One of my favorite things to do is plan long term training for athletes. I always begin with a lactate test because this gives me a complete overview of the individuals fitness level. Next I ask the athlete what their goal race or event is and what they hope to achieve. Then the next important question is how much time the individual has to train for their goal. From here, its pretty straightforward in how I design training programs:
- I start in reverse from the athletes goal race/event and plan the macrocycles of training (typically 4-12 weeks long)
- I then add in all the ‘interruptions’ such as vacations, work functions, etc., that the athlete might face prior to their goal
- Next I help the individual find groups and infrastructure (gyms, pools) that can help them keep motivated
- Tentative intermediate goals are added to the schedule to help the athlete progress towards their race/event
- The last part of the process is penciling in the details of the workouts that athlete will be doing immediately
The process of designing a long term training plan can seem daunting. It’s important to remember that no training plans are set in stone. Some change or altering of schedules is typical. I find by doing the above steps however, that little alterations will be required.