What Can Mixed Modal Athletes Learn From Track & Field (Part 2): Programming Application

by Evan Peikon

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In the last installment of this article I discussed my learnings from some of the most influential coaches in Track & Field. I also discussed how said learning can apply to the Mixed Modal Athlete’s training.Forward
However, in this article I’m going to take a slightly different approach…
In this installment I will expand upon the concept from Part 1 and lay out some theoretical training templates, periodization models and extended applications in regards to Concurrent Training (which will include weekly training splits,  and priorities in each phase of training using Track & Field periodization models).

Track & Field Programming Application: The Original Mixed Modal Sport
Before we get started I would like to throw out the caveat that the model I’m about to lay out is only theoretical due to the fact that it is written for an avatar (ie- a non existent athlete). Also note that the “avatar” in this case is a well-rounded (ie-balanced) athlete with a sufficient strength and aerobic base. Therefore, the yearly training cycle will be periodized via Track & Field Models (proper) and will not be shifted in order to account for the athlete’s training priorities/weaknesses (as it would be in a real life scenario).
*Phases laid out as per Renato Canova’s periodization model.

Introductory/ Fundamental Phase (Accumulation)
During the intro/fundamental phase our main goal will be to build an aerobic base, from which we can layer volume/intensity over later in the year. The aerobic base will also serve myriads of other purposes as we’ve previously discussed in this article. In regards to strength work our main goal during this phase would be to correct any structural imbalances and build strength endurance. Our last priority during this phase would be to train the Alactic-Aerobic System (aka- CP Battery).
During this time the athlete at hand would also get touches on all Energy Systems, though they would not be a priority (ie-maintence work).

Plan- 2 strength sessions, 2 Aerobic, 2 CP-Battery (1 as heavy metcon), 1 Alactic, 2 Zone One

Intro/Fundamental Phase Weekly Split

Special Phase (Intensification)
During the special phase the Energy Systems focus would be on increasing lactate threshold/ clearance. Though the athlete would continue to get touches on the Aerobic & Alactic systems. During this time the athlete’s strength training would also move in the direction from structural work –> Max effort work.  During this time there would also be an increase in intensity, and the volume would vary in loading.

Plan- 2 Strength Sessions, 1 Lactic Power/Endurance, 1 Aerobic, 1 Tester, 2-3 Zone One

Special Phase Weekly Training Split

Specific Phase (Pre-Competitoon)
During the Specific phase the main goal is to peak all the energy systems in order to prepare for competition. During time strength work will still be completed as well although in lower volumes and at higher intensities. In fact, overall volume will drop in general (though intensity will increase).

Plan- 3 Strength (variation) sessions, 2 Anaerobic, 2 Aerobic, 1 Tester

Specific Phase Weekly Training Split

Peaking/ Competition Phase
During this phase intensity will remain high, though volume will greatly decrease in order to peak the athlete (Note- during tapers intensity should not be decreased, as it will leave an athlete feeling flat).
Also note that this phase will be highly specific to the athlete at hand due to the fact that different people requite very different things to feel “ready” to compete. Regardless of if the athlete is in top form (relative to their best/ their coaches expectations), it is important to make the athlete believe they are in this phase. Therefore, the training that is done in this phase should leave an athlete feeling fresh and confident. So… Instead of giving a split for this part of the training cycle Ill just throw out some general advice. To start, the last “quality” workouts should be performed approximately 2-3 days before competition. Anything sooner should just be what are called “sharpeners”, meaning that they leave the athlete feeling ready without making them accumulate fatigue. It is also generally a good idea to do some Zone One work leading up to the competition so the athlete is recovered come game day.

Hopefully this article sparked some ideas and gave a general idea of how you can extrapolate other sports training into ours. This information is in no way the end all be all of programming/ periodization, but is definitely a good start to get you thinking and using some concrete strength & conditioning principals.
At this point in time I’m also trying to delve deeper into decathlete programming/ periodization, so their may very well be a part 3 to this series sometime in the future…. Stay Tuned !


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