Saturday, 8 February 2014

Running 101 - Periodization

Welcome to my new running 101 series. As I prep for my coaching exam on March 2, I thought I would share the love and maybe even help some other runners strengthen their own train gin programs.

Today's post is on periodization, or the division of your training program into three specific cycles. If you aren't familiar with periodization, this post will help you understand why you run hills, when intervals are important and how to plan for multiple events in one running season.  I will keep it brief!

Using the example of a 16-week half-marathon training plan, the breakdown would look something like this:

  • Macrocycle - The entire 16 week period of training.
  • Mesocycle - Blocks of specific training that help you reach your peak. The mesocycles are most often broken down as Base, Preparation, Taper, Race (peak). 
  • Microcycle - Your repeating pattern of workouts, most commonly planned out in 1-week blocks. Each week may include an easy run, a strength session (i.e. hills), cross-training, or intervals (speed work) depending on the focus of your mesocycle.
Here is an example of an entire macrocycle:

How your mesocycles might look:

Great example of a microcycle by runfargirl:

How a coach can help?

Your training plan will look very different according to your current level of fitness and your running goals.  Take for example, a runner looking to complete their first half marathon versus a seasoned runner looking to qualify for Boston. 

If you have multiple race goals, they will help you determine how to recover effectively and get back in peak condition for your next race.

A coach can also tailor your runs specific to your heart rate or current conditioning and help to reevaluate your goals as your conditioning improves. 

I know this post was a little short so here are some more articles if you are looking for more. 

Resources and Sources:


  1. Hey Lindsey! I am finally getting around to reading your blog! Great stuff & it looks like we both know Erin :) Where are you taking your coaching certification? It's something that I am interested in doing too. (Yes I will go back in your archive to read more). Have a great Sunday!

  2. Hi Crystal! I found her design services through your blog so thanks for the inspiration!
    I am taking the certification through the North American Academy for Sport Fitness Professionals and it can all be done online. Here is the link: So far I am loving it!

    1. Thanks! I have been trying to look into this for awhile.


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