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Periodization and the Offseason - Or An Attempt Not To Lose It All

eebee's picture

Lose all what, exactly? I can't say that this year's training and peaking event season has left me particularly buff, but I would like to retain what little muscle-tone and muscle-memory I did achieve. After some digging around online, I found an article by Rob Bell on inlineplanet, uploaded a few years ago: Periodization Training, Part 1: How to Make the Most of Your Training.

Bell separates the training calendar into these phases:



  • Offseason
  • Preseason
  • Base Period
  • Intensity Period
  • Peak 
  • Rebuild Period
  • Second Peak 
Right off the bat, I see now that my typical year's training tends to consist of:
  • Offseason
  • Preseason
  • More Offseason
  • Base Period
  • Freak-out Rebellion Period
  • Random Peak that may or may not coincide with a race day
  • Yet More Offseason
I am going to have to do a lot more homework on this, because any periodization schedules I've attempted to follow just don't seem to fit or make any sense with my year. I think this is why my typical year's training structure is never optimized. It shouldn't be that hard for me to figure out. Perhaps I'm just expecting too much of myself? 
'Scuse all the cracking and popping as my gaskets blow. 
I agree with the Offseason theory, that we need to leave the skates alone for about three weeks. As hard as this is to do, it does alleviate burn-out later in the next season. But the Preseason and Base Period timelines generally throw me for a loop. From these schedules, I'd spend 6 weeks at the end of each year pottering around at the track, working on technique (great idea, and very much needed). And then by January I'd start to work on Base cardio. At what point do I segue into the Intensity Period? If it's June (when trying to peak in late September, early October), that means SIX MONTHS of Base cardio? 
Lathering, rinsing and repeating some of the above-mentioned cycles might work. Perhaps Bell is allowing for the ice season and outdoor speed? 


eebee's picture


I take back anything I said about the three-week skating abstinence being difficult. After skating 102 rather hilly miles on Saturday, I don't think it'll be a problem :-).


I will check back here to log what I end up doing, activity-wise, if anything at all. I have a feeling the mind will be willing, but the flesh will be...shot.

roadskater's picture

I had two weeks off-season before Carolina Century 2011

After a nice comfortable Athens to Atlanta 2011 (A2A)...well not miserable...I did as I so often do. I spent the rest of the days leading up to Carolina Century not skating AT ALL. Not even close. The original idea was to have something extra for which to train. The reality is it eliminates even the guilt about not training. 

So no big surprise that the 102 was again painful and crampy. However, after a season of almost no cramps, where it was notable that I bought a HUGE several boxload PILE of GOO and used them all summer on every long skate, I did the smart thing Saturday and while worrying about OTHER stuff I forgot to grab the 10 GOO I expected to need that day. Don't get me wrong. The rest stops were AMAZING. But I needed those on top of the gels, not instead of them. 

I might have had cramps anyway, but I am at least for now convinced that this is the bigger influence on my day that the no skating thing. Of course, there is a lot of stress, good mostly, that goes with knowing the event is coming and now hear and also oh yeah you need to skate 102 and thank volunteers and try not to be a total jerk if anything goes wrong even if you're tired and want to break down into a million little puffs of smoke particles and dissipate with a bad odor. 

So after the day of 102, I am back to not skating but am actually feeling like I will skate some in the coming days. Still working on surveys, thank yous, documenting donations, and much more to do with the 2011 Carolia Century. 

Thanks for writing something thought provoking, eebee. Oh yeah, Speed on Skates by Publow covers some of this too. And Joe Friel might as well, at http://trainingbible.com/resources.aspx

eebee's picture

Paleo Cliff Notes

Sigh. I wish I had read those Paleo Diet for Athletes Cliff Notes instead of the book! I don't even recall seeing that recovery drink recipe in the book. Thanks for the links! 

eebee's picture

Week 2 of 3 down

I am at the end of week 2 in the offseason, or the Stay-Off-Your-Skates season. I took up walking for 1 hour a day, mainly to enjoy the nice fall weather, but also to keep the Langoliers away. 

I'm not really sure how I can skate 102 miles one day and only experience long-distance type muscle cramps which go away within 24 hours, but walk for an hour a week later and feel like my hamstrings are going to snap. It's just walking! 

It seems to be everybody else's offseason too, because my local parks are practically empty! It's so tempting to ditch the walk, go home, put my stinky skates in my car and go back to the park to skate wildly over every empty inch, just because I can. No football, no cheerleaders, no dog-walkers, no boot-camps, no baseball... Not that there's anything wrong with those things, but when they're all at the park at once I might as well not bother. 

Then I have to remind myself I'm purposefully not skating right now. Not training. Sure, I could take a leisurely spin around the park ten times - round and round in circles, but that'd get old fast. Go round once and you've seen it all. That kind of leisurely skate is best done on a rail trail, out and back. 

It feels strange not to be training for anything, but then I suppose this is part of the training. 

And walking for an hour sure is boring compared to skating. It's slow and cumbersome. The mind-games start about 20 minutes into it, followed by the mind-games resistance and manic planning of things to do as soon as I've done my hour's walk. 

I will be ready for the so-called Preseason soon. 

eebee's picture

Going Out for a Leisurely Tailspin

I am hereby renaming this period the Pissed Off Season

Looking forward to the Preseason, which should begin in two days' time. And just to give myself something to live for, here's looking forward to what that will entail:

- Focus on technique

- Dryland exercises

- Cross-training (low-intensity and duration)

roadskater's picture

Pretty Funny Stuff About the Season

So the update from me is that I skated last week with (we'll call him) Walt on Tuesday, which is our day to go as slow as the slowest. Walt has started from zero outdoor skating this year and worked up to where 10K is a normal day at Country Park. That's pretty impressive. He's always looking to make incremental improvements in his skating and skates, and he's doing just that. Next year I fully expect that he'll be doing laps with some new K2 fitness skates or maybe even some speed boots and frames...unless he comes up with a frankenskate option.

We got in 5 miles or so. It was a good day for me to be out there and to have someone else to enjoy the time and to keep my mind off of myself and my skating. I just enjoyed it as skating and not as training. That's what is so much fun about going to other cities to skate, too. They break me out of the same loop. Skating is a great way to see new places...depending on the places of course. For New York, Miami and Philly I'd say that's true, at least. 

Today, I skated with timv for the closing minutes of the day and we got 8 miles in before it was too dark. I realized I was going at an OK pace (for me) having not trained any. Conditions were mild so that helps. There's still some aerobic capacity left, as I finished up with a 157 ahr, but I think I could not have sustained that for a full hour and certainly not two hours. My max hr was 172 so we weren't blasting the hills fully but it was a decent workout. 

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