It’s time for another Austin Sports Medicine 101 class!
As we head into a new year of training and exercise programs, we’ve recently been blogging about the six principles of conditioning that every athlete or trainer should follow when prepping for the optimal workout or exercise program. These principles (Individual Differences, Overload, Progression, Adaption, Use/Disuse, and Specificity) are universally accepted and should be followed so that those participating can make the most gains and improvements in their fitness and performance levels.
Designing a program that adheres to all of these guidelines can be challenging, so it’s not a surprise that many athletes turn to a coach or trainer for help with the details so they can focus on the workouts. One common training method is Periodization Training, which builds on specific training phases throughout the year. It’s used by athletes to ramp up and down training in order to be in the best condition at a target time frame. Each phase may last weeks or even months, depending upon the ultimate goal, but the principles of conditioning are followed so that fitness increases but the risk of overtraining or developing an overuse injury decreases.
Periodization training plans can be complex and individually designed, but we’ll be discussing the basic annual periodization phases that can be used by most athletes with some minor tweaking.
Phase Four of the six phases of periodization training is Tapering. This refers to a decrease in training volume in the week or two prior to major athletic competitions. According to research, the ideal tapering strategies include a drastic decrease in training volume, but adding short, high-intensity interval training sessions leading up to the competition. The guidelines include:
- decreasing your training volume (mileage) by 80-90 percent
- decrease your frequency of training (number of workout sessions) by 20 percent
- for events lasting an hour or less, use a one-week taper
- for events lasting more than an hour, use a two-week taper