Periodisation for Hybrid Athletes: How to Structure Your Training Plan
Intro to Periodisation
The world of fitness is vast and diverse, with countless approaches to training and performance. As a hybrid athlete, you understand the unique challenges that come with striving for excellence in both strength and endurance sports. It's a delicate balancing act, but one that can be achieved with proper planning and periodisation. In this blog post, we'll explore the concept of periodisation and how it can be applied to optimise your training plan, ensuring you make the most of your efforts in the gym and on the track.
Periodisation refers to the strategic organisation of training into distinct phases, each with a specific focus and goal. This approach allows for targeted improvements in specific areas, such as strength, endurance, or power, while also promoting long-term progression and reducing the risk of injury, burnout, and plateaus. Let's dive into the world of periodisation and discover how you can harness its power to maximise your potential as a hybrid athlete.
Section 1: Understanding the Basics of Periodisation
To get started with periodisation, it's essential to grasp its core principles and how they apply to hybrid athletes. Periodisation can be broken down into several key components:
Macrocycle: The macrocycle is the overall training plan, typically spanning a year or longer, depending on your goals and competition schedule. This long-term view allows you to strategically plan and adjust your training to peak for specific events or periods.
Mesocycle: Within the macrocycle, your training is divided into mesocycles, which usually last between 4-12 weeks. Each mesocycle is designed with a specific training focus or goal in mind, such as building strength, improving endurance, or increasing power.
Microcycle: Mesocycles are further broken down into microcycles, which typically last one week. Microcycles allow you to fine-tune your training on a weekly basis, adjusting variables such as volume, intensity, and exercise selection to meet your specific goals.
Deloads: Periodisation also includes scheduled periods of reduced volume and intensity, known as deloads. Deloads help to promote recovery, prevent overtraining, and prepare your body for the next training phase.
For hybrid athletes, periodisation plays a crucial role in balancing the demands of strength and endurance training. By structuring your training plan into distinct phases, you can ensure that both aspects are adequately addressed while minimising the interference effect and optimising your overall progress.
Section 2: Block Periodisation for Running
Block periodisation is an effective approach for hybrid athletes looking to optimise their running performance. This method involves focusing on a specific aspect of running for a designated block of time before moving on to another aspect. The duration of each block can vary, but typically ranges from 2-6 weeks.
Here's how you could apply block periodisation to your running training:
Endurance Block: During this phase, the primary focus is on building your aerobic base. This block typically consists of long, steady-state runs, easy recovery runs, and low-intensity, high-volume workouts. The goal is to improve your body's ability to utilise oxygen and increase your overall running efficiency.
VO2 Max Block: In this block, you'll focus on improving your cardiovascular fitness and increasing your VO2 max. This is achieved through high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions, incorporating short, intense efforts followed by periods of rest. These workouts are designed to push your heart rate close to its maximum, improving your body's ability to process oxygen and deliver it to your muscles.
Lactate Threshold Block: This phase aims to increase your lactate threshold, allowing you to maintain a faster pace for longer periods without accumulating excessive lactic acid. Workouts in this block may include tempo runs, which are sustained efforts at a challenging but manageable pace, and cruise intervals, which involve alternating between faster and slower paces to increase your body's ability to clear lactate.
Remember to download your Hybrid running guide which goes through how to develop the key areas of running performance.
By incorporating block periodisation into your running training, you can systematically address different aspects of your performance, ensuring well-rounded development while minimising the risk of plateaus or overtraining. To help understand which area of your running needs more work, we can use VO2 or lactate testing to help determine where you need to improve.
Section 3: Periodisation for Strength Training
Periodisation is equally important for strength training, especially for hybrid athletes who need to balance their strength work with their endurance training. Here's one way you can structure your strength training plan using periodisation:
Foundation Phase: In this initial phase, the primary focus is on building a solid foundation of strength and improving movement patterns. This typically involves full-body workouts with compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and presses. The training volume is moderate, with an emphasis on proper form and technique. This phase is crucial for establishing a solid base that will support the more advanced training phases that follow.
Hypertrophy Phase: During the hypertrophy phase, the goal is to increase muscle size and strength. This is achieved through higher training volume and moderate intensity, incorporating exercises that target specific muscle groups. The focus is on progressive overload, gradually increasing the load and intensity to stimulate muscle growth.
Strength Phase: In this phase, the focus shifts to increasing maximal strength. This is achieved through lower-volume, higher-intensity workouts that involve heavy lifting with compound exercises. The goal is to challenge your muscles with heavier loads, improving your overall strength and power.
Power Phase: The final phase of the strength training periodisation is the power phase. In this phase, the emphasis is on developing explosive strength and speed. This is achieved through a combination of plyometric exercises, Olympic lifts, and other power-focused movements. The goal is to enhance your ability to generate force quickly, which can translate into improved performance in both strength and endurance activities.
By incorporating periodisation into your strength training, you can systematically develop your strength and power while managing fatigue and reducing the risk of overtraining. This well-rounded approach will help you achieve optimal results in both your strength and endurance pursuits.
Section 4: Combining Running and Strength Training Periodisation
To effectively combine running and strength training periodisation, you'll need to consider the overall structure of your training plan and ensure that both components complement each other. Here are some strategies to help you combine the two:
Prioritise your goals: Determine which aspect of your training, running or strength, is more important to you based on your goals. This will help you plan your training cycles to emphasise one aspect without compromising the other. This can be done with initial testing to help determine the areas you need to improve most.
Align phases: To minimise the interference effect, try to align your running and strength training phases. For example, when you're in the base building phase of your running plan, you can focus on the foundation phase of strength training. This way, you're not overloading yourself with high-intensity workouts in both areas at the same time.
