Using periodisation to improve performance

I’m following training blocks known as periodisation. Most athletes train to this structure, and Daniel has used it with professional fighters and footballers with positive results.

We are working to a 15 week training schedule with the event starting at the end of week 15. Each week builds in distance intensity, followed by a fourth week of a recovery distance.

All the weeks involve cross training such as strength training, HIIT cardio, metabolic training, core stability, plyometrics and recovery / injury prevention practice such as myofascial tissue release, trigger point massage and assisted static/ dynamic stretching. During recovery phases, more emphasis is put on recovery and injury prevention exercises.

We forward plan as much as we can, but due to the nature of athletic training and physical events, injuries can occur. I’ve got a recurring issue with my left calf and 1.5 weeks into the training schedule, I sustained a calf injury whilst on a coached 5k outdoor run.

Training sessions have adapted with more trigger point, stretching and myofascial release and increased usage and distances on machines such as cross trainers, rowing machines and static bikes. We are now three weeks from the injury, and we hope to introduce treadmill running again. Machines are tackling certain muscular endurance needs and cardio capacity, but machines allow us to use less core stability as they are fixing the body in certain positions.

Strength and conditioning is not just about muscles, cardio, ligaments and tendons. We also need to train the nervous system in functional movement patterns. I train efficiency in running patterns. Either through actual running or cross training, so the body can recruit more muscle fibres for that particular movement. The exercise machines are a blessing at the moment, because Gavin can still train. But a machine, even a treadmill, will never accurately simulate the conditions we need for race week.