Periodization – With the 2019 racing season upon us in 4 to 6 months depending when you may be racing, if you haven’t already it is time to develop your training plan. One key to a complete training plan that is built to make you improve is periodization. Periodization is the systematic planning of athletic or physical training. The aim is to reach the best possible performance in the most important competition of the year. It involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period. So in simpler terms periodization is planning a training program that progressively overloads and allows for appropriate recovery periods so that your body can adapt and continue to improve. Without planning and incorporating recovery athletes can feel fatigued, over trained and will not get faster or stronger as quickly as they should.  

Workout Variety – The following workouts can be used for all sports, swimming, running and biking.  In order to be a more efficient, faster and stronger runner and to avoid injury during your periodized program you will want to incorporate different types of workouts. If you are running for leisure and pure enjoyment long easy runs will be fine for you. If you are looking to improve year after year you will want to have variation in your workouts and based on your goals you will want to incorporate certain types of workouts. 
1)   Interval training – is great to increase your vo2max (the amount of oxygen your body can bring in and utilize to create energy) as well as your lung capacity. Interval training will help you bring more oxygen into your body which in turn will help you produce more energy, therefore making you be able to push harder for longer. 
2)   Tempo workouts – are workouts done at or around race pace. These workouts are great to get your body ready for the races to come. This type of training gets your neuromuscular system trained to perform at speeds you need to run. Your body will be trained to run at the speed you desire to set your best time. 3)   Long easy workouts – these workouts are great to build volume and distance (they key is to keep your long easy workouts “easy”). I find many athletes want to push all out all the time. All out is good during the above workouts but we must also do workouts that are light and easy so we do not over train the body and diminish our results. These are just a few examples of workouts to incorporate into your weekly training plan. 

Recovery– Recovery is one aspect of performance that is generally overlooked and not incorporated into many athletes training plans. Recovery is what allows for your body to rest, repair and recover so we can continue training and improving constantly. If we continuously push ourselves through hard workouts our body will eventually not have enough time to repair and recover therefore making future training more detrimental than beneficial. Recovery does not always mean complete rest. Although complete rest is great time to time, active recovery such as easy runs, or light strength training workouts that you do not exert yourself to your max effort are great ways to recover on recovery weeks. Also taking care of your body as training load starts to increase by using methods such as massage, foam rolling, yoga, or just some good old static stretching can help you prevent injury and keep your body in top shape. 
If you are not already put one or two of these ideas into your training plan today to help train more efficiently and effectively. 

Happy Training