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Thx Joe for taking your time to clarify this topic.

Can't wait for part dos.


greg Hinrichsen

In my mind, run coach Arthur Lydiard's high percentage of coaching wins, with a small pool of athletes from New Zealand, proved the value of periodization. The usual Kiwi suspects on the Olympic podium were Peter Snell, Murray Halberg, Barry McGee, and John Davies. At least periodization gives you a chance to pick a favorite race and be at your best for it...otherwise your results could be as random as your training. If you go hard all year as some coaches recommend, you run the risk of being sick of it all by the time the big races roll around.

Paul H

There is an interesting other point here, which is that anyone can call themselves a coach and espouse their own opinions as fact. It doesn't mean that they know anything at all about physiology, sports science or the diversity of different training methodology. Misunderstanding the term periodization is a classic example of a superficial level of knowledge in the area.


I'm actually a bit confused here. I understand that the typical understanding of periodization might be too rigid, however I don't see how you can define periodization simply as "an organization of training with respect to time". How does this differ from simply saying "structured" or "unstructured" training? I was under the impression that the definition included the structure above but with an additional concept of building on appropriate physiological systems at the appropriate times.

Joe Friel

Luke_majewski--There are many subpoints that we might call the principles of periodization. But in it's most basic definition it's structuring training relative to time.


Buenos dias Joe!

I am a self coached athlete, and I have been worried recently that my slightly different approach to periodization is hurting me in the long term. I have read your books, and most of the periodization that I read about revolves around a couple weeks of building, then a recovery, more build, recover, etc, until a peak and taper. My work schedule is a bit hectic so I often end up having alternating weeks of high volume, low volume. So rather than building for a couple weeks, I end up building for about 10 days, then the next 5-7 days are at a lower volume. Example- the past 4 weeks I have gone 9 hours, 14 hours, 8 hours, 17 hours.

Is this a bad approach? I should also indicate that I'm training for my first IM.

Un saludo cordial,

Joe Friel

Peter--Can't really say as there are lots of things I don't know about you. The best indicator is how you are doing in test sets, standard workouts and races. If these are showing good progress then its working.


Joe, that makes sense now. I was missing the difference between "Structured training" and "Structured training relative to time". So whether you follow macro and/or micro approach to your schedule is a nuance of periodization. Thanks!


Joe, I'm on a 3 week on, 1 wk recovery training schedule. I have a dilemma coming up in a couple of weeks: the first week of my build period is gonna fall on a week I know I will not have much training time available. What would the adverse effects be of swapping the 4th week (recovery wk) of Base3 with the first week of Build 1 week. In other words, delay my recovery week so that I have 4 wks on to end my base period, a recovery week, then only 2 weeks of Build 1 before another recovery week.

Joe Friel

Jay--If not carrying heavy load of fatigue then that is probably ok.

david julien

I get frustrated when I hear people talking this way aboout periodization. We all know that doing anything will get us fit. For me the biggest benifit is having a purpose driven program. I have been racing since I was 12years old(now 42) and have been only using periodization for the last 5-6 years Periodization gives me a sense of confidence that I have done everything I can once I get on that starting line! I choose less races and focus more on quality rather than quantity. I used to race in Europe and had many great races, but I can tell you I have a greater sense of purpose and accomplishment these days. Plus I tend to be able to let go of my bike when not training and enjoy life, because I know I am on track. Joe not to be too dramatic, but your books allow me to keep cycling a main part of my life while still being able to have a great family life and successful carreer. Thanks!!


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