There is a reason that the Olympics are every 4 years. I have been through 2 complete cycles recently now and can attest to the natural flow that it takes. After an Olympic year we all need a break from the intense training. There is a natural need for a less intense season. Then the build up can continue again towards the next Olympic year. We all need a break physically, mentally, emotionally, etc.
The speed skating competition season starts in September and ends in March. After the season is over, a few weeks off or just recovery work, then off ice training again in preparation for skating in the fall. Time off consists of recovery work and fun stuff. I do a lot of low intensity bike work, tennis , golf, swimming, etc.
When training again, increasing gradually, hard for 3 weeks and easy for 1 week. The easy week is very important for the body to have some recovery. Without a break we are subject to over training and susceptible to injury and illness.
During the competition season I need to be able to peak at the right time. This requires an easy week or two prior to the competition. The longer the hard training period the longer the taper prior to the competition. The taper is done by keeping the intensity but reducing the volume.
In a weekly cycle I train hard all week and take Sundays off. Sometimes hard training for two days and take an easy recovery day between. I still need to get in a certain amount of cardio training, strength, and skating in every week.
Even within a single workout there are cycles. After the warmup and into the meat of a workout I cycle between intense work then rest and recovery. Intervals followed by a set rest or A very hard effort followed by complete rest. There a number of different kinds of workouts with this in mind depending on what the objective is that I am trying to obtain. At the end of the workout I finish the cycle by cooling down and stretching.
So what to do with this information? Set up a training plan for the 4 year cycle, yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily. Revise it accordingly to fit your needs, desires, competitions and reactions to training feedback and recovery.
Remember, work, recovery, rest, repeat.
My ithlete HRV tool helps with determining how hard to train. It helps me to measure my readiness to train hard or take an easy day.
The Native American indians have a philosophy about circles. Respect the circles and the cycles of life.