Posted by: Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes | September 29, 2008

Improve Your Cycling Performance with Periodization: Part 3

Greetings, in my last two posts, I introduced the concept of periodization and described two basic principles of periodized training programs:

1.  The primary goal of periodization is to prepare the body for peak performance at a designated time of the year.

2.  Training should progress from the general to the specific through a series of stages.

Here is the third and final principle:

The key to successful periodization is to develop specific aspects of fitness during a given phase, while maintaining others developed in earlier phases.  For example, the main goal during the base phase is to increase aerobic endurance. Therefore, the cyclist will perform many long steady rides at a relatively low intensity.  The build stage consists of much higher intensity rides, but it does no good to perform a lot of short, hard rides if your aerobic endurance suffers.  Therefore, a well-designed training plan will  build upon and enhance the development from previous stages. For instance, while much of the build stage will focus on the development of speed and the ability to ride continuously at a relatively high intensity, it will also include some long steady rides at lower intensities to maintain the aerobic fitness developed in the earlier stage.  Conversely, the training performed in later stages is made possible because of the foundation built in earlier stages.  Without the endurance training of the base stage, the high intensity training of the build and race stages wouldn’t be possible.  This “pyramid” approach is what allows the cyclist to gradually build to a peak at the most desirable time of the year.

NEXT POST – October 3, 2008:

Periodization Tips



  1. Periodization really interests me, thanks for the information!

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