Posted by: Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes | September 19, 2008

Improve Your Cycling Performance with Periodization: Part 1

       Back in August, I wrote several posts with tips and suggestions for improving your performance as a cyclist.  The 3 posts focused on training, nutrition and recovery.  In my next few posts, I will introduce the concept of periodization and describe how you can used this advanced training technique to become a much stronger and faster cyclist.

Periodization is the process of dividing an annual training plan into specific time blocks, where each block has a particular objective and provides the body with different types of stress.  This creates some periods of training that are harder and some that are easier (to allow for recovery).  It also facilitates the development of different energy systems during various phases of training (e.g., aerobic, anaerobic, creatine phosphate).  Most importantly, periodization is the most effective way to facilitate the training effect. The training effect consists of changes in your cardiopulmonary and muscular systems that result in greater endurance on the bike. There are 3 basic principles of periodization.  I’ll discuss the first principle here and the other two in subsequent posts:

The primary goal of periodization is to prepare the body for peak performance at a designated time of year.  Want to ride a fast century?  Finish in the top 10 at a local road race?   Participate in a long charity ride?  Perhaps your goal is to set a personal best in your state time trial championships.  A periodized training program is the most effective way to achieve your goals because it allows you to gradually enhance your cycling performance so that you are strongest at the time of your most important events.  For example, if want to be able to finish a 125 mile event in late June, you can develop an annual training plan that allows you to peak at the beginning of summer.  If you have several key events during the season you can design a plan that allows for multiple peaks over a period of several months (I will provide you with sample training plans in future posts).

NEXT POST – September 24, 2008:

Improve Your Cycling Performance with Periodization: Part 2

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