Training Cycles, Macro and Micro


It has been my experience that training has its cycles.  I will talk about the start from the macro cycle of the 4 year Olympic cycle all the way down to the micro cycle within a workout.

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.  Some of the elite repeat Olympians can take a year or so off, usually doing something else, then can come back to their prime sport a year or two prior to the Olympic year.

My competition on ice season starts in September and ends in March.  After my season is over in March,  I take a couple of months off and start off ice training again in preparation to get back on the ice in the fall.   My couple of months off consists of mostly recovery work and fun stuff.  I do a lot of low intensity bike work, tennis , golf, swimming, etc.

When I start-up the training again I try to increase gradually and go hard for 3 weeks and easy for 1 week. The easy week is very important for my body to have some continuous recovery.  Without a break I can run into over training and be susceptible to injury and illness.

During my 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 may go hard all week and take Sundays off.  Sometimes I may go hard 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 I have cycles.  After the warmup and into the meat of a workout I cycle between intense work then rest and recovery.  Sometimes this comes in the form of intervals.  Sometimes it comes in the form of a single maximum effort followed by rest.  I do a number of different kinds of workouts with this in mind depending on what the objective I am trying to obtain.  At the end of the workout I finish the cycle by cooling down and stretching.

So what do I do with this information?  I can set up my training plan for the 4 year cycle, yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily.  I can revise it accordingly to fit my needs, desires, competitions and reactions to my training feedback and recovery.

Remember, work, recovery, rest, repeat.

The Native American indians have a philosophy about circles, all I have to do is respect the circles and cycles.  The circle represents the sun, the moon, the cycles of the seasons, and the cycle of life.

Masters Us Single Dist Championships January 2012, photo by Steve Penland

4 thoughts on “Training Cycles, Macro and Micro

  1. Good information Bruce there are alot of Masters skaters that forget or do not know that rest is needed after hard work to recover and prevent injury.

  2. Excellent, Bruce.
    What you have identified for training is at the heart of speedskating – balance. The specifics of the “balance” may vary a bit, person to person, but the concept of balancing the “work, recovery, rest and repeat” is what others should aspire to pace out for themselves, and then commit to it. Nothing in speedskating happens by itself. Nothing.
    Thanks for the reminder and push,
    Jeffrey N. Gingold

    • Thanks for the approval and your comment. I will keep you updated on my progress. Right now I am dealing with some over-training. I have taken a couple weeks easy and am almost recovered and ready to race soon.

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