Periodisation – The short version

What, when, why

So you’ve decided to take part in a race for the first time or your getting ready for next season and you are starting to think about how your training should be structured.

For many people training for a race simply means training for the distance and hoping to get faster. We like to put a bit more science and process behind what we do and below is a brief explanation of how a training plan should be structured focused around competing in a single event.


Stage 1 – Base Training: Getting ready for the distance (T- 22 Weeks)

So you’ve signed up for an event and probably like most people you’re pushing the envelope and going that bit further. You might also be a more experienced athlete in early season looking to prepare the body for the hard training ahead.

That’s great welcome to base training. Base training focuses around developing the basic building blocks were going to turn into a fast race time later. First priority is to get up to distance without getting injured. So week by week, little by little, we add up to 10% distance and build up our mileage. We are also focussed on developing our muscular structure, gaining muscle where needed and targeting weak areas.

If we’re planning on losing weight for competition this is often a good stage to do it during where feeling a bit low or weak is not going to adversely affect workouts too much.

In the Gym we will be looking to increase our muscular endurance and strength to support our speed goals.


Stage 2 – Build: improving our performance (T-10 Weeks)

We can now do the distance, it’s no longer an issue so now we need to get stronger and finish courses faster. It’s time to turn all that endurance ability into speed and power.

Now we start to focus on specific intervals that align with our race distances and we start to include more power training.

Out on the road were moving from a higher proportion of long slow distance runs and incorporating more intervals such as fast mile repeats.

In the gym explosive movements such as clean and press, squat thrusters and box jumps all come into their element and help boost are fast twitch muscle fibres.


Stage 3 : Taper for peak performance. (T- 2 Weeks)

It’s the final countdown and you’ve got 1-2 weeks till the race.
The longer you’ve been training for this specific race the longer you need to taper however in most cast cases 1-2 weeks is sufficient.

In training you will have generated cumulative fatigue and now by removing a large bulk of the hard training sessions your body will have a chance to recover raising you to peak performance. During this time workouts are short and moderately intense at race pace or faster keeping you in top form. Workouts should feel strong and avoid pushing too far.

We’re honing the specifics moving from intense training to short fast sessions.

Transition practice is a staple now with brick sessions testing our ability to move from one discipline to the next.

Make sure you are training in race kit in race day conditions. Nutrition & feeding should be as per the race getting your body used to what comes next.


Stage 4 – Race

The moment you’ve trained for, you’ll have your race day strategy in place, now you just need to go an execute it.


Stage 5 – Recovery

Often the most overlooked part of any athletes life recovery is what gives our body time to adapt and keeps our mind strong through the long says of training.

Without adequate recovery you won’t progress and risk burnout, ruining your once loved hobby. You’ve raced hard, trained hard, now rest hard too.



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