Everyone has heard of training cycles, and even if you haven’t, it refers to the different phases of training throughout the year. There are generally 4 main phases of training, Pre-base, Base, Build, and Peak. I’ll get into more detail about each individual phase in future posts, but generally, Pre-base is where most athletes get in a lot of drill work to kind of ease themselves back into regular training. Base is where you get most of your aerobic fitness and preparation for race specific training. It usually includes a good amount of long mileage, cross training, and spending time with a good mix of low and high intensity. During the Build phase of training, the goal is to increase the aerobic capacity of your body by doing high intensity, hard workouts that increase your Lactate Threshold, VO2max, and mental capacity. The idea is to increase intensity rather than increase mileage. Lastly, the Peak phase is typically where a lot of the race specific training is done, including simulation workouts, hard interval training, race intensity workouts, and training that best prepares the athlete for a particular race.
Training in cycles is important for a couple reasons, but mainly because your body can’t handle true race preparation all year, every year. Overtraining Syndrome is real and can derail your training pretty hard. By taking your training in yearly cycles, you allow for your body and mind to ease off the intensity and mileage, get some much needed recovery and rest, spend your time doing personal things, and reset before starting to gear up for the next year of racing.
Over the next few posts, I’ll go into detail about each individual phase to give you a better idea of the methodology behind endurance training and racing.