One question most athletes want an answer for is, “how should I train during my season?” While this article will be broad and general in scope there are some specifics that you should focus your attention toward when it comes to in-season training.
The last article I wrote provided an opportunity for you to learn something about regeneration. To take it a step further, your in-season training should have that exact focus: recovery / regeneration.
Why should you primarily focus on this aspect when training for the season? Because it all boils down to being prepared for the next match or game.
In-Season Training: How To Be Ready For Game Day
Let’s take an example of a player that practices five days per week with 1 game or match within that time frame. There's a couple questions that need answering here:
- How do we fit training into the mix?
- How often should you train, otherwise known as frequency?
- How long should each session be, known as duration?
- What’s the appropriate intensity level?
For this specific athlete, I would suggest training 2-3 times per week (frequency) at no more than a 45 minute duration with intensity being peaking earliest in the week and tapering to more of a regeneration type workout 1-2 days prior to gameday.
Intensity should be based on the demands set forth by your sport.
Are you a contact athlete? Distance athlete? Is your game mainly psychological?
All of these aspects play an intricate part when determine training frequency, intensity and duration. Athletes want to avoid training so hard that you deplete your glycogen storage system in muscle tissue. This will make performance on game day near impossible or at the very least increase the probability of injury associated with poor motor function and fatigue.'
More is not essentially better. What’s important is the quality of the work put into each session. Hence, why I urge you to keep sessions at a high intensity for less than 45 minutes.
To gauge your intensity give yourself a scale of 0-10. Zero being a figure similar to sitting around. Ten representing complete muscular exhaustion. Ask yourself if it would be appropriate to train at a level 10 one day before a game? Likely not, unless if you’re not dressing. Your body needs time to heal after practice, games and training.
Factors such as dehydration, DOMs, nutritional demands and rest should be considered when planning training. If you slept poorly last night and have a scheduled practice today, it may be best to focus on your hydration and nutrition opposed to training that day.
Ultimately, you want to perform your best on the field, not in the gym. Granted hard work in the gym pays huge dividends to your potential on the field, but much of those efforts should have been completed in the off-season.
Why do I stress duration so much? Again, it circles back to intensity. Intensity isn’t just how hard your work, it also pertains to how often and for how long. Muscle tissue is much like a rubber band. Stretching the band too far results in a loss of elastic recoil, or how quickly the band will snap back. If you stretch and shorten rapidly for a long period of time, eventually you will wear the band to the point that it tears, shreds of simply won’t stretch any longer and snaps.
Muscles have that same reflex. However, they also possess qualities that allow them to heal. Every time you lift a weight, you create small microtears in the muscle’s tissues on a cellular level. Those tears require water, nutrients and time to heal.
So it’s probable that 45 minutes of level 10 intensity and 45 minutes of level 5 intensity would invoke different chemical responses within the tissue, i.e. soreness, lactate and regeneration. Short, high intensity bursts shock muscle tissue, but don’t create the same fatigue effect that longer duration bouts do.
Hopefully, you’ve learned a little about fatigue, rest, recovery, duration, frequency and intensity of a workout. Also, I hope that you have a better understanding of how you should be planning your training based around practices, games and primarily being in a state of muscular readiness to play. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section of feel free to email me at email@example.com