performance when needed.
While macro and microcycles are the focus of this article, there is also something known as a mesocycle. Initially, this phase was a prolonged period of intensity (longer than a microcycle), followed by a recovery phase. While this is still used by some, the advent of training load and fatigue monitoring has reduced the use of structured mesocycles. Rather, multiple microcycles now allow a coach to properly overload an athlete, and initiate recovery when needed.
Let’s take a look at how a triathlete preparing for an August national championship may design a training plan.
Athletes Utilizing EvoLab to Monitor Their Builds and Peaks
The graphics show a COROS user preparing for the Bandera 100k. The first photo from August 2020 to January (race day) 2021 shows a base training load followed by a build with microcycles of recovery mixed in. They reached their peak in December-January which you can see from the second photo. This athlete built their volume in peak season to ensure they were ready to handle the demands of the event. By utilizing microcycles within macrocycles, the users training load and fitness were at their best in peak season.
The above shows another COROS user preparing for an October marathon. From their data, you can see they were in base training through May. They then started their build phase which includes days of overloading and days of recovery (microcycles). They are nearing their peak form now as they enter into the final phase of their season.
As noted, training load and fatigue metrics have made life easier for athletes and coaches alike. When mixing periodization principles with individualized data, you can begin to dial in each athletes approach and specific peaks. At COROS, our goal is to help you explore perfection. To help you achieve this, utilize the principles noted in this article along with our EvoLab software. Enjoy your best year ever!