Old Way: Running the same types of workouts all year long
New Way: Periodizing your training throughout the year
Humans are creatures of habit. We do the same things over and over again and, while we may not always expect a different result, we certainly hope for one. But if you always train the same way, you’ll end up with the same result. Periodization, which began in Europe in the 1910s in response to the need to vary the training of athletes who were training year-long, is a method of maximizing fitness and performance by structuring training programs into periods or phases using programmed variation of training loads and recovery in a cyclic fashion. It involves focusing the training stimulus to one or two variables at a time and manipulating and systematically changing those training variables over the course of the training program. To periodize your own training, work backward from your most important race and plan your cycles of training, devoting adequate time to aerobic and anaerobic variables. Within each training cycle, vary and polarize your training so that some days of the week you run more and some days you run less, and some days you run very hard and some days you run very easy.