John Shepherd considers what makes for a good training regime

I was recently asked to write an overview article on what makes for a good training regime and thought I would whet your appetite as to what’s included with these two points.

A training regime is not just about the ‘physical content’, i.e. the sessions and the workout content, it’s much more holistic and includes diet and nutrition, for example, as well.

1: Don’t chop and change your regime

You need a training regime plan that’s suited to your age, level of ability and training maturity, for example. This may take some time to get right and this is where your experience, reflection