Friday, June 8, 2007


The structuring of training into phases is referred to as periodization. The guru of periodization is Tudor O. Bompa. Two books to look into that explain his theory are:

Theory and Methodology of Training
Periodization Training for Sports

The theory of periodization is very complex and technical. Bompa took over 300 pages in his book to explain it. What follows is a short explanation for distance runners building base miles in the summer. This will follow some general principles of periodization. As with any type of training, there is not one theory that works with everyone. Therefore, other principles will also be included that may not reflect Bompa's work.

The summer/base phase of running's purpose is to develop endurance. One wants to start the training at a certain level and gradually increase the load as the summer goes on. The best way to increase the load (miles) is by categorizing your summer into cycles. The two cycles to follow are called macro and micro. The macro cycle, in this example, will be four weeks. The micro cycle will consist of one week.

Macro cycle:
Week 1 - 40 miles
Week 2 - 45 miles
Week 3 - 50 miles
Week 4 - 40 miles

Notice how the miles increase for three weeks, then come down in the fourth. This is teaching the body to slowly adapt to the increased mileage. The fourth week is considered recovery. This allows the runner to physically and psychologically rest (while still running) the body in anticipation of increasing the miles again in the next cycle, which may look like this:

Week 5 - 45
Week 6 - 55
Week 7 - 60
Week 8 - 50

Micro cycle:
Day 1 - 10 miles
Day 2 - 5 miles
Day 3 - 6 miles
Day 4 - 4 miles
Day 5 - 8 miles
Day 6 - 4 miles
Day 7 - 4 miles

During a micro cycle, you are increasing and decreasing the load/miles on a daily basis. This allows the body to build endurance as well as rest within a short period of time.

Improvement in training will usually occur following the resting week. By maintaining a cycle such as the example, you will eventually find yourself running higher miles at the end of the summer with less effort than you thought possible. One key element to remember is to run your miles at a reasonable pace. A general rule of thumb is to run your miles at 1:15 - 2:00 slower than your CURRENT 5k pace. Remember, if you are a 16:30 5k runner during the cross country season, you are probably around 20 - 40 seconds slower in the summer when you are not in peak condition.

Example: 16:30 5k = 5:20 pace.
17:00 5k off season shape = 5:30 pace.
Running pace will be 6:45 - 7:30.
Easy runs closer to 7:30
Moderate runs closer to 6:45

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

found your site on today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later