Reverse Periodization

Nice to see at least one other Belgian here :smiley:
I’m in the same situation but I’m thinking about completely changing my winter training this year. I’m going to try Reverse Linearized Periodization and focus on intensity during the winter. Shorter and less boring sessions… I want to try out the TCTP program from CTS but I’m going to reduce stress by extending my “weeks” to 9 days iso 7. At my age (57), it’s probably safer to build in some more recovery.
Fact is that I’m never racing and my main events during spring/summer are long duration events at fairly low intensity. So when daylight clock changes end of March, I will start focussing on duration and low intensity. Probably going Polarised at that time with a single hard session per week for strenght/speed maintenance. The rest will be longer rides outside at low intensity and one group ride on Sundays (which usualy isn’t really hard for me, unless the real tough guys are all present).
That should follow the rules of doing more specific work getting closer to my target events as in Joe Friels logic.

Hey fellow citizen!
As a matter of fact, I’ve used the TCTP program from CTS last year during September/October. While effective and quite adequate for autumn months, it was also very intense (many Vo2Max and threshold), not so varied, and mentally challenging. Spreading it over 9 days is probably a good idea.

PS: on top of being from the same country, your user name suggests that we could be working in the same industry :wink:

1 Like

This is totally in line with my thinking, and I have been working hard with my pro-coach friend to help me design a program like this. The problem is winter anerobic benefits are mostly lost by the time you get to peak season and you don’t really need 5+ months of ANEROBIC focus so he keeps pushing me back to traditional linear periodization. I think I am going to figure out how to sell it to him to help me design the perfect compromise :slight_smile :slight_smile: He knows team sky made it work some how… Requires more research. Maybe CTS has it figured out. I like and respect much of what I hear from CTS (not sure about all of it) but I also believe they are sales focused organization so they do what sells and hard winters is an idea that sells. i.e “Sweet spot base” :slight_smile:

Regardless this idea totally aligns with so many people riding style that if it can work it’s great. Meaning hard winter and polarized during the spring sumer totally makes sense too. This is exactly one annual training plan (ATP) I planed on creating when we launch our coach jack ATP features.

The second idea is how to a perfect traditional periodization plan that transitions from a winter indoors into spring outdoors in the way that fits the “traveller/trip” style of riding. This can mean starting your build period earlier than most serious racers do, so maybe start build in early December and finishing build in March which also can be done by finishing with more of a polarized approach. The down side is that Feb/March are big months and a Feb big month indoors is not great. I am working on a Coach Jack solution to these for sure and will plan on offering both options.


@Alex Don’t worry. i was absolutely not planning on doing 5 months of HIT. I plan to do one cycle of the TCTP program. Since the program works to a peak at 8-9 weeks and I will extend weeks to 9 days, that will make about 11 weeks. If things go well, i will start about half december but my situation is not really normal at this point…
I had a thyroid lobectemy 11 days ago to chirurgically remove the right half of my thyroid. The reason is there was an overactive nodule in the right half that produced way too much thyroid hormone.
I was eating like a horse and still loosing weight. Continously overactive and consequently exhausting my body and overloading my stomach.
I’m feeling quite well at this point and last week I tried a simple aerobic session on the trainer. Things felt ok for the first 30-40 min. Then, within a couple of minutes, it started getting hard, really hard, impossible to continue… I never felt tired, was nose-breathing and my heartrate was low. Nevertheless, in a couple of minutes I was halted as if my pedals were turning in concrete…
Tried again last Friday, same symptoms. Called the endocrinologist today and she told me i shouldn’t worry. On the contrary, she said that it looks very promising and that probably the left half of my thyroid was in the process of taking over all the work. I was relieved to hear that. Did another low intensity session today at 60% and was able to complete 75 min of endurance work without any negative impact.
To give you an idea of the impact of the chirurgical intervention, my resting HR in the morning dropped by 11 beats from one day to another. HRV is continously high compared to the last 2 months average. Slowly getting some weight back. I can now settle in the couch and really relax, without having to force myself to get calm.
So from here to about half december, I’m not going to do any structured or hard training. I’m just going to go by feel and my focus will be on minimizing loss off Aerobic fitness. If by half december, my hormone levels are stable and the doctor gives me green light, I will get back to serious (but controlled) training.
@Baboune I’m since 2000 a technical engineer specialized in neurological diagnostic equipment and have some experience in pneumologie and cardiologie. Apart from the COVID period, there is a yearly congress for physiologists and cardiologists at our company where they always ask for someone to perform a pulmonary function test with gas-exchange, lactate and ECG monitoring. I’m always candidate number one and had the occasion of doing a full lab test free-of-charge already three times. I have a pretty good idea where my VO2max is :smiley: and I can tell that it isn’t close to what Garmin or Polar is trying to convince me off…

Sounds like you are making very good choices. Espeically a base period after injury/surgery, when you start feeling better just be careful even when you do feel good. I think 9 times out of 10 when people injur themselves is when they start getting that euphoric place of feeling good… I know you (and I) have been around the bush and likely more sensitive then many 40-year old kids :slight_smile:

I wish you the best of lucky in a speedy recovery, yes it’s so easy to let our minds run away with us only to hear the doctor say “sounds good.” … The internet is a terrible place to self-diagnose issues… Lucky you on the free lab tests (I guess :slight_smile: )

It’s interesting, Joe Friel says if your performance target is long duration then it is not reverse periodization to start with high intenisity moving to long low intenisty it is just periodization. :slight_smile:

But I think the way people use the terminology reverse is a good way to differentiate this approach.

There is more detail in the last edition of “The Cyclist Training bible”. Base 1 and 2 are normal base periods. Things get “reversed” from Base3 on and through Build periods.
I’ll have to reread to fully understand the concept that is, as you’re saying, not a fully Reversed Linear plan.

I have that and read it a while ago, should re-read myself. Generally we are just talking about “names.” The concept is the same, if you goal is long endurance rides you might want to front-load your intensity.

I just always see or hear about this burnout phase when riders do continuous hard training from winter to spring. So between this high intensity period “base” and the build period it seems there should be a 4-8 week lower intensity recovery period before building your volume up with a bit more moderate intensity in your rides. Which is the same as this TrainingPeaks article seems to be talking about “Transition Period.” They say “develop base.”

Moved this to a new thread since it will likely be more useful to other people here.