Following a Training Road map

This is a short excerpt from a forthcoming article in Training and Conditioning www.momentummedia.com tentatively titled “Following a Training Road map.”

Each journey is unique, even if the destination is not. Sometimes the weather will be clear, other times stormy. Sometimes construction or a special event may slow you down or steer you toward another route. If you’re taking a fully loaded truck, you’ll probably want to take a different route than if you have a sports car.

Similarly, no two athletes are the same. Even when it appears they’re going to the same destination, they may need to get there via different routes. Each sport has unique demands, as does each position or event within a sport. Developing athletic performance is a complex process with seemingly endless variables in play.

However, to make the journey more manageable, you must look for similarities in movements and common characteristics between sports and individual positions. If you don’t, the complexity will be too great. You’ll either get lost entirely or revert to a one-dimensional training philosophy and trade effectiveness for simplicity.

Regardless of the destination, the most effective roads on the functional path are progressive and sequential, giving the athlete increasingly difficult movement problems to solve, a process known as adaptation. The body is highly adaptable, and if left to its own devices, will find a way to get the job done. We do not need a detailed script or a paint-by-numbers approach. That only stifles an athlete’s creativity and limits their natural movement patterns. Still, you must have a well-planned progression that builds on previous gains to keep the athlete moving forward.

There will be speed limits, red lights, and construction zones along the way, all of which must be accounted for. While it may be tempting to ignore those limits, doing so may actually slow you down if you end up being pulled over for speeding, find yourself breaking down, or get into an accident. Similarly, if you rush the adaptation process by having athletes try to lift too much, too soon or move on to more complex movements before mastering basic ones, you risk doing more harm than good. Only the proper progression will lead you to your ultimate athletic destination.


At 9/5/07, 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. It's a great reminder that needs to be spoken again and again. Each time you talk about training plans the more I understand it. Keep it going!!

Thanks Again,
Jonathan Hewitt ATC

At 9/19/07, 12:05 AM, Blogger A. J. MacDonald said...

Here’s a planning conundrum. In our area, far from your shores (enjoyed your seminars in Sydney), next year the high school-based track competition has been switched in the season’s calendar to end just before the XC race season starts. Normally there’s time for transition from XC into T&F. Now it’s the reverse sequence with no real break for athletes.
Designing a soundly-based training plan for the entire season, with goals, periodization, progression and specific tailoring for developing MD athletes with XC representative aspirations for that season is a challenge (at least for me). The season suggests counter-intuitive peaking for speed endurance before a later conditioning peak (for XC), otherwise there have to be two conditioning preparation peaks.
While keeping in mind that the athlete comes first, it’s a work-in-progress puzzle. It's a good opportuntity for me to review afresh every principle in training program design.
Does the season's sequence of T&F then immediately XC ever occur in the USA?


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