This guide outlines how you can structure your training season and gives you a sense of direction.
Transition Phase: For duration of 2-4 weeks for rest and recovery, both mentally and physically. If you don't take a break, you'll find yourself burned out, over-trained, and or perhaps injured.
Preparation Phase: For duration of 1-4 weeks for general strength and aerobic fitness as well as improving technical skills.
Base Phase: For duration of 9-12 weeks to improve aerobic fitness, maximum strength, improve fat metabolism and weight loss.
Build Phase: For duration of 6-9 weeks to improve anaerobic fitness and focus on specific training which mimics the demands of your goal/race/event.
Peak Phase: For duration of 1-2 weeks reduced training volume to allow for rest and adaptation.
Race Phase: For a duration of 1-4 weeks or up to 8 weeks depending on your fatigue.
A little more into the phases...
When: Minimum 7 to 8 months before your planned peak phase, which is 2 weeks before your race week.
This is a must and the goal of this phase is rest and recovery - to reduce total body stress, and allow for a period of recovery from the physical and mental fatigue that has accumulated from the season. The main purpose of this phase is rest and recovery, however you should stay active and only at lowest level – intensity and duration, and without any structure.
Duration: 2-4 weeks
Activities: Low intensity activities such as jogging, walking, swimming, etc.
When: Minimum 5 to 6 months before your planned peak phase, which is 2 weeks before your race week.
The goal of this phase is to develop general fitness through cross–training i.e. lifting weights, core training, flexibility training and aerobic activities such as running in the beginning and cycling as the phase progresses. By doing this phase you are laying the foundation for the more intense to come and lowering the risk of injury.
Duration: 1 to 4 Weeks
Activities: Mountain biking, running, weight training, swimming.
When: 16 to 20 weeks before your planned peak phase, which is 2 weeks before your race week.
The goal of this phase is to reducing activities such as running, swimming and hiking and increase the amount of hours on the bike at mostly endurance pace and as the phase progresses include some structure sessions that are just below your threshold.
There are no shortcuts in the base phase, you have to put in the hours.
Duration: 9 to 12 weeks.
Activities: Increased time on bike, lower body strength training and core training, and flexibility work.
Find a base plan here.
When: 6 to 9 weeks before your planned peak phase, which is 2 weeks before your race week.
In this phase you should be focus shifts to your strengths, the specific demands of your race, and includes workouts for improving lactate tolerance, VO2, both aerobic and anaerobic endurance.
Duration: 6 to 9 weeks.
Activities: Depends on your strength and goals, and should intense workouts, both short and long
Purpose: Improve anaerobic fitness, increase threshold power, explosive power and or lactate tolerance.
When: 1 to 2 weeks before your race week.
Here volume is gradually reduced, your and workouts simulates intensity and condition of goal event but are not as long as the race duration.
Duration: 1 to 2 weeks
Activities: Active recovery and race specific workouts.
Purpose: To be well rested and race ready.
This is the period you have been preparing for and you should be at your desired peak/race fitness. Depending on your fatigue; if carefully structured with rest and "sharpeners" the peak fitness achieved can be usually maintained for 4-8 weeks.
Duration: 1 to 8 weeks
Activities: Rest days, massages, optimal sleep, active recovery and race specific workouts.
Purpose: To well rested and race ready.
That is it, thank you for reading, I hope you found it to be a useful resource. Where to go next....