General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Combining linear and nonlinear periodization Rss Feed  
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2013-11-02 8:56 PM

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Subject: Combining linear and nonlinear periodization
Would you consider this? I'm personally trying alternating blocks of 6-12 weeks (haven't decided some of the specifics yet). Theoretically could avoid burn out, minimize injury risk, and maximize results. Plan to research this in the future, but curious if anyone else would even consider it.

PS not recruiting or anything else, just curious what others might think.


2013-11-02 9:48 PM
in reply to: apglave

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Subject: RE: Combining linear and nonlinear periodization

If I understand what you're proposing, I'd be concerned with two things:

  1. Unless you're using something like Training Peaks Performance Manager Chart to estimate and manage training stress, it would be difficult to know sometimes whether your training load is increasing, decreasing, or is stagnate.
  2. By using a mish-mash of training structures, the end result may be lackluster compared to choosing one or the other and sticking with it consistently for several months at a time.  An analogy is someone who has the goal of loosing weight and improving their threshold power on the bike.  If they spend a few months focusing on limiting food consumption to lose weight followed by a few months eating in a way to support better training and training to raise their FTP, they will usually see more total weight lost and greater gains in their FTP than if they spent the same number of total months trying to lose weight and raise their FTP at the same time.

Here's a short article by Matt Fitzgerald on Training Peaks that discusses linear vs. non-linear periodization that you may find helpful:  http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articles/running/linear-vs-non-linear-periodization-in-running.aspx

 

2013-11-03 6:44 AM
in reply to: TriMyBest

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Subject: RE: Combining linear and nonlinear periodization
Thanks Don.

Taking training stress is always a little finicky. I'd probably go with excel, but I'll have to see what training peaks offers in terms of analysis.

The potential lack of full gains is why I'm also considering longer blocks. I don't think the goals would necessarily conflict, but there is potential for that. What Matt mentions (basically burn out with the intensity) is one reason I want to combine the two.

Theoretically combining the 2 could allow better adaptations with increased flexibility. But it's all theory as I'm not aware of any studies on it. I'd run both as flexible models (some people would call this random since schedule and training response influence workout). I'm kind of thinking out loud here...

Have you read Kraemer and Fleck's book on nonlinear periodization? It's completely strength focused, but really hits the theory really well for a lay oriented book.

I completely agree with your concerns. That's why I want to experiment myself before trying to run it as a study. I also think it would be fairly unworkable for many situations because of the level of background knowledge needed and the level of planning needed.
2013-11-03 7:52 AM
in reply to: apglave

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Subject: RE: Combining linear and nonlinear periodization

No, I haven't read either of those.  I'm still learning much of this myself, reading everything I can get my hands on, and listening to anyone with either practical or theoretical experience.  I'll have to add those to my reading lists.

Hopefully, some of the other very experienced people here will weigh in.  I think this thread has a lot of potential for some great discussion that we can all learn from.

 

2013-11-03 1:54 PM
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Subject: RE: Combining linear and nonlinear periodization
The main issue with asking questions like this is that they tend to draw out the black and white responses as each side feels called to defend what they practice.

Based on fitzgerald's article, it would sound like ANY intensity higher than endurance zone during base phase would fit into the "non-linear" model.

The linear model as described by him is just ONE way of modeling someone's training and I think that for most people sticking to it strictly limits development of full athletic potential. The other side of that coin is that during the winter when I'm catching up with time spent with my family or on work or school projects, I may not be interested in developing my full athletic potential.

in that respect I'd say that combining linear and non-linear = a non-linear approach. Like adding any color hue to a white paint, right? it's no longer white.

I look at training in terms of blocks of what I want to accomplish...and those blocks are USUALY 6-8 weeks long but sometimes 3 and sometimes 12. It just depends. Keeping variety to maintain emotional interest is also important.

Finally every athlete is different and sometimes, to quote an old phrase from my Outward Bound mountaineering days, "You gotta go to know!" (The question at the moment was, Is that mountain pass passable?)

So you gotta go there to know what's working for you. One athlete may tolerate X% age of weekly time in threshold or Vo2 zones (or pick whatever zone) for 8 weeks with no signs of overtraiing and on week 9 he/she gets hurt. Another athlete may go crazy with more than 2 weeks of "base" training and switch plans. Everyone is different. If the main focus of training is general to specialized, then you'll be on the right path. i.e. look at what energy systems and skills are most needed for your goal race and make those the main focus closest to the race. It' doesn't mean you can't included other systems ... they just won't be the main focus.

