Periodization for Athletes: Plan Training for Optimal Performance

by Cherie Gruenfeld December 08, 2016 2 min read

Athletic woman stretching on the beach with the water behind her.

As the race and marathon season comes to an end, it can be tempting to want to take a break from your fitness regime and go into hibernation for a while—especially in climates that experience cold, frigid winters. However, it is essential to the success of your next season that you maintain the progress you’ve made and continue to build your fitness level to be better and stronger next year.

Periodization is the process of systematically planning your training regime over a period of time to meet your specific performance and fitness goals for upcoming competitions, races and marathons the coming year. If you are starting to strategize your periodization schedule, the below will act as a guide to help you build an effective training plan.

Base Phase (November – December)

The base phase of your periodization training schedule is when you condition your body for the more stressful workouts that will follow—building your body’s endurance and tolerance for the work that will be integrated in the months ahead. During this time, focus on low-intensity exercises, long-sustained efforts with a low heart rate, increasing weight and volume incrementally in order to build up your body’s endurance. If you are new to the competition circuit and new to this style of training, or recovering from a mild injury, your base phase will need to be longer in order to build a solid foundation for more demanding workouts.

Build Phase (January – February)

During the build phase, you can start to build up the intensity of your workouts. The strong foundation you have built during the base phase will allow you to bring your workouts to the next level, safely and without the risk of injury. During this phase, you can begin to decrease endurance-based training and integrate more interval training, speed work and hill repeats into your training regime.

Peak/Taper/Race Phase (March – April)

This period is when you take your body to its maximum levels in order to get race-ready. If you are training for a demanding race like a triathlon or a marathon, you will want to increase your endurance training during this period and maintain the intensity. You can maintain this stressful training period for about 3–4 weeks before settling into your taper period about 2–3 weeks before the race.

After a solid recovery period following your race, return to the build phase, aligned to your next race’s goals, whether that’s a triathlon, a marathon or a hardcore obstacle course. The recovery phase is key to allow your body to adapt to the stress of hard training and competition and preventing injury. BodyHealth’s PerfectAmino™ is a powerful supplement to aid in the muscle recovery process. Containing the eight essential amino acids, PerfectAmino helps promote protein synthesis, integral to muscle and tissue repair and growth.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.