Thursday, April 26, 2012

Phases of Training

I'm developing a new practice called SkateForm, and first of all credit where credit's due, the first of this type of practice for WCR was piloted by Jackie Daniels, a high-intensity practice focused on strength and fitness, which I named SkateFit, and when I was spitballing with Kola about this new practice that would be a low-intensity practice focused on postural stability and mobility, movement, and endurance, she said that was too much of a mouthful and why didn't I call it SkateForm.

So now I'm running trials for this new practice with my partner in crime, Mimi MeOW!! and I started the first trial practice with a little bit of time in front of the whiteboard, because I am a nerd. It's a pretty different practice for the league, I wanted to place it in the scope of training phases and objectives, and most pointedly, training strategies for those phases and objectives.

But now I'm trying to write it down, because track time is precious and if you read up beforehand, we can get right down to business. By which I mean kegels.

So roughly speaking, the phases of training go like this:

  1. health
  2. fitness
  3. performance
  4. peak
Different purposes for different people, in fact I have named the phases for their purposes. Strategies to address these purposes will manipulate three basic variables:
  • intensity
  • duration
  • frequency

I. Training for health

This guy is your couch potato, a sedentary guy, and what you want for him is to just be active. His training intensity is going to be low, it only has to be low for basic health benefits and if it's too high, it won't be fun and he won't do it. His training duration—how long he exercises in any given session—can also be fairly short, say thirty minutes or even less per session. Since he's doing low intensity and short duration training, his training frequency—the number of sessions he trains per week, can be relatively high—say most every day of the week.

II. Training for fitness

Here is your typical gymgoer, an active person, and what she wants is to be fit. Her training intensity is going to be moderate, nothing crazy. Probably some type of cardio—treadmill or elliptical or stationary cycle— and possibly some circuit strength training. Her workouts will be of moderate duration, say sixty minutes, and of moderate frequency, say 3-5 sessions per week depending on her schedule.

III. Training for performance

And this is where you train for derby, you're an athlete. What you want is to kick ass when you play. Your training intensity is generally high. Though it's slightly more complicated than that, hold that thought. In case you were wondering, a two hour practice is a long workout. And your training frequency should be 3/5 practices per week. That doesn't meant three-fifths of a practice, it means three high intensity key workouts and up to two low intensity recovery workouts per week.

For those of you keeping score, SkateFit is a key workout. SkateForm is a recovery workout.

IV. Training for peak performance

This is the extra high intensity training that you do if you want to be a jammer or an All-Star blocker. It's very performance-specific so I will leave it at that; but if you've been following what I've been saying, you should have figured out that the intensity of this type of practice is very high, the duration is very short, and the frequency is few and far between.

In summary:

Purpose Intensity Duration Frequency
Health low 30 minutes or less 6-7 days per week
Fitness moderate 60 minutes 3-5 days per week
Performance high/low 120 minutes 3/5 days per week—i.e., 3 key workouts, up to 2 recovery workouts
Peak high/low 120 minutes in a 3/5 plan, very short bursts of very high intensity training in select key workouts

I learned all this when I was studying for my exam, I have put it in my own words but this is basically what I was taught. It really helped make sense of my own fitness narrative; believe me, I have been through all of those stations. And it has helped me the most to understand, not even so much how to plan my training, but how to accept my training and how not to judge it by the wrong standards—e.g., when I used to go to the gym, I did the same workout five days a week, why am I so tired after just three practices? Because. They're. Harder. And. Longer. Workouts. And if I'm not tired after three practices, I should be working harder in them. I shouldn't be spreading myself evenly over five workouts, I should be playing the high-low because that's how you train when you're an athlete. Ha ha woah, I'm an athlete. I used to give myself stickers for going to the gym, and before that I gave myself a sticker if I put on my gym clothes even if then I lay down on the couch in my gym clothes.

Anyway, SkateForm is the low in high-low. It's not a baby practice, and it's not an easy practice. I mean, it is easy. Easy is doing something for you, though. Stay tuned.