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Avoiding Burnout
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By Bill Bejeck

In the previous issue, we covered the signs that your body will give you when you are doing too much activity relative to your ability to recover. This month we will go over some ways to help you prevent over training before it begins. One of the best ways to keep from over doing it is to use periodization. Periodization is a way of varying your training intensity and distance to allow your body to improve and recover from weeks and weeks of training. (I would like to mention here that doing the exact same type of training week in and week out could also lead to burnout.) How would you implement peridization in your training schedule' Although there are many ways to design programs, for simplicity we will use 4, 1-week blocks. The first 3 weeks are building periods and the 4th is a week of reduced volume and intensity to allow for recovery. Then you would pick up where you left off in week 2 or 3 and build again for the next 3 weeks followed again by a recovery week of reduced volume and intensity. The numbers presented here are just for demonstration purposes only.

Here is an example:

  • Week 1: Total mileage 150 w/1 day of intervals
  • Week 2: Total mileage 170 w/1 day of intervals
  • Week 3: Total mileage 190 w/1-2 days of intervals
  • Week 4: Total mileage 150 w/ no intervals

As you can see here, our rider increased their mileage about 10% per week for 3 weeks, then in week 4 cut back by 20%. The following week would start over at the previous week 3 total of 190 miles:

  • Week 1: Total mileage 190 w/1 day of intervals
  • Week 2: Total mileage 210 w/1-2 day of intervals
  • Week 3: Total mileage 230 w/ 2 days of intervals
  • Week 4: Total mileage 180 w/ no intervals

This cycle would be repeated until our rider hit the total mileage per week goal that he or she had in mind. Once you build up to your goal mileage per week, you still want to vary your training by including a 'down week' of reduced mileage and intensity.

As you can see, this program is building on a consistent basis, but not constantly. By allowing for some reduced training and intensity, you stand a better chance of not burning out, while building up your training. You will need to experiment some to tweak the basic periodization model presented here and apply it to your own training. Until next time, keep riding!

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