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Quick Primer on Periodization

I haven’t blogged in a while. A big reason for that is that well, I have two kids under the age of 5, am trying to run a successful coaching business, staying true to my family and train for my second Ironman in two months. Not an easy load to juggle.


Now that I’m tapering for Ironman World Champs, my kids are in school/day care and some time has opened up and well, you might see a few more blog posts from me over the next several weeks.


First on the agenda is clearing up this whole “reverse periodization” theme that once again, is making its way around the Internet.


Lets start off with defining periodization…a few examples from our friends on the interwebz:


*The systematic planning of athletic or physical training.

*An organized approach to training that involves progressive training of various aspects of a program during a specific period of time.

*The long-term cyclic structuring of training and practice to maximize performance to coincide with important competitions.


Now – based on these generally accepted definitions of periodization, can someone please explain to me how periodization can be reversed, outside of spelling it backwards?


You can’t…and that’s why “reverse periodization” is a bullshit term made up by coaches trying to sell you "state of the art" training. If your training plan includes ANY kind of systematic variation of duration and intensity over a period of time, you’re periodizing your training. There’s no way, I repeat, NO way to reverse it.


The same goes for linear, non-linear and/or undulating periodization. Your training plan is periodized or it isn’t – there are no adjectives that can describe periodization other than maybe "good" or "bad" depending on how well your plan is designed. Either you do it or you don’t. Simple as that.


Now, the methods that a coach uses with their periodization for individual athletes – that’s a different story altogether.


Any “coach” who’s worth their salt in being a coach will evaluate each athlete as an individual, determine what their strengths and weaknesses are, address their abilities or lack thereof, plan out a season (or hopefully more) with regard to the goals of said athlete and start to map out a periodized training plan that will help said athletes to reach their full potential, whatever their chosen sport may be.


So from here on out, if you ever see the phrase “reverse periodization” in the heading of a blog or social media post….here’s some quick and easy advice: ignore it and move on knowing that it’s a bunch of BS marketing. 

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