The 3 Cycles of Periodization: Macrocycles, Mesocycles and Microcycles
Periodization is the process of dividing a yearly training plan into specific blocks of time, with each block serving a particular purpose and providing your body with different types of stress. Some training periods are harder and others are easier to allow for recovery. To develop an effective training program, it is important to understand the framework on which periodized training plans are built. This structure consists of three cycles: macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles.
Tea macro cycle It consists of all 52 weeks of your plan year, and therefore includes all four stages of a periodized training program (for example, endurance, intensity, competition, and recovery). Due to its length, you will surely make changes to it throughout the year. Think of the macrocycle as a bird’s eye view of your yearly training plan.
Tea mesocycle represents a specific block of training that is designed to achieve a particular goal. For example, during the endurance phase, you might develop a mesocycle designed to improve your muscular endurance (the ability to pedal relatively large gears at a moderate cadence). This mesocycle can consist of three weeks of strength training and high-speed cycling, and one week of recovery. Similarly, you could develop an intensity phase mesocycle designed to improve your functional threshold power (the highest average power you can sustain for an hour). This mesocycle could include three weeks of lactate threshold intervals followed by one week of recovery. You can even develop a mesocycle for the recovery phase of training. Of course, the main focus of this mesocycle will be rest and recovery, but it will also include a series of easy wrinkles designed to enhance the recovery process.
Mesocycles are usually three to four weeks long, but can be a bit longer. Two very common mesocycles consist of 21 and 28 day training blocks. For example, a 30-year-old experienced competitor might use a 23/5 training pattern (ie, a 28-day mesocycle). This consists of 23 days of relatively hard work followed by 5 days of recovery and easy pedaling. Conversely, an older or less experienced cyclist may opt for a 16/5 training pattern (ie a 21-day mesocycle) that includes 16 days of intense training followed by 5 days of recovery.
IN micro cycle It is the shortest training cycle, typically lasting one to two weeks with the aim of facilitating a focused training block. An example of this is an endurance block in which a cyclist chains three or four long rides in a week to progressively overload the training volume (with the goal of improving aerobic endurance). Another example incorporates block training, which consists of very hard training for two to three consecutive days followed by an equal amount of recovery (off days or very easy workouts). This would constitute an intensity microcycle where the goal is to improve key physiological skills such as lactate threshold, aerobic capacity, and neuromuscular power. Generally speaking, three or four microcycles come together to form a mesocycle.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to the three cycles is that they should form the foundation of your training plan.