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Coaching the Hurdles: Cycle Training

Source: www.coacheseducation.com
By Tonie Campbell
Date: March, 2001

The method of cycle training (variable effort training) is to adopt the principles of "diminish and return" whereas the elite level athlete can not train at maximum efficiency levels day in and day out. By varying the workload based on an athlete's ability to recover, the training regiment can produce maximum efforts without need to curtail quantity or quality.

Specific workouts are rated on a scale on 1 - 10, 10 being the most difficult. The philosophy is that an athlete can not repeat equal levels of training regiment on subsequent days. Therefore workouts, training weeks and training months vary in intensity allowing a period of recovery before attempting an elevated level of training.


Level 10
The hardest training day, week or month in the cycle.

Downgrade to...

Level 5
The third hardest training day, week or month in the cycle.

Upgrade to...

Level 7
The second hardest training day, week or month in the cycle.

Downgrade to...

Level 3
The second easiest training day, week or month in the cycle.

Downgrade (in quantity only) to...

Level 1
The easiest training day, week or month in the cycle. (Usually this period is used for race preparation, simulation and focus on high quality).

As you can see, the idea is to allow the athlete to physically recover without having to sacrifice quality in the training cycle. By downgrading, the athlete can recover physically while not jeopardizing his mental focus. The downgrade is then followed by an upgrade, which is less than the hardest level of the cycle. Here we are allowing maximum potential for quality and assuring a respectable quantity level to be accomplished.

The entire cycle thus degrades to the lowest level of the training regiment, which is generally the lightest workload but would allow the highest level of quality. This is based on a five-day, week and month training cycle.

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