Basics Of Periodization | The 50 Zone Magazine : Mens Information On Wellness, Health, Weight Loss, Nutrition, Women, Style And Fashion



The Basics of Periodization

by C.J. Ong, Jr.

Periodization can simply be defined as the structuring of training into periods. When used correctly it helps athletes to reach their goals. Without a doubt it is Lasse Viren who shows us what the principles of periodization can do. Viren peaked once every four years for the Olympics. Winning the gold in the 1972 and 1976 Olympic games in both the 5000 and 10,000 meters he clearly shows the value of the principles of periodization.

When using the principles of periodization one traditionally divides the year up into microcycles, mesocycles and macrocycles. The training process incorporates a progression of training from general to specific while incorporating the principles of specificity, individuality, reversibility and progressive overload.

The microcycle is usually about one week in duration. Several microcycles are linked together to create a mesocycle and in turn several mesocycles are linked together to create the macrocycle. Continuing on both the microcycles and mesocycles are further defined by the goals set forth by the athlete. In a macrocycle an athlete can peak 3 to 4 times in a year. These peaks are often races and while an athlete may enter other races those races are approached as part of the training process.

An example of how to apply periodization in training for the popular distance of the half-ironman triathlon would be to first determine if they can devote the needed number of annual training hours to successfully finish the race (500 to 700 hours) and then work from there. Assuming that our potential half-ironperson has 500 annual hours to devote to their training the macrocycle would be broken down as follows:

Preparation Period of 3 to 4 weeks duration with a total training time of 8.5 hours.

Base Period 1 of 3 to 4 weeks duration with training time ranging from 7 to 13.5 hours.

Base Period 2 of 3 to 4 weeks duration with training time ranging from 7 to 14 hours.

Base Period 3 of 3 to 4 weeks duration with training time ranging from 7 to 15 hours.

The Base Periods establish speed, force and endurance.

Build Period 1 of 3 to 4 weeks duration with training time ranging from 7 to 12.5 hours.

Build Period 2 of 3 to 4 weeks duration with training time ranging from 7 to 12 hours.

The Build Periods focus on increasing intensity and improving limitations.

A Peak Period of 1 to 2 weeks duration with training time ranging from 10.5 to 8.5 hours.

The Peak Period allows the athlete to taper and consolidate their race readiness.

The Race Period of 1 to 3 weeks duration with training time of 7 hours.

The Race Period is simply when you race.

A Transition Period of 1 to 6 weeks with no set training times.

The Transition Period provides a time to recharge mentally and physically. The time spent in sport specific workouts is limited and heart rates are kept in kinotherapy training zones.

Adding the various periods up gives a total of less than 52 weeks. This allows an athlete to peak for 3 to 4 races per macrocycle. The athlete does not move back to the Base Periods but instead moves from the Transition Period to the Building Period, Peak and Race Periods as determined by your schedule.

If you are looking to achieve optimal performance in your chosen sport applying the principles of periodization is essential. Training without a plan is merely working out. However if one keeps in mind that in training nothing happens by accident but rather by design the value of periodization becomes clear.

Crucible Gym at

Article by C.J. Ong, Jr.

The Crucible Gym




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