7 Ways To Reach Your Peak Performance

“When you are looking for peak performance it pays to plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built his ark”. -original author unknown

Periodization is a method of splitting up your workout program into separate periods or stages, each designed to help you build your skill and physical fitness about the primary sport or objective you are trying to accomplish.

The athlete’s workout plan advances steadily throughout, gradually varying the amount, strength, and specific techniques that are emphasized. Rugby coach Fredrick Claro stated it nicely:

Each of these phases is interacting with the other ones like the links of a chain, making the final result an optimally prepared athlete or group of athletes, physically, technically, tactically and psychologically ready for the toughness of competition.

Many endurance athletes who study and investigate on their own will have encountered the periodization approach employed by Joe Friel in his acclaimed “Training Bible” series of publications.

Joe’s approach might result in great results for individuals who use it to structure their yearly training plan, however, athletes would b,e even better equipped to compete if they incorporated additional periodization strategies.

If you’re an amateur or recreational athlete looking to get the most out of your endurance abilities, consider checking out some of the following tips that could help you improve your performance this season.

The New Realities of Periodization

The most important factor that determines a triathlete’s, runner’s, or cyclist’s success is their ability to sustain a certain speed or generate a certain amount of power at their highest performance level.

Despite the fact that there are varying statements about threshold you might come across, the physiological basics remain the same. The person who can move at the quickest rate within their body’s maximum ability to use oxygen will have the most successful result in the competition.

It is not novel that research has demonstrated that various forms of high-intensity interval training can enhance one’s endurance capacity. If you’re familiar with “HIIT” or “Tabata’s”, then you’re aware of approaches that substitute power for length in the strengthening of stamina.

It makes sense to dedicate much of an athlete’s time to either keeping up or advancing their ability to reach their optimum speed since this is vital to their success and performance. Therefore, much of the athlete’s training should focus on enhancing their threshold.

This is the initial phase that provides an all-around groundwork for a planned exercise program. This is known as the “global power” stage in Dr Skiba’s system of grouping.

In addition to the training that boosts or maintains high-level performance, some abilities can support and enhance athletic performance such as core strength, flexibility, technique, and skill that could be incorporated into this timeframe.

1. Race-Specific Periodization Phase

In the “Training Bible” collection, the classic way of periodizing an exercise program refers to the particular preparation stages as a “Construct” period.

Generally, only once the “Build” phase starts does the athlete engage in any real demanding workout routine apart from endurance practice. It is easy to envision how an ironman athlete and a criterium racer plan their training will be uniquely distinct.

No matter what, being very efficient is essential for accomplishing success. Threshold development should be seen as a long-term activity rather than something to be done just before your competition (the Build phase).

As the sportsperson gets nearer to their competitive season, they need to allocate more of their training time to improving the level of intensity, duration and relevant abilities required for their event.

For those doing long-distance contests such as a half Ironman, Ironman, marathon mountain bike, or 12- or 24-hour mountain bike competition, your intensity levels during the race will likely be lower than what a short courses competitor such as a 5K or 10K runner, 20K or 40K time trialist, or a sprint/Olympic triathlete will experience.

Furthermore, your race-specific duration will be much longer.

An Ironman athlete’s preparation typically involves shorter workouts (1-3 hours) to maximize threshold levels over 12 weeks.

The duration set aside for training would then include expanding the attempts to run certain distances while reducing the force.

The outcome of this is that the athlete will start their endurance preparation with a higher point of tolerance and faster average speed than they would have if they only did long-distance, low-intensity training in the base period.

Similarly, various styles of cycling racing necessitate specialized skills like sprinting, setting the pace, attacking from the front, catching up to the group, climbing hills, etc.

As you come closer to your most important races, your approach to training will shift more towards the anaerobic abilities unique to the style of racing that best suits you and that is most emphasised by your teammates.

For example, a road racer’s “base” or general preparation period would be composed of rides and activities that increase their endurance level, while the race-specific training would be geared towards getting them ready for the exact terrain, distance and hard bursts that go along with their racing plan.

Long aerobic rides are important for developing fatigue resistance but are not essential during the general preparation phase.

2. Putting it all Together

To get the most out of your periodized training plan, you should consider the big picture. It’s best to plan for a year or a competitive season at least.

Beginning athletes should start their training at least 6 months in advance of their upcoming competition season to allow for several months of training dedicated to improving their thresholds as well as having sufficient time for rest and recovery.

The initial training often consists of strenuous workouts with brief forays into difficult efforts, for instance, 4 sets of 5 minutes of intense intervals with a few minutes of rest in between them. As time progresses, the duration of periods between workouts can increase and the amount of rest time between sets can decrease.

Over 12 weeks, the training is gradually mixed up so that by the end of the period you are doing 40 to 60 minutes of threshold work, 2 to 4 hours of tempo exercise, and a maximum of 30 to 40 minutes of Vo2 strenuousness.

If we haven’t yet reached the time for the competition season, VO2 training should be kept to a minimum of 12 minutes each week until when it is time to get ready for an event.

The limit and pace of exercise can remain and even be boosted slowly as the entire training strain could continue to increase.

3. The Taper

No question, tapering is key in preparing your body to perform at its highest level. Frequent exercise places a strain on the body that can lead to exhaustion and fatigue.

During the healing period, the body improves and strengthens itself to a superior degree in reaction to the intensified demands that are being put on it. This leads to better performance in exercises (enhanced fitness) and so forth.

The concept of tapering is built upon the idea that fatigue from workouts can be recovered from fairly quickly, yet the physical improvements resulting from your body’s changes will persist for a little while after ending more intensive training.

