As we break into 2020, it is time for me to throw a collective blanket over the entire Purple Patch athlete population and aim to capture as many as I can in my Coach’s Corner overview of the BUILD PHASE of training. We march forward and transition from the shackles of Postseason toward the phase of training in which the harder work begins. As we collectively hold hands and strive to greatness, let us take a step back and define our mission, the expectations, and breakdown of the general cycles of work in this block of work.
The Mission: The name of the phase provides insight into the mission of the block of work. We are not creating the finished athlete in this phase and, while you may have early season races sometime during this phase, this represents a build of fitness, resilience, and readiness to optimize the key race-specific training that is coming up in the weeks and months following. Outcomes of this phase include:
- Continued technical development
- A platform of tissue and musculoskeletal resilience via strength and mobility work
- Improvement in cardiovascular conditioning
- Increased muscular resilience (resistance to fatigue breakdown)
- Improve top-end speed/power (the antithesis of race-specific)
Expectations: "Patient development." Those are the critical words in this phase, as we are not seeking an accelerated jump to the goals above. The initial weeks of this phase are the most patient we have ever been in terms of load and stress, reflecting as much a spirit of the postseason as a classic build phase. That is good news for the latecomers to the training journey, as well as those who raced late last season. We should hurry slowly to fitness, and think about four cycles of training (every 3 weeks) which gradually layer on each other to find improvement. You are going to get very fit and we do not need to rush it. In fact, we should not rush it. Be patient and cautious in development, please.
In any given week of training you will begin to be met with challenge, sometimes serious challenge, but do not let it daunt you. On the line of aggression and caution, I would like very Purple Patch athletes to find themselves two steps back from the line -- highly cautious and patient. Let patience creep as thin layers and do not be in a rush.
The final expectation is anchored around so many of the habits that you, the Purple Patch athletes, have expressed in our community pages over the last weeks. These are:
- Prioritize sleep
- Be present in training sessions: Focus on doing things as well as you can on the day -- not on the outcome or result of the workout
- Consistency in strength
- Dial-in fueling and eating habits
As you will see, more than ever, we are basing all training, education, and programming within the context of the pillars of performance. Buy into them, live by them, and you will excel.
Cycles of Training: We are going to break down the overall training rhythm into three-week cycles. This rhythm aligns with the training at the Purple Patch center (upon opening), the Purple Patch Squad, then applied to individually coached athletes as appropriate. In general:
WORK WEEK ONE: A strong week of work with heavier biking emphasis and plenty of low cadence work.
WORK WEEK TWO: Another tough week with the session to flag being a weekend hill-based tough run session
TRANSITION WEEK: A few lighter days of rejuvenation, as well as some higher intensity and trackable ARTERY sessions (Watch Meetings with Matt on Key Sessions HERE)
For the broad population, the first week of this cycle begins the week of January 6th and then repeats four times to make up an entire build phase, with each cycle of work progressively building in load and effort. You can begin to see how patient you can afford to be in terms of training consistency and fitness build. It will come, and come quickly, if we are patient.
I hope this helps provide context and insight. This is an all-important phase of your development, but not one to be rushed -- so let's do this together and get cracking.