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Reverse Periodisation- training during winter; The base mile fanatic isn’t necessarily right!


“We do work in the off season, but it’s short and sharp”
Brett Sutton

Day in and day out you’ve trained hard to improve your form. You’ve invested lots of sweat, discipline, time, energy and nerves. But every bit of it was worth it because you were able to improve. And those intervals and fast sequences even began to feel easier than before. The cherry on top were all of your races during which you could truly feel your newly gained speed and form. Now winter has come and daylight is scarce. Temperatures are dropping and life in general feels rather gloomy. But your trainer has no mercy and tells you to go outside for your long and slow training sessions.

You can hear and read about it pretty much anywhere: Winter is the time during which the base endurance should be trained and the fundaments for the next season are built. This is true! Further more it is said that this is the time for doing many, many base miles. This however is wrong!

For sure, you should be going outside and training, at least on your home trainer or your treadmill (find instructions on how to motivate yourself in uncomfortable conditions here) because sadly no one has ever gotten fitter while eating cookies and drinking a hot chocolate in front of their fireplace. But how should you use your overcoming of your inner self to your advantage?

Lots of studies were able to prove, that the trainings quality is more important than its quantity. This means that a short but intensive training has a bigger trainings effect than the idea of doing long and slow training sessions. There’s even a study which shows that with only a couple of sprint trainings, each around 4-7 x 30 seconds one can greatly improve his endurance performance. Therefore in comparison to slower trainings, it’s possible for an athlete to create improvements in a shorter amount of time.

Someone who trains smart and intensive can leave the base mile fanatic standing in the dust without having to spend as much of their time. Surprising? Yes and no. It is surprising as people don’t usually associate sprints with endurance. However it’s true that an athlete like Usain Bolt for example also accomplished (part) endurance performances for his world record! (Read this, to learn more)

Now why should I be training in EB (or even SB!) during winter?

A training is successful when the body is to give the body impulses which then trigger an adaptation process. Does a week- or even month long base/ slow training seem like an efficient trigger for this process? Not really. Not only does this kind of training get boring fast but it also only conserves (at the most) a middle fitness level, if you can’t manage to at the same time greatly increase your trainings volume. When looking at the lives of most athletes, this creates problems. Because according to traditional views winter, when daylight is scarce and temperatures are low, is the time of the year during which most of the long trainings should be done.

How do I do it right?

The optimal solution is to smartly combine slow and fast sessions. This is where 2PEAK comes in, because this is exactly how we work. The best of both worlds is fused and trained in a healthy manner. Due to that the athlete isn’t always switching in between summer- and winter form but is able to improve from each year to the next. 2PEAK will make sure that you can use this cold time of the year to its full potential. All while adapting the ideal trainings mix to your personal schedule, life and circumstances. You can cancel your planned training session at any time.

This procedure is called Reverse Periodisation, where the “reverse” is referring to the traditional view. We at 2PEAK aren’t the only ones with this opinion. Brett Sutton, one of the most successful short and long distance coaches, shares our views and also believes that “we really need to break once and for all this dogma of doing ‘base miles in the middle of winter.’” Click here to read his full article on the topic


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