How Much Weight Should I Have Gained At 16 Weeks A Periodization Primer for Cyclists

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A Periodization Primer for Cyclists

Periodization is the process of dividing your annual training plan into specific blocks of time, where each block has a specific goal and provides different types of stress to your body. Some periods of training are harder and some allow recovery more easily. Periodization also develops different energy systems during different phases of training (eg aerobic, anaerobic, creatine phosphate). Most importantly, periodization is the best way to promote the training effect, which consists of changes in your cardiopulmonary and musculoskeletal system that lead to greater speed and endurance on the bike. There are 3 basic principles of periodization:

1. The primary goal of periodization is to prepare your body for peak performance at a designated time of year. Want to drive a fast century? Finish in the top 10 at a local road race? Maybe your goal is to achieve a personal best in your state time trial championship. A regular training program is the most effective way to achieve your goals as it allows you to gradually improve your cycling performance to peak at your most important event. For example, if your key event is at the end of June, you can create a training plan that will allow you to peak in early summer. If you have several key events during the season, you can design a schedule that allows for multiple peaks over several months.

2. Training should progress from general to specific through a series of stages. Each stage has a specific purpose. For example, training programs for competitive cyclists are usually divided into four phases: perseverance, intensity, competition and recovery. The endurance period is the most general of these phases. It usually lasts 12 to 16 weeks and increases your aerobic and muscular endurance. The endurance phase often includes off-the-bike activities such as strength training and long rides at low to moderate intensity. The intensity phase, which also lasts 12 to 16 weeks, includes workouts that simulate race conditions. The primary goal of this phase is to develop your lactate threshold and aerobic capacity (i.e. VO2 max), so you spend more time doing high-intensity workouts like intervals. The competition phase includes racing, the most specific element of training. High-intensity training continues, often in the form of races. Effectively managing your peak process is essential to ensure you enter key races in top form. Once the competitive season is over, you enter the recovery phase where training activities become more general again (eg cross-training such as running or swimming to aid recovery).

3. The key to successful periodization is to develop specific aspects of fitness during a given phase while developing others in earlier phases. For example, during the endurance phase, the main goal is to increase aerobic endurance. That’s why you do a lot of long, steady rides at low to moderate intensity. The intensity phase consists of higher intensity rides, but it’s no good doing short, hard workouts if your aerobic endurance suffers. Therefore, a well-designed training plan will build on and strengthen your development from earlier stages. While much of the intensity phase focuses on developing speed and the ability to ride at relatively high intensities, it also includes several long, steady rides at lower intensities to maintain the aerobic fitness developed in the endurance phase. On the contrary, the training carried out in the later stages is possible thanks to the foundations created in the earlier stages. Without the aerobic training of the endurance phase, the high intensity training of the intensity and competition phase would be ineffective. This pyramid approach allows you to gradually reach the peak at the most desirable time of the year.

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