Keeping in mind what qualities contribute to endurance performance, you can tailor the different phases to allow you to peak for your event....and refine that approach for subsequent events. And if you are lucky enough to be able to coach others, or to have a large group of people all follow a similar training profile, you can see the different responses in different folks. I had one guy that would get injured with any more than 2 1/2 weeks of Vo2 max or suprathreshold work. So we just didn't do it until it was go time. In the long run, I'd want to look at mechanics and fit to see what was contributing to injuries at higher intensity but he lived elsewhere so that was not really possible. Our reltionship didn't last long because all he wanted to do was go hard and I knew from experience that his injuries always coincided with harder work. he was a "base training as long as possible" until 2 weeks before his goal race. It kept him injury free.


Have fun and let us know how it goes.

Edited by AdventureBear 2013-11-03 2:01 PM
2013-11-03 2:04 PM
in reply to: apglave

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Subject: RE: Combining linear and nonlinear periodization
Originally posted by apglave
  • ..Theoretically could avoid burn out, minimize injury risk, and maximize results.

  • an optimization puzzle! I love those. These sound like 3 competing objectives...one or more will likely need to be compromized. how do you define these things as an avoidance issue? ie if you have avoided injury, and gotten faster, have yo ugotten as fast as you possibly could ? (ie maximized results). How do you know what the injury risk is without flirting on the edge of it? With high performance, things break and need close monitoring...it's like walking a razor's edge of recovery and training at the pointy end of the pack. Think race car vs. honda civic. Race cars need constant tuning and parts replacement. Honda civics just run endlessly...but not nearly as fast or as fun. Just some thoughts to get you going. Love to see what you come up with.


    2013-11-03 2:06 PM
    in reply to: AdventureBear

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    Subject: RE: Combining linear and nonlinear periodization
    As usual, solid advise from AdventureBear.

    The combination is truly non-linear, which is what most modern training program are designed as.

    It's periodization both on macro (week over week) and micro (session over session) level, hence non-linear.
    2013-11-03 3:17 PM
    in reply to: AdventureBear

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    Subject: RE: Combining linear and nonlinear periodization

    Originally posted by AdventureBear
    Originally posted by apglave ...Theoretically could avoid burn out, minimize injury risk, and maximize results.
    an optimization puzzle! I love those. These sound like 3 competing objectives...one or more will likely need to be compromized. how do you define these things as an avoidance issue? ie if you have avoided injury, and gotten faster, have yo ugotten as fast as you possibly could ? (ie maximized results). How do you know what the injury risk is without flirting on the edge of it? With high performance, things break and need close monitoring...it's like walking a razor's edge of recovery and training at the pointy end of the pack. Think race car vs. honda civic. Race cars need constant tuning and parts replacement. Honda civics just run endlessly...but not nearly as fast or as fun. Just some thoughts to get you going. Love to see what you come up with.

    There's that car analogy again!  

     

    2013-11-03 3:47 PM
    in reply to: AdventureBear

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    Subject: RE: Combining linear and nonlinear periodization
    Suzanne offers lots of good thoughts and saved me a bunch of typing.

    I would suggest this series of articles are well worth reading when it comes to building a training program:

    http://provincialtriathloncentre.blogspot.ca/2009/04/micro-structur...

    Beyond that, while properly periodizing a plan for an athlete is not simple the structure is; go from general training (variety of intensity and volume) to specific training that more closely mirrors the demands of racing.

    Shane
    2013-11-04 3:30 PM
    in reply to: TriMyBest

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    Subject: RE: Combining linear and nonlinear periodization
    Originally posted by TriMyBest

    There's that car analogy again!  

     




    I stole that one...
    2013-11-05 12:03 PM
    in reply to: AdventureBear

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    Subject: RE: Combining linear and nonlinear periodization
    Lots of good thoughts from everyone. I would consider it non-linear technically since it would be a hybrid. Training prescriptions have so many potential variables that it's nearly impossible to run a great study because of issues with making sure training loads are equivalent. It's definitely going to be a fun experiment.

    I'm thinking that there may also be implications for sustained peaking (as has been seen in some team sports) that could allow better season long performance. It may be that the flexible element is the key for most AG athletes to better handle lie stress and changing schedules.

    Might be that for your example person you could try an alternating approach so the high intensity would alternate with base weeks.

    I'm really just curious. I think a lot of potential is being left on the table because people get stuck in one method of training. Since I have to be familiar with as many as possible for work, I got a wild hair and decided to give it a try. It may be a spectacular failure, but it's going to be fun.


    2013-11-12 10:09 PM
    in reply to: apglave

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    Subject: RE: Combining linear and nonlinear periodization
    Have you read any of Verkhoshansky Block Periodization "conjugate-sequence system"

    http://i42.tinypic.com/dmd16o.png


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