Using Periodization and a Coach to Succeed

Using Periodization and a Coach to Succeed

Coach Jim bio squareby Coach Jim

Are you achieving your fitness and performance goals?  If not, you should consider using a periodized training plan and professional coach.  Periodization is how coaches break down large blocks of training time over a full year season into much smaller, focused, and more manageable segments. Doing this allows us to more effectively hone in on the skills and fitness that need to be developed to optimize an individual athlete.   Simply put, periodization is the planning process model that tells us what workouts to do and when to do them to ensure success.

Why is periodization such an important and critical process to understand? Because each athlete is as individual as a snowflake and so must be their training plans.  Customized, periodized training plans help get the most out of the athlete and assist them in reaching their individual goals.

Research has shown that athletes training with periodized training plans will produce better results than those incorporating non-periodized training plans.1  The different cycles in periodization allow the athlete’s fitness and performance to progress at the fastest rate while minimizing injury risk. The seasonal variations of periodized training also help ensure the athlete stays physically and mentally energized.

Every self-coached athlete has the best intentions and motivations regarding their workouts but sometimes they just can’t seem to find the breakthrough they’re looking for.  They also sometimes lose their motivation due to lack of progressing to the next level. No matter how hard they work they are stuck on a plateau that they just can’t seem to move past and it can zap their strength and will. For these athletes it’s not the lack of trying or work ethic that stalls their progress, it often is the lack of knowledge of how the body reacts to pressures put on it. This issue gets compounded in triathlon training because of the complex nature of integrating three distinct sports. In triathlon there are quite a few moving parts that must be carefully considered and evaluated when creating specific plans and workouts. Just imagine trying to juggle all the disciplines that make up triathlon from swim, bike, run, and transitions to core and strength training on your own with a generic plan off the internet designed for a multitude of individuals, but not you. Couple this with having to decide on your own how to adjust the volume, durations, and intensities of every workout each week to fit your lifestyle and fitness levels.  And include deciding how much recovery time is needed, when to taper for all the various races and how to best mentally prepare for success.  It can be overwhelming to say the least.  This is where a certified, professional and experienced coach can assist the athlete in focusing in on the what, how, where, and when associated with having optimal success.  The coach is always there as a sounding board offering motivation and moral support at critical times.

In summary, periodization and planning are the corner stone to an athlete’s success in reaching their goals.  An athlete must be able to critically and objectively look at themselves and determine what is most needed for their development.  Once those needs have been determined, a comprehensive plan suited to that development must be created so that maximum benefit can be obtained within the least amount of time and at the lowest risk. If the athlete is serious about improving their performance this becomes a tall order.  Hiring a professional coach in this area can reduce the amount of time and stress an athlete spends on planning and allows the athlete to focus on executing workouts.  This can yield the fastest rate of injury free progress.

  1. Bompa T, Haff GG.  Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training.  5th Ed.  Human Kinetics, 2009.

Jim Riga is a USA Certified Triathlon Coach with Experience Triathlon.   As leaders in the endurance services industry, Coach Jim and the Experience Triathlon team help athletes of all ages and abilities achieve success in training, racing and life.  Learn more about Coach Jim and Experience Triathlon at www.expriencetriathlon.com

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  • Sarah F

    Fabulous article, Coach Jim–you make a great point in saying that each athlete is as individual as a snowflake, & this is why it’s so critical for someone to train using a plan that is specific to them, versus generalized for the masses…and a professional coach is there to do just that. I couldn’t do half of what I do if Coach Suzy wasn’t there to dial me in constantly! Welcome to the ET coaching team, Jim–you make a superb addition & you’ll be a great resource & motivator for us all at ET! 🙂

  • Paul Wangerin

    Sarah told me you were now a tri coach, Jim. I think that is tremendous. Good luck in this endeavor.

  • Cathy Obordo

    Hi Coach Jim! I loved your article and I appreciate the insights to periodization. It’s a fantastic strategy that has proven to work with many athletes, as you said. Great topic and welcome to the world of coaching! 🙂

  • Great article, Jim! Thanks for sharing your insight on this key topic related to athlete performance and success.