Mastering Periodised Training: A Comprehensive Guide to Macrocycles, Mesocycles, and Microcycles

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Periodised training is a strategic approach that revolves around the principles of overload and adaptation, enabling athletes to progressively build fitness by subjecting the body to stress, followed by adequate recovery. This training method involves three crucial cycles: macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles.

 

By grasping the concepts behind each cycle, athletes can optimise their annual training plan and achieve peak performance.

 

In this article, we’ll explore the theory of periodisation and provide example training sessions for novice, intermediate, and advanced athletes.

Table of Contents

Macrocycles - Planning for the Whole Season

The macrocycle represents the entire duration of an athlete’s season, encompassing all four stages of a periodised training program: endurance, intensity, competition, and recovery.

 

With a macrocycle spanning around 52 weeks, athletes can gain a comprehensive overview of their training regimen, allowing for long-term planning.

 

For instance, if an athlete aims to peak for a national championship in a year, they can work backwards from the event date to structure their training plan accordingly.

This approach also facilitates multiple fitness peaks by identifying several major events throughout the year.

Example Training Sessions:

  • Novice Cyclist: Endurance-focused macrocycle, consisting of gradual volume increases over several months, with a focus on building base fitness through consistent rides at moderate intensity.
  • Intermediate Runner: A macrocycle with emphasis on improving running speed and endurance, including interval training, tempo runs, and hill repeats during specific mesocycles.
  • Advanced Swimmer: A macrocycle designed to optimise race performance, incorporating periodised strength training, intense pool sessions, and specialised technique work.

Individualised Coaching

Working on growing your strengths and improving your weaknesses

Mesocycles - Targeted Training Blocks

Mesocycles are specific training blocks within the macrocycle, each with a defined goal.

 

For instance, during the endurance phase, a cyclist may engage in a mesocycle aimed at enhancing muscular endurance, involving six workouts over three weeks with one recovery week.

 

Similarly, the intensity phase could include a mesocycle focusing on improving functional threshold power (FTP) through three weeks of threshold intervals followed by a recovery week.

Example Training Sessions:

  • Novice Athlete: Endurance Phase Mesocycle with a focus on building muscular endurance through low to moderate-intensity workouts for three weeks, followed by a week of active recovery.
  • Intermediate Athlete: Intensity Phase Mesocycle aiming to improve FTP with high-intensity intervals and longer threshold efforts during three-week training blocks, followed by a week of rest or easy workouts.
  • Advanced Athlete: Competition Phase Mesocycle dedicated to developing neuromuscular power with a mix of short and long sprint interval workouts over three weeks, followed by a recovery week.

Event-Specific Programs

A Training Program focused on preparing you for the specific demands of your goal event

Microcycles - Fine-Tuning Training Weekly

Microcycles are the smallest training units within a mesocycle, usually lasting a week.

 

They provide a focused approach to training, such as an endurance block where a cyclist strings together three or four long rides in one week to increase training volume progressively.

Example Training Sessions:

  • Novice Runner: Endurance Microcycle with three days of easy-paced runs and two days of rest for a balanced training week.
  • Intermediate Swimmer: Intensity Microcycle consisting of two days of high-intensity swim sets, followed by two days of active recovery or easy swims.
  • Advanced Cyclist: Competition Microcycle including two days of race-simulation workouts and two days of active recovery rides.

Training Plans

Following a training plan can improve your chances of success by up to 100%

Conclusion

Mastering periodized training is essential for athletes aiming to reach their peak performance.

 

By understanding and incorporating macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles into their annual training plan, athletes can ensure optimal adaptation and progress throughout the season.

 

Remember, consistency and proper planning are key to achieving success in any periodized training program.

 

So, start applying these principles today and witness the transformative impact on your athletic performance.

Coach Shamus

At the heart of MultiSportCoaching is Coach Shamus, a seasoned athlete and experienced coach with a passion for helping others achieve their goals. With over 25 years of experience in coaching athletes of all levels, Coach Shamus has the knowledge and expertise to help you reach your full potential. https://multisportcoaching.co.za/about-us/
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