Get faster with structure

16. March 2021

Constant rigorous training all year long – that doesn’t work for the professionals either. A good structure divides the year into individual highlights.

With a structured training program, which is geared towards one or more highlights of the season and also includes intermediate regeneration phases, you can improve your form in a targeted manner and above all, aim to be in top form at the right moment. This structured training program is called periodisation. The number and names of the individual periods differ depending on the training theory. Often there are one or two preparatory periods, one pre-competition phase, one tapering phase and one regeneration phase for each goal for the season. What’s what?

Preparatory phase: In the preparatory phases, we generally work on the basics, i.e., on basic endurance, strength, and coordination sequences. Units with a high level of intensity are done on an ad hoc basis at most. The preparatory phase lasts around three months. If an amateur runner’s highlight of the season is to take place in August, this roughly lasts from February to June.

Pre-competition phase: In the pre-competition phase, you train your speed and get used to the racing pace and a high tempo. The training units are shorter, but more intense. This phase lasts about a month.

Tapering: Tapering refers to targeted competition preparation, whereby the load is lowered in the last weeks before the competition to enable the body to recover so you can compete in top form. Long competitions such as a marathon require a longer tapering period than a short 10 km run.

Regeneration phase: The regeneration phase is when the body is given time to rest after a competition and is indispensable. At the end of a season, it also makes sense to take a training break of several weeks, which not only relaxes the body, but also the mind.

Micro and macrocycles: This dividing up the year into training phases can also be applied to your weekly and daily program. As a rule, you increase your training over two (or three) weeks and then take it easy for a week to stock up on energy for the next increase in performance. This weekly rhythm is referred to as a microcycle, and the individual periods, i.e., several weeks in a row, as the macrocycle. The same principle of load and recovery can even be done within a week: three days of training and one day of (active) regeneration - a rhythm that has proved to be effective. Some professionals even switch to a regeneration day after two days of training. Each trainer has their own idea of periods, microcycles and daily training. But this structure, i.e., periodisation, remains the basis of every training program.

Foto: iStock.com/filadendron