Today I would like to introduce a widely used training concept in swimming. A three macro-cycle training program is a simple concept at the high level. Traditionally, each of the three cycles are done for equal amounts of time. During my look at each of the three cycles I will comment on timing of each, and when to shorten or lengthen each cycle. The three basic parts of the cycle are:
- Cross training
In this early season period the emphasis is in the weight room. Less time in the pool and more time lifting weights, working core strength mixed with some running. Yardage in the pool is ideally heavily IM and middle distance based. Working at your aerobic threshold interval times.
Sprinters need to lengthen the cross-training cycle putting extra emphasis on strength.
- Endurance (and quickness)
In the endurance cycle increase your time in the pool with increased distance. This cycle is key for the older middle-distance and distance freestyler. As we age our bodies take more time to get into shape, always plan a little extra time in to this cycle, regardless of event, as you age into your 40s and beyond. For ideas on how to create your program for this cycle read How to Create a Base Building Program.
- Competition Preparation
This is the time to focus on skills core to racing. Starts, quickness, and pain tolerance. Less swimming with more rest. Doing your race distance, with double the amount of rest that you just swam.
Sprinters need to do hypoxic work to adapt to the pain of the last 15 yards of a race while your body has been deprived of oxygen.
Understanding the three macro-cycles are a great way to start developing your workout plan. If you are looking for a workout Swim Stroke Tools offers nine different workouts a day. Visit the Training Center for your free workout.