As many of you know I have been working on the Sprinter’s Compendium for some time now. I have over 630 pages of content, and I justed started filling in the gaps in Chapter 8 Periodization. What I have included below is a very rough snippet of my upcoming book on the transition phase for the periodization of sprinters.
Transition- Many coaches within a training session implement active recovery between intervals. Research has shown active recovery between repetitions in practice has numerous benefits. In the transition phase, the philosophy of active recovery extrapolates to annual planning. The transition phase is a planned break in between macro-cycles of an annual training. Planned breaks do not mean an absence of physical activity. Instead, it means time away from the high intensity and loads of training specifically related to quality sprint work. In a transition phase, it’s an excellent opportunity to do healthy things away from the track. The sprinter getting away from high-intensity training is good for their body, soul, and psychology. Cross training is a wonderful option to maximize the benefits during the transition phase. Swimming, biking, basketball (playing a game of horse), and rowing are reasonable cross training options. Heck, even Usain Bolt was caught on film during his documentary playing soccer with his buddies in Jamaica. Soccer might not be my first choice of cross training, but people have to get away from the grind. During the transition phase, workouts in the weight room are dramatically reduced in scope and density. In this phase, weight room work can implement posture buttressing or hypertrophy lifting. Whatever a coach decides to apply it’s important that active recovery is the goal. Massage, partner-assisted stretches, and yoga are excellent options during the phase. It is also important to sit down as athlete and coach to discuss goals for training in the subsequent phases. The conversation should also include a debriefing conference about what worked, didn’t work, and reestablish expectations or training group culture.
If a sprinter is injured, a coach may want to implement some of the aspects that are part of a transition phase. For athletes, breaks are not always planned, and it is important when things go bad a coach prepares a plan of action to make the most of a terrible situation. If an athlete needs to take a break due to injury, a coach might want to reconsider where they might wish to place the nearest coming transition phase. There have been times where the planned recovery phase might be removed entirely to make up for lost training or to reacclimate the body to different skills or stimulus they have not seen in their absence from regularly scheduled practices. Sometimes it is hard to make an overzealous athlete dial training back during a transition phase. These type of athletes don’t allow for themselves to recover and risk injury down the road when they are expected to complete more taxing workouts. If you are an overworker or coach one, it’s important you give them strict guidelines on what they are supposed to do during this phase. Additionally, it is important to fill their schedule up with planned modest recovery activities to give them structure, and a feeling of comfort knowing their transition phase is time well spent during their annual plan.
A transition period should build around religious holidays or vacations. As coaches, we all know athletes with good intentions who try to maintain training schedule during these times away from the track and coach. Unfortunately, many times these athletes find themselves without proper facilities or guidance to complete a thorough workout correctly. A lack of facilities or direction can lead to improper training or worse injury. Realities, during holidays or vacation, makes it best to plan the regular break periods as transition phases. During these times away from the coach keep training simple so it can easily finish without a lot of equipment or help. Vacations and holidays mean a transition may not fit exactly where a coach wants to put the phase. However, sometimes if you cannot beat them you must join them. Figure out when the athlete must take a break, where are they going to take place, how long will they be staying, and plan accordingly.