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post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I have a question concerning periodization. I just picked up a copy of Chris Carmichael's book Food for Fitness (Lance Armstrong's trainer) and he is talking about developing periodization for nutrition as well as training. Well. I haven't been able to effectively do this with training. In one of the early chapters he mentions that if you have been doing the same routine for more than 4 weeks it needs to change.

Question: How do you figure out exactly how to change and how frequently etc.? Also, how do focus your efforts on the various activities you can be doing?

By the way, I run 3-5 days per week for about an hour at a time, lift weights 1-3 times a week for about an hour at a time, core training 1-3 times per week for about 30 minutes, balance training a couple of times a week, and plyometrics not as often as I should. I am in very good aerobic shape (I ran the Chicago Marathon), but feel like I am not even close to having it all put together.

Any advice would be helpful. I feel like there is too much information available for me to try to figure it all out .

post #2 of 15
Better to start from the top down than the bottom up with these things.

So what goal are you training for, i.e. -general health, a better marathon time, your upcoming ski trip, all of the above or what?

A lot of people actually train harder than professional athletes.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
My goals are really all of the above. I want to constantly improve my running (although I am not sure I will consistently run marathons, maybe some shorter races here and there). I would like to get into moutain biking, hiking, water skiing, and of course I want to be prepared when I hit the slopes.

I feel that maybe periodization might be a good thing for me since I have different goals at different times of the year. For instance, after the marathon in October I mostly focused on ski preparation.

Thanks again for all the help.
post #4 of 15
Tiehackburger's first line had be wondering what he was getting at but his post is pretty much what came to my mind too. You need goals to train for and that will likely take a lot of mystery out of it for you. Different goals through a year is fine but approach each portion of the year as best suited for the given goal coming up. To tell the truth it sounds like you are really training as a lifestyle which is fine. Goals will still make it easier to be motivated and especially to see improvement at some or numerous activities.

Lots of people just train and do the same thing for ever and never understand why they don't improve. You're talking about nutrition and then talking about Carmichael's statement of changing routine. I trust you are thinking of those separately. If you do a bench press same sets same weight all the time not much will likely change. If you go to doing flies for a while you'll likely find an improvement when you come back to bench press. Same with speed work running or mountain biking. It's all about stressing your body and your body adapting to that stress and then finding a new stress or way of stressing the body.

Periodization really refers to volume and intensity of work for specific events or breaking into periods to focus on various systems/fitness elements to focus on gains for those systems in a given training phase with an eye to an overall goal or given event. You could still break your year into different seasons focused on different events or activities and use periodization within those segments. It wouldn't be as effective as focusing on one thing for a whole year and building all training to that but then you also wouldn't be as dull a lad if you break life into more than one activity.
post #5 of 15
Try looking at this web site

there are lots of research links there too... it is our government paid for athlete training centre
post #6 of 15
Or this one
post #7 of 15
Yep. What L7 said. I don't like the little sad faced icon. Really what are you worrying about? You finished a marathon!!! Quite an accomplishment. Be happy, not sad.

I mean how old are you? Are you going for the Olympics? Do you want to make the U.S. Ski Team? If so-you need more advice than I think is available on epicski.

If not, and you're just generally wanting to be a fit guy/gal-immediately take the next week off. Do nothing at all. Drop any compulsive feelings you might harbor. You're plenty fit enough right now.

Focus on what it is you want to achieve.

I forget the name of the supercoach, but somebody asked him "how do you know when you've trained enough?" He said "It's enough when you can do what you want to do."
post #8 of 15
About all I know about periodization pertains to weight training. Basically, it's altering the intensity (weight) and reps (and maybe sets) every few weeks so your body as to adapt to something it hasn't seen yet. Something like--

Bench Press

Two weeks, three times a week, three sets--

8 reps 120 #
8 rep 140 #
8 reps 160 #

Two weeks, three times a week, three sets --

6 reps 140#
6 resp 160#
6 reps 170#

Two weeks, three times a week three sets--

4 reps 160#
4 rep 170
3 reps 180#

That's the idea. Imade the numers up. YOu have to figure out your limits at each rep reange.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice. I really shouldn't have put a sad faced icon because it doesn't bother me much - I just wanted to know more about it.

As far as enjoying myself, I just want to continue training like I have been, but would like the training to be as effective as possible. I don't have any really lofty or extreme goals, just want to stay in shape for life and the things I love to do.

I do try to change things up from time to time to keep my body from becoming too effecient, but the changes are always in an ad hoc way.