Stagger intensity: Another strategy is to stagger the intensity of your workouts throughout the week. Schedule your most intense running and strength training sessions on separate days to avoid excessive fatigue and allow for adequate recovery. This can help you maintain progress in both areas without compromising your overall training plan.
Use periodisation within each week: You can also periodise your training on a weekly basis by alternating between high-intensity and low-intensity sessions. This approach can help you manage fatigue and maintain a balance between running and strength training.
Adapt and adjust: Periodisation is not a rigid structure, and you may need to adapt your plan based on your progress, recovery, and other factors. Be prepared to make adjustments to your training plan as needed to keep both your running and strength training on track.
By carefully planning and structuring your training program, you can successfully combine running and strength training periodisation to achieve your goals as a hybrid athlete. This approach allows you to progress in both areas while minimising the interference effect, maximising your overall performance and potential.
Here's an example of a 6-month periodisation plan for a hybrid athlete, combining running and strength training:
Month 1-2: Base Building Phase
Running: Focus on increasing your aerobic base and developing a solid foundation for endurance. Gradually increase weekly mileage and include easy-paced, long runs. Add strides to some of your runs to keep some pace in your legs. 2 – 4 sessions per week.
Strength Training: Concentrate on building a solid strength foundation with compound exercises (e.g., squats, deadlifts, bench press). Perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps with moderate weight. 2 – 4 sessions per week.
Month 3-4: Strength and Speed Development Phase
Running: Introduce speed work and interval training to improve running economy and VO2 max. Include threshold runs, hill repeats, and interval sessions. 1-2 hard runs and 1-2 endurance runs
Strength Training: Transition to a focus on power and explosiveness. Incorporate Olympic lifts, plyometrics, and other power exercises. Perform 3-4 sets of 3-6 reps with higher weight and explosive movements. 2 – 4 sessions per week.
Month 5: Race Specificity Phase
Running: Tailor your running workouts to mimic the specific demands of your target race. Include race-pace workouts, goal-specific interval sessions, and course-specific training. 1 – 2 hard runs and 1-2 easy
Strength Training: Continue to focus on power and explosiveness, but also incorporate sport-specific strength exercises to address any weaknesses or imbalances. Maintain 2-3 strength training sessions per week. 2 – 4 sessions per week.
Month 6: Taper and Peak Phase
Running: Gradually reduce weekly mileage and intensity to allow your body to recover and adapt. Maintain some speed work and race-pace sessions, but at a reduced volume.
Strength Training: Decrease the volume and intensity of your strength workouts to focus on maintaining your current strength and power levels without causing excessive fatigue. Perform 1-2 sessions per week, using lighter weights and fewer sets.
By following this 6-month periodisation plan, you'll be able to effectively combine running and strength training, while progressing towards your goals as a hybrid athlete. Remember to adjust the plan based on your individual needs and consider working with a coach to ensure optimal training and results.
Different Levels of Hybrid Athletes: Tailoring Periodisation to Your Experience
When developing a periodisation plan as hybrid athletes, it's important to consider the your current fitness level and training experience. In this section, we will outline how beginners, intermediate, and advanced athletes can adapt the periodisation plan to suit their specific needs.
Beginners: For those who are new to hybrid training, it is crucial to build a solid foundation of strength and endurance before diving into more advanced training techniques. Focus on gradually increasing training volume and intensity while prioritising proper form and technique. In the early stages, a linear periodisation model with a greater emphasis on general physical preparedness (GPP) can be beneficial. This will ensure that beginners develop a well-rounded base of fitness and reduce the risk of injury.
Intermediate: As an intermediate athlete, you likely have some experience with both strength and endurance training. At this stage, you can begin incorporating more advanced training methods, such as block periodisation for running and undulating periodisation for strength training. This will allow you to target specific aspects of your fitness while still maintaining balance in your overall training program. Focus on identifying and addressing any weaknesses or imbalances, and use regular assessments to track progress and make necessary adjustments to your plan.
Advanced: Advanced athletes have a solid foundation in both strength and endurance training and are ready to take their performance to the next level. At this stage, you can experiment with more advanced periodisation models, such as conjugate periodisation or polarised training. This will allow you to target specific performance goals while managing fatigue and recovery effectively. Additionally, advanced athletes should pay close attention to recovery strategies, nutrition, and other factors that can impact performance and progress.
Remember that periodisation is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and it's essential to tailor your plan to your individual needs and goals. By considering your current fitness level and training experience, you can create a periodisation plan that will help you achieve optimal results as a hybrid athlete.
Monitoring and Periodising: The Key to Success in Hybrid Training
An essential aspect of periodisation for hybrid athletes is regular monitoring and adjusting of the training plan based on individual progress, recovery, and response to training stimuli. As a hybrid athlete, it's crucial to track your performance, fatigue, and overall well-being to ensure that you're making progress without overtraining or risking injury.
With our Hyrox training programmes, we take periodisation and individualised programming seriously. Our programme includes regular assessments and monitoring of your performance, allowing us to adjust your training plan as needed to ensure continuous progress towards your goals. By incorporating monitoring and periodising into your training plan, you can stay on track and achieve optimal results as a hybrid athlete.
Remember, periodisation is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and it's essential to tailor your plan to your individual needs and goals. By considering your current fitness level, training experience, and monitoring your progress, you can create a periodisation plan that will help you achieve optimal results as a hybrid athlete. Don't forget that Box Perform is here to guide you through this process, providing expert coaching and support to ensure your success in both strength and endurance training.
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