The annual periodised plan has been adapted from Bompa (1999)18 with certain aspects of it altered to suit our athlete’s needs. It is a bi-peaking plan with two competition phases, as Isaac has, firstly his trials, and then the actual meet a number of months later, for which he also needs to be at his best. The yearly plan is basically divided into preparatory, competitive and transition phases, each lasting different amounts of time and occurring twice, as seen in Table 6.1.
The preparatory phase includes general, specific, and pre-competition time periods for which different macrocycles are employed for. During general period, anaerobic/aerobic endurance, along with anatomical adaptation (AA) is the primary focus and it is used to get the athlete ready for the gruelling specific and pre-competitive phases where the athlete will be pushed to his maximum in order to facilitate large performance gains and get him ready and peaking for the
trials. The AA precedes the maximal strength (MxS) phase because AA’s main objective is to involve most muscle groups and prepare them along with ligaments, tendons, and joints for the tasking periods to come. The MxS phase is a crucial step in developing that highly regarded attribute of any athlete, power. Immediately following the maximum strength would be power training where the strength achieved during the MxS phase would be utilised in providing a foundation for the power training and subsequently improving athlete aspects like block starting, acceleration, vertical jump, etc. The running would also deviate from aerobic/anaerobic endurance and mainly focus on maximum speed, right prior to the competition phase. Power cannot reach high standards without a high level of maximum strength because “power is the product of speed and strength”(p.210).18 Our program therefore focuses on this phase of the cycle as maximum strength is crucial to sprinting performance. 57,58
During the specific phase, more focus is shifted towards sport specific exercises and drills, building maximum speed, increasing power, and maintaining anaerobic endurance. During running sessions, less emphasis will be placed on aerobic and anaerobic endurance work, and more drills which incorporate 100m sprint specifics will be incorporated to increase that maximal speed as mentioned previously. The power phase will be an integral part of achieving this increase in maximum speed as power measures such as the vertical leap are excellent predictors of sprint performance. 39,53,57,59,60 As the focus moves from MxS, the next 4 weeks will be spent undergoing power training through several different avenues like plyometrics, speed-strength training, Olympic lifting, etc.
The next phase of the preparatory cycle is the pre-competition where a lot of the focus is on getting the athlete up to the highest level of performance without overtraining. Focus is still on developing power and MxS but the athlete will begin to taper down in order to be fresh and at the top of his/her game come competition time. Towards the end of the pre-competition phase, the conversion of power stage is implemented in order to convert maximum strength gained into power, and subsequently into sprinting performance.
As the competitive season begins, Isaac will move towards maintaining his level of performance and strength/power depending on competition load. Towards the end of the 1st competitive period, after all trials have been completed, it’s time for Isaac to have some rest. This phase is called the transition phase and will incorporate recreational activities in order to keep him “fit” and yet also provide ample amount of recuperation before his second preparatory phase for the main competitions that are coming up in a few months. Even though this phase is used as a recovery period, MxS and Power training will still be maintained in order to keep his hard earned gains and provide a solid foundation for the upcoming preparatory phase. The transition phase will last for one month.
The month long maximum strength macrocycle that we are following within this program consists of four microcycles or weeks of training. Each microcycle follows a distinct protocol of loading which sees the first week starting out with a lower volume of total training, increasing over the subsequent two weeks, and finally decreasing in volume to just above week 2 loads in the last week in order to prevent overtraining and allow the athlete to recuperate, while still maintaining the strength levels (Figure 6.1). Running load during the first week is significantly
The weekly schedule of this program sees the athlete training on 5 consecutive days, with the weekend used as a relaxation period. Main workout days are Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with low intensity and/or technical practice sessions on Tuesday and Thursdays (Table 6.2).
Each strength training session begins with a warmup that incorporates several different static sprint drills, jumping rope, and 5min stationary bike ride plus a several different core exercises. The running sessions begin with a more vigorous and subsequently longer warmup protocol which incorporates general warmup techniques and more specific technical drills to facilitate proper running form. At the end of every session, active warmdown takes place after which stretches are implemented to facilitate improvement in functional range of motion which is crucial during running67 and also to limit the potential risk of injury that is associated with limited flexibility.65 For full explanation of the warmup and cooldown, stretching and core work, please see Appendix Twelve.
Regarding the resistance training protocol, the program follows a 3-4 sets per exercise protocol which is more than sufficient to elicit strength gains.13 Three to 4 sets allows for sufficient effect of each exercise to takes place and the correct technique to be learned, particularly for the Olympic lifts. Repetitions range from 8 all the way down to 2 reps, especially for the main compound exercises. These relatively low reps are crucial in developing maximum strength as they recruit the maximum amount of muscle fibres and have a very large effect on the neuromuscular system.10 The loads will correspond with the %RM of each exercise, which will be tested during the first week following the 1RM testing protocol found in Appendix Seven. Finally, the resting periods during the resistance training sessions will be 2-3min to allow for
6.5 The Program
General warm up and cooldown, along with core training and stretching is implemented along with the program below.
The work index is used to gauge the appropriate relative load of each training session so the intensities, volumes, and sprint distances can be quantitatively modified to keep true to the periodisation principles. Periodisation is the division of time into distinct blocks for a particular period. In this case, it is the division of different training periods over a span of 12 months. The work index will be used over all of those training phases to make sure the athlete is training accordingly without overtraining and that peak level of performance is achieved prior to competition.
In addition to using the work index to monitor the program, it is also critical to gauge the physiological and psychological effects of the program. In terms of monitoring any physiological effects of the program a 100 metre sprint will be performed at the cessation of the Friday afternoon session. Times will be recorded at 5 checkpoints throughout the sprint with timers stationed at the 10, 30, 50, 70 and 100 metre points with times compared each week. This will enable the analysis of several integral phases of the sprint including the start, acceleration, maximum speed and speed endurance. Within our four week macrocycle times are not expected to show dramatic improvement, but any minor improvement will be a positive result. Additionally, after each macrocyle, the subject will be tested according As a measure of psychological effects as well of overtraining, the Profile of Mood States (POMS) will be administered. This is a test designed to measure certain psychological traits and is common tool used among sport psychologists who have used it to compare the prevailing moods of elite athletes. 80 Subjects are given a score for each trait tested according to their responses to certain statements. The six mood states used in POMS include tension, depression, anger, vigour, fatigue and confusion. Elite athletes tend to score below average for negative states such as tension, depression, fatigue and confusion whereas above average scores are expected for vigour.80 If the subject was to register high scores where low scores were expected, then overtraining needs to be considered. An additional monitoring tool for overtraining that can be utilized is Borg’s Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale (see Appendix Fourteen). RPE is an effective tool to monitor progress towards maximal exertion during exercise testing.25 In this particular instance, the subject will be exposed to the RPE scale at the end of each session to monitor how exerting each session was perceived to be. The higher intensity work outs would be expected to be graded between 16 and 20 whereas the more lighter intensity workouts between the ranges of 12-16. If any abnormally high grades are consistently registered, overtraining needs to considered.