One consideration of density of training, is how to decrease it as well. The ability to decrease density is just as important, as over the last few years I have observed strength being maintained or increased with the right decrease in frequency and the right increase in intensity. Squatting for me is high density during the GPP, decreases in the SPP, and minimized during the competition phase. Each year I am amazed that the as much as needed approach has kept athletes fresher without any noticeable patterns of strength loss or lack of growth. I use to be squat 3 times a week guy ten years ago, but now I am twice a week during the SPP and once a week at the end of the competition phase. Detraining research is very important and I hope to visit Inigo Mujika and some of the Finish researchers to see what minimums I must hit before decay begins. Everyone talks about optimal loading but without clear testing and physiological monitoring we will be doing guess work for years. Here are some beliefs.
Tempo Volumes- I keep tempo volumes up all the way till June and drop the frequency to twice a week. Hakan Andersson shared some tremendous insight with tempo and recovery and I feel I need to compare recovery volumes and actual HRV more instead of thinking that grass runs are harmless. On the other hand too many people baby sprinters and doing 2 x 150 on the grass isn’t doing anything. I have learned to replace some running, especially doing the indoors with bikes and pool workouts, but that’s because we are dealing with snow with no training camps to South Africa or other fantasy situations. The ability to stoke the fires with tempo is something I believe in, but hitting the sweet spot is an art.
Core Training- I do core circuits in the GPP but drop them in the late SPP in favor for total body circuits. Body circuits in the SPP and early comp season once a week are great ways to keep the body fit without doing more classical running. My biggest mistake was doing too much geared down strength and not enough movement based GS in the past. The circuits were too fatiguing and now I include more total body work and calisthenics, something that is hard to organize at first. The art of just enough is tough with circuits as you want to challenge the body but also use it as a way to allow for fatigue of the most important stuff, speed and power.
Complete Rest Days- 9 out of 10 times I will do something super light to help with athlete wellness, but the art of a great day of rest can be super vegetable video came sessions or getting out of the house and playing some mini golf with friends you have not seen in a while. The social and mental side of training is so important and we need to have athletes write down the size of the smiles on training logs just as much as the kilos of weight used. My challenge is to keep athletes focused and having fun while training, and each year it becomes harder to compete with entertainment options they are getting bombarded with. Complete days off must be used wisely and I tend to give time off with a lingering cold as light colds are sometimes just germs and not overstraining.