If you do enough practice and then take a break perfectly, you should theoretically be completely recharged from your past workout routine at the same time your fitness level reaches its top.

How long should a taper last

Different ideas are out there regarding how long the taper process should last, yet it tends to be most effective, especially for events that necessitate long-range training over an extended period, to have a slower, more prolonged decrease in activity.

A smaller, more intense reduction in training is typically done in the lead-up to sprint- or Olympic-distance competitions. This implies that before a long-distance competition, a decrease in training intensity should take place for about two to three weeks, whereas for a shorter race, it should be cut back for five to ten days.

You certainly should not be attempting to taper for more than a couple of your most important ‘A’ races during one season, otherwise, you’d find yourself perpetually in taper mode if you have races frequently.

Training intensity and volume

The agreement among experts is that, when preparing for races of any length, the intensity of exertion ought to either stay the same or be increased slightly during a rest period, as this helps keep the body energized.

The volume or mile needs to be reduced significantly, as it is this that enables you to bounce back and be at your fittest and strongest for the event.

As an illustration, when tapering for an interval workout, the number of repetitions should be lowered and the time of rest between them expanded; meanwhile, the speed or effort should stay the same or be amplified compared to the preceding workouts.

There is varying opinion on how much volume to reduce in the last week of training, but generally reducing it to 50-70% of your regular weekly total should be sufficient (though this should be increased if you’ve been training intensely and decreased if you were doing lighter exercises).


How to adapt to long-distance racing

After completing several weeks of high-intensity training plus a hard, lengthier training session three weeks ahead of a long race, it is wise to cut back training volume by roughly 20-30% in the first week and around the same amount in the second week. The last week should be akin to the regimen for short-course competitors.

4. Nutrition

For optimal performance, you should be at your most energized, adequately hydrated, and as lean and toned as possible when beginning the race for maximum power output for your weight.

This implies that moderation is essential when cutting down on physical activity as far as diet and hydration are concerned; make sure to consume enough to replenish your levels, but not so much that you gain excess weight beyond what you’d naturally gain from increased energy storage.

Most of the time, you can maintain your weight by continuing to eat your normal diet as your training decreases, so the amount of food you are eating will be more than what you are using.

Try not to overindulge in carbohydrates before the last few days since you will probably gain weight and your body may have difficulty processing all of the extra calories.

Make sure to ingest some additional salt or electrolyte beverages in the last 48 hours before your race, especially if you are competing in a long-distance race or are running in hot weather, as perspiration levels will be greater than usual.

Be mindful not to overhydrate yourself when trying to stay hydrated, as this can reduce your sodium and possibly cause mild hyponatremia.

5. Confidence

A major obstacle you will need to tackle when reducing your workout level is the effect it can have on your mental well-being. It is essential to stay convinced in your plan to deflect these ideas and not let them interfere with your intentions.

One way to accomplish this is to review your current workout records and confirm all of the hard work you have completed. Talking to a trainer or mentor during this period can be extremely beneficial, as their point of view will likely be much more unbiased.

In case situations like going to the club during which other people are pushing themselves hard make you lose self-confidence, then it is best to omit them in the last few weeks and just focus more on solo training.

Do not be discouraged if you experience a slight lack of energy during the break as your body repairs itself from difficult exercises and adjusts. This is normal and to be expected.

Take advantage of the additional time you have to accomplish tasks such as having your bicycle maintained, reviewing your equipment, arranging all the things you will need for the transition points, and ensuring all your preparations for the race are settled.

Making sure your attention is on what you can control and that will benefit you, in the long run, will keep you on task and productive. Be assured that it is better to have a little more rest and be 99% prepared but energized for a race than to show up feeling tired.

6. Mental Rehearsal

Even if you are completely ready to compete physically, if your mental attitude is not right on the day, it will keep you from providing your optimal performance.

It is particularly evident if some sort of malfunction of your bike or a direction mistake while swimming throws you off balance.

Be prepared to prevent any complications and give yourself the greatest opportunity to succeed in case something problematic happens. Visualize how you would like the day to go.

Imagine each stage of the race (it helps a great deal if you’ve seen the route ahead of time or have studied maps and altitude information), and how you can complete it successfully.

Repeat this activity several times and then take another look at it to contemplate how you would handle a snag in the road – such as a flattened tire or getting passed by a challenger – with composure and grace.

7. Rest Days and Rest Weeks

The adage about training is that whoever can restore themselves most quickly will get the most out of the training. The speed of recovery is contingent on various factors, some of which the athlete can influence and others that are beyond the athlete’s power.

All people’s necessities vary, however normally most will gain from 1-3 pause days for each week contingent upon their dimension of wellness and execution. A select group of highly talented athletes are capable of training for 10-14 days at a stretch without having a respite, however, these athletes are not very common.

Other weeks of rest, however, are more debatable. It is suggested that the common three weeks of training, followed by one week of rest originated from children attending training camps, who would stay for three weeks and then return home to their families for the subsequent week.

The trainers were pushing the athletes for the duration of the 3 weeks because the break was likely to decrease their level of conditioning.

The Wattage group is suggesting a slow rise in the amount of training you are receiving to avoid any abrupt changes in stress.

Instead of pushing hard in your training, getting very drained and then trying to recoup, the idea is to build up your exercise levels at a steady pace so that you can recover on a daily and weekly basis.

Everyone in the athletic field has diverse requirements, so it will be necessary to try out different methods of organizing until you discover the ones that work most effectively for you.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button