Advanced Periodization: Going from Age-Grouper to Professional (Part 2/5)

In part 1, I discussed the basics of classical periodization in triathlon and went a little bit  into the type of training that Kristi had done in 2010. Here in part 2, we’ll get more into the specifics of classical periodization (aerobic endurance, muscular endurance, etc…) and point out the major flaws with such an approach in triathlon.

Joe Friel has written a series of outstanding intro-level books on endurance sports training, where he termed the mesocycles as base, build and peak phases that most athletes and coaches are familiar with. He then sequenced targets in a very common sense fashion (figure 2) with the general abilities of endurance, force, and speed skills and the more specific or advanced abilities such as muscular endurance, anaerobic endurance and power.






Figure 2: Pillars of triathlon training

Traditional periodization promotes a methodical approach designed to develop multiple targeted abilities at the same time (endurance, speed skills and force in the “base” phase). This basic sequencing, from general to specific, which is promoted by traditional periodization, also provides its major limitations to everyone except low-level athletes!

Kristi was trying desperately to develop an aerobic base, muscle strength, balancing hormone levels in training, developing motor skills, general speed, technique, mental and technical skills.  Each of these targets requires specific physiological, morphological and psychological adaptations, many of which are not compatible. The lack of compatibility of multi-targeted training causes a conflicting response to training, which is not advantageous.

The major limitations to the traditional periodization that Kristi was using include:

  1. Conflicting physiological responses produced by “mixed” training directed at multiple athletic abilities.
  2. Excessive fatigue elicited by prolonged periods of multi-targeted training.
  3. Insufficient training stimulus from medium to low concentrations that are typical in mixed training.
  4. The inability to peak for multiple races throughout an entire season.

It’s pretty clear to see: by approaching training in this method, the athlete is limiting their ability to reach their full potential through training. In part 3, I’ll get a lot more into how I  approached her training program in 2011 to remove the major limiters above and a summary of the first half of2011.

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