A Sample Mesocycle

I follow a more eastern block and/or Charlie Francis style of periodization.  Which, in sprint42.com language, means that I train both Anaerobic Speed and Anaerobic Fatigue concurrently.

My basic weekly microcycle is made up of Anaerobic Speed on Mon and Thurs and Anaerobic Fatigue on Tues and Fri.  On top of that, I alternate my weekly volume so that one week is focused towards speed and the next towards fatigue.  Here is an example four-week block of my “running” workout:

Week 1: Anaerobic Fatigue Focus (2600m total):

M: 8 x 100 (95%)[6′]
T: 3 x 300 (90%)[12′]
W: Active Rest
Th: 6 x 60c (95%) [7′]
F: 200m Step-downs: 3 x 200 (400+2″, 400+1″,400) [walk/job 200]

Week 2: Anaerobic Speed Focus (1540m total):

M: 6 x 30f (95%)[6′]
T: 1 x 100 (90%) [6′] + 3 x 150 (95%)[12′]
W: Active Rest
Th: 6 x 60c (50m Acc, 10m 100%) [6′]
F: 1 x 150 (90%) [7′] + 2 150 (95+%) [12′]

Week 3: Anaerobic Fatigue Focus (2960m total):

M: 6 x 100 (95%)[6′]
T: 6 x 200 (85%)[8′]
W: Active Rest
Th: 6 x 60c (95%) [7”]
F: 2 x {300 (85% 400)  [1′] + 100f (4/4 400)}  [10′]

Week 4: Anaerobic Speed/Test Week Focus (1690m total):

M: Test: SLJ, OHT + Time Trial: 4 x 60c (100%) [8′]
T: Time Trial: 1 x 300m (100%) [15′] + 2 x 200m (90%) [10′]
W: Active Rest
Th: Test: STJ, VJ + 5 x 60f (50m Acc, 10m 100%) [6′]
F: 3 x 150 (95%) [10′]

The above is a realistic example of what a mesocycle might look like.  That’s “The Clipboard”, but the reality depends on all sorts of factors. Changing/stopping a workout based on sprint times (fatigue), how the body is holding up (tightness, cramps, pain), weather, stress…is much more important than sticking to the blueprint.

Since I’m a decathlete, I also have to work 3 jumping events and 3 throwing events.  The above example is similar to what I’m doing now, in mid-December when the days are shortest and my schedule only gives me enough daylight to run (and maybe do 1 skill event occasionally).   When I have more daylight, I change my workouts based on fatigue incurred during my skills work.  For example, if I’m doing a long jump day where I do 6 full run-throughs (with or without jumping), I may completely skip a speed workout (e.g. skipping 6 x 30c) or shorten it (e.g. 6x100m might become 3x100m).

As for a weight training system, I follow a Wendler 5-3-1 system for my main lifts.  Wendler suggests main lifts of squats, bench, deadlift, and press, which I follow until certain max strength goals are hit, then I swap squats for cleans.   Additionally, I do “core” work, like planks, side planks, supermans, metronomes and some other assistance lifts like pull ups.  I will switch up my lifts based on several factors, but in general the above is the blue print.  In the Wendler cycle, the 4th week is a deload week.  I take advantage of the lower intensity in the weight room to increase intensity on the track — so the deload week is also my on-track Test Week.  I never do a true 1RM in the weight room.  However, during week 3 of Wendler’s cycles, the last set is 1 rep at 95%.  So, while it’s not true a 1RM, I definitely know approximately where it is…and thus track it along with my on track tests.

Perhaps the most important week of all is Test Week.  Results from the test week are what dictate how my focus during the next Mesocycle shifts.  See my next post for more details on my test week: Test Week — What and Why.

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Categories: Coaching, Sprinting | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “A Sample Mesocycle

  1. Gary

    Love the program Dr. Dave, am a 66 yr old sprinter, will adopt it with some modifications for age, weather, facilities, thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Gary.

    One note, for the last few months I’ve been healing from a abdominal strain. In those months, I adjusted my above template to bring down the high speed intensity. I completely removed Anaerobic Speed from M/Th. I shifted my Tu/Fri Anaerobic Fatigue work to Mon and Thurs. Then I added lower volume Extensive Tempo on Tu/Fri.

    Here’s an example:

    M: 3 x 300 (90%) [12′]
    T: 6 x 200 (70%) [job 200]
    W: Active rest
    Th: 3 x {300 (85% 400) [1′] + 100f (4/4 400)} [10′]} (Clyde Hart split 400s)
    F: 4 x 400 (65%) [90″]

    During these months I did no weights, no plyometrics…just the above type workouts. The goal was to heal and this lower intensity didn’t disturb my injury.

    Just recently, I added some Anaerobic Speed back. What was surprising is that my speed had actually increased slightly (30m crouch times and my 100m fly times) as compared to before my injury.

    I believe my original template would have gained more speed over the same period had I been healthy, but it’s interesting to see that a mix of Anaerobic Fatigue and Aerobic Fatigue actually improved my Anaerobic Speed. It makes me want to rewrite old adage “You have to train fast to run fast” to something like “You have to train fast and safe to run fast.” Training fast, without getting injured, is more the key…especial for us Masters athlete. We just don’t heal as fast as those young bucks.

    My personal plan going forward is to do one Anaerobic Speed day a week (probably Monday), two Anaerobic Fatigue days (probably Tues and Thurs) and one or more Aerobic Fatigue (Friday and perhaps some of my active rest days). Add back in weights and plyos…but at more safe intensities (for example, instead of doing a 5(85%), 3(90%), 1(95%) routine, I’ll do 4×5(80-85%)). And cut back whenever I feel I need it…always thinking safe over sorry. I think this template may be better for a Masters athlete then my original.

    Good luck!

  3. Gary

    Really like your “new” outline; you are SO correct about masters; train fast and safe, more rest or recovery days, I’m going to adopt your outline, thank you for sharing.

  4. Pingback: M40 Decathlon Title = Awesome, but Score…ah, not so much. | Sprint 42

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