©1995 Dave McGovern--Dave's World Class
- 1. Set Goals! When are your key races and how fast do you want
to walk in those races? Periodization is a very effective way to plan workouts
so that all physiological systems are running at 100% on important race days. To
map out an effective training schedule you must have concrete performance goals,
and know when those big races are.
- 2. To begin the periodization process count back 7 to 14 days
before your goal race or races--this is your taper period. The idea is to be
rested while maintaining high VO2 and lactate threshold levels. To do so you
should cut total mileage and number of intervals by 1/3 to 1/2 at least.
Intensity should remain high--you must continue to walk fast and with excellent
technique in the days before your races.
- 3.Count back 3 to 6 weeks before your taper. This is your
lactate threshold period. Your main focus should be on raising your lactate
threshold walking speed--the speed beyond which high levels of lactate begin to
accumulate in the muscles and blood. Training should consist of 2 to 3 LT
sessions per week in addition to the usual recovery/technique sessions.
- 4. 0 to 6 weeks before the threshold phase is the optional VO2
max period. Raising VO2 max will increase your ability to take in oxygen while
walking at high speed. Steady-state workouts at 87 to 95% of max heart rate and
interval workouts at 95 to 100% of max heart rate should be undertaken two to
three times per week during this period. Be Conservative--don't even think about
using a VO2 max period unless you've been walking competitively for at least two
- 5. Before your VO2 max or threshold period count back as long
as you have available--3 to 9 months or more. This is your endurance base
buildup/economy period. Your main focus will be building general and
racewalking-specific endurance, as well as developing solid economical
technique. Whereas lactate threshold and VO2 max improvements constitute
primarily enzymatic changes, improvements in endurance represent structural
changes--increased capillary supply to the muscles, increases in the size and
number of mitochondria within the muscles, strengthening of ligaments and
tendons. These structural changes take a great deal of time to develop, as does
good technique--and without these changes lactate threshold and VO2 max work
will be counterproductive or damaging.
- 6. Finally, before the endurance/economy period is the 1 to 4
week active rest phase. After each hard racing season the body must be given a
chance to recover. Racewalking should be severely cut back or eliminated.
Fitness gains will be maintained by pursuing alternative activities--biking,
rollerblading, swimming, hiking. Choose activities that you enjoy that you've
neglected during your hard training and racing seasons. Have fun! Give yourself
a full physical and mental recovery before embarking on next season's training.
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