From our staff coach, Michael Donnelly.
Traditional training plans usually begin with high volume / low intensity and gradually move to low volume / high intensity as the race season approaches. This is the basis of periodization for endurance athletes and the basic idea is to move from general training to specific training so that the body can adapt to the stresses of training.
Periodization is a great concept but not very practical for those who must endure winter. An alternative is reverse periodization. Reverse periodization is where athletes focus on power and speed in the winter and build endurance during the spring. Other benefits of reverse periodization include:
• Increased Recovery: training volume is low during the winter and your body is better able to recover and adapt to high intensity training.
• Increased Efficiency: short, intense workouts allow you to focus on your mechanics and your form.
• Keeps You Fast: if you want to get faster, you have to stay healthy and train to be fast.
As with all training, find out what works best for you and then stick with it.