Periodization is the process of dividing an annual training plan into specific time blocks, where each block has a particular goal and provides your body with different types of stress.
This allows you to create some hard training periods and some easier periods to facilitate recovery. Periodization also helps you develop different energy systems during various phases of training (e.g., aerobic, anaerobic, creatine phosphate). Most significantly, periodization is the best way to promote the training effect, which consists of changes in your cardiopulmonary and musculoskeletal systems that result in greater speed and endurance on the bike.
To develop an effective training program, it is important to understand the foundation of periodization. This foundation consists of three cycles: macrocycles, mesocycles and microcycles.
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The macrocycle is the longest of the three cycles and includes all four stages of a periodized training program (e.g., endurance, intensity, competition and recovery). Because macrocycles incorporate all 52 weeks of your annual plan, they provide you with a bird's-eye view of your training regimen and allow you to facilitate long-range planning.
For example, if you want to peak for a national championship event one year from now, you can mark that date on your calendar and work backwards to create a program that allows you to peak at that time. You can use the same process to identify several major events throughout the year and develop a plan that facilitates multiple fitness peaks. Remember, because of its length, you will always make changes to your macrocycle throughout the year.
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