In today’s post, we’ll put on the coaching hat and examine how best to utilize periodization when planning for an upcoming season. We’ll begin by defining our primary term.
“The logical and systematic sequencing of training factors in an integrative fashion in order to optimize specific training outcomes at pre-determined time points” .
Put more simply, periodization is making specific plans for different season segments.
A handful of periodized methods have become popular across endurance sports. Here are three of the most common [2, 3].
Generally begins with a period of lower intensity/higher volume then reduces volume while increasing intensity as a performance event approaches.
Contrasts with traditional periodization beginning with high-intensity low-volume training, then transitioning to more volume and less or the same intensity as the season progresses.
Includes concentrated periods of either low, medium, or high intensity training. Generally uses a polarized or pyramidal training intensity distribution during each period.
If you’re a visual learner, the chart below highlights the relationship between the intensity and volume of each periodization method above .
On the x or horizontal axis, we have the number of weeks; on the y or verticle axis, we have % of intensity or volume.
Now that we’ve defined the most common periodization methods, we’ll move on to our coaching question of the day. What’s the best way to periodize a season of training?
The Best Way to Periodize
To take a stab at that question, we’ll reference a recent article titled “Training Periodization, Intensity Distribution, and Volume in Trained Cyclists: A Systematic Review” .
This article examines whether one periodization model improves cycling performance over an eight- to twelve-week training period. In other words, is there an ideal way to periodize your training?
- Bompa, T.O. and C. Buzzichelli, Periodization : theory and methodology of training. 2019.
- Gonzalez-Rave, J.M., et al., Reverse Periodization for Improving Sports Performance: A Systematic Review. Sports Med Open, 2022. 8(1): p. 56.
- Galan-Rioja, M.A., et al., Training Periodization, Intensity Distribution, and Volume in Trained Cyclists: A Systematic Review. Int J Sports Physiol Perform, 2023. 18(2): p. 112-122.