Every athlete is unique. Every goal is one-of-kind. Life throws us curve balls. Why follow a pre-fabricated plan that isn’t tailored towards your capabilities or adjusts to your fitness adaptions or life’s events?
LEAP-Coaching has no ‘cookie-cutter’ plan. Every training plan is built to the current capabilities and goals of that athlete. The coach adapts the plan based on observed athlete’s fitness gains. With close observation the coach can also avoid over-training situations by adjusting the plan when fatigue indicators rise.
Within two weeks of the kick-off interview, LEAP-Coaching will publish the athlete’s Annual Training Plan (ATP) within TrainingPeaks.
The Annual Training Plan (ATP) works backwards, starting from the runner’s A race(s) to early base building. The macro-cycle leading up to the peak racing period follows USATF standard phases: General Prep, Specific Prep, Pre-Comp, Comp, and Transition. Each phase has specific workouts with targeted physiological and mental adaptation goals. All plans move from general to specific training, depending on the individual’s goals.
The plan will be broken down into multiple cycles: Meso-cycle and Micro-cycle to help manage training load.
- A micro-cycle consists of 7 days of detailed training plans
- A meso-cycle is comprised of multiple micro-cycles. Depending on the athlete, a meso cylce will consist of multiple micro-cycles followed by a recovery micro-cycle. Meso-cycles will range from 3 to 5 weeks, with the final micro-cycle designated the recovery period.
Within the micro-cycle, Sports Periodization principles is strictly adhered to. As recovery period is the key to reaching new levels of fitness, LEAP-Coaching puts as much energy into planning recovery as it does in planning the critical training days. The formula to adaptions is simple: high training load + adequate recovery = training adaptations.
Sample Annual Training Plan, with 2:1 Meso-cycle
Training plans are broken down into multiple phases: General Prep, Specific Prep, Pre-Comp, Comp, and Transition.
- General Preparation phase is focused at achieving maximal aerobic adaptations. All distance, starting with the 800 meters, rely more on aerobic metabolism than anaerobic. This phase is characterized by long runs around aerobic threshold (70% Vo2Max or HR Zone 2)
- Specific Preparation phase is transition towards more event specific workouts. Workouts within this phase are geared to provide the initial stimulus for physical and metabolic adaptations required for enhanced speed development. Typical workouts include Fartlek, Progression Runs, Lactic Threshold Runs, and Hill Repeats. Aerobic development focus is still maintained.
- Pre-Competition is race specific training. Focused workouts target physical adaptations required for the goal event to include Vo2Max enhancements, Lactic Acid clearance, Lactic Acid Tolerance, etc.
- Competition Phase is fine tuning, often referred to the taper period. This is characterized by a drop in workload volume, while maintaining high intensity.
- Transition phase, which LEAP-Coaching refers to as the ‘maintenance’ phase. This period is between seasons, where training volume and intensity are low to moderate. Having a coach helps keep the athlete on track and in shape for the next season.
A solid aerobic foundation is vital towards achieving your challenging running goals. The science behind aerobic training adaptations is well documented. It takes approximately 20 weeks for the structural changes to be fully realized:
- Increase heart muscle
- Increased cardiac output
- Increased mitochondria size & density
- Increased capillarization
- Increased fat usage for metabolism
- Increased levels of Myoglobin
- Increased Slow Twitch Oxidative Fast Twitch Muscle Fibers
Coaching legends like Arthur Lydiard, Joe Vigil, Dr Maffetone and so many others professed to the benefits of a long and slow aerobic base building phase and had success due to a lengthy aerobic base building period.
LEAP-Coaching follows the USATF guidance, which suggests that 2/3rds of the Annual Training Plan (ATP) should be comprised of the General and Specific Prep phases. During these phases, the cornerstone, and deemed most critical of each micro-cycle, will be two long aerobic (Zone 1 / Zone 2) runs. Before you move to ‘speed’, we will give you the opportunity to develop the aerobic horsepower to sustain higher levels of activity.
Depending on your racing goals, this would mean an ATP of 20 – 26 weeks for a marathon or more is recommended. Shorter distances (10km, 5km), while benefiting from similarly long training periods, would do fine with a minimum of a 12 week ATP.