Thanks for all the advice,
post #10 of 15
I agree with what others have said so far. Unless you are joining Lance in TdF2005 you can relax. As long as you engage in a selection of activities which focus on different areas such as strength, balance and CV you are cross training quite effectively.

One often overlooked aspect amongst fitness enthusiasts is the rest period. your body needs time to recover and heal from the shocks that it is put through when training seriously. overtraining is a problem for many fitness fanatics which often leads to injuries and it is a waste of time and effort. of course, good nutrition is also important.

for weights you might want to look into the SuperSlow protocols (developed by Ken Hutchins and the Nautilus guy?) which basically is very slow movements of 6-8 reps with a weight that leads to complete fatigue of the exercised muscle, one set only. would be very suitable for periodisation and variety.
post #11 of 15

Periodization basics for skiers

1. Some generally understood principles:

1.1 Goals. You train different ways to achieve different results. Want to increase your vertical leap? Do plyometrics, not distance running--world class marathoners have a vertical leap of less than 4 inches.

1.2 Counter-productive effort/somewhat incompatible goals. Certain kinds of training interfere with making gains in other areas--lots of cardio work is counterproductive to strength gains, at least if done on the same day. Particularly if you are trying to increase strength, you need to have recovery days. Losing substantial weight may interfere with muscle gains.

1.3 Variation. Adaptation means that the same workout, endlessly repeated, tends to be less effective in helping you to make further gains after a certain time. You have to challenge your body in different ways to continue to progress, not plateau.

1.4 Time management. Most of us have very limited time for training, so we have to prioritize.

1.5 Specialization. Generally, most sport-oriented periodization programs start with general fitness improvement and, as the season/championship phase approaches, move to more specialized training that closely mimics the skills and demands of the target sport.

2. Application to skiers: High level Alpine skiing demands strength (with an emphasis on the eccentric--weight lowering-- phase), anaerobic fitness, power (explosiveness), some flexibility (especially hip flexibility) balance and agility. The balance demands are often under a load (weight all on outside ski at 60 degrees inclination, producing 360 pound load on one leg for a 180 pound skier), and in a wide variety of positions (same skier now puts weight on bent inside leg). If you do long races or long runs, lactate threshhold (ability to keep going despite build up of lactic acid in your quads on a thigh burner) is something to work on as well.

3. One program: Do phases, emphasizing general fitness/aerobic fitness in the early summer, then do more basic strength, then more emphasis on power (plyometrics, explosive lifting, Olympic lifts,) then add anaerobic threshhold and lactic threshold training, and finally emphasis on balance and agility drills. Don't ignore the other components in a given phase, just change the emphasis/portion of time spent. What you end up with is a constantly changing workout program.

4. Some of the best exercises: Squats (work everything, and there's a balance component under a load) walking lunges (same) plyometrics (explosive strength, resisting eccentric loads in landing, balance and anaerobic threshhold) especially side-to-side jumping that mimics skiing.

Anyway, that's just the 2 cents of a hack club racer--but the guys I race against all ski a lot more than I do, so I have to make the most out of my time in the gym.

post #12 of 15
SFDean Said,
but the guys I race against all ski a lot more than I do, so I have to make the most out of my time in the gym.
and you do. Happy Holidays
post #13 of 15
Originally Posted by SnoWonder
and you do. Happy Holidays
Thanks, Mike--

Happy holidays and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

post #14 of 15
New this month, the USSA has a $60 CD-ROM on strength and power training for Alpine atheletes, including "the proper training and periodization sequence for optimal strength and power development".

I have no idea (and some skepticism about) whether it's worth the money. The brief description looked like a lot of the CD-ROM is little movies of correctly performed lifts.
post #15 of 15
Exercise programs follow four stages of work: conditioning, strengthening, endurance and maintenance. A recommended duration of 16 to 20 weeks is common. The amount of time spent in each phase is dependent upon the fitness level at the onset of the program.

At the end of the program, you can take one to two weeks off (continue your cardio and flexibility program) from your strength training and then start over again. This type of program allows you to increase your strength and endurance over time.
The human body is a marvelously smart machine. The body seeks to perform all exercise in the most efficient manner; over time the body will learn how to expend the fewest possible calories while performing exercises. This is referred to as a "plateau". Therefore, it's important to surprise your body by changing the exercise routine frequently.

With regard to sports conditioning exercises like plyometrics, it's important to design a program with an intended "peak" period. For example, in preparing for ski season you could estimate that the peak (or middle) of your season will be February. Designing a four month plyometric program that ramps up for eight weeks and then declines for eight weeks is recommended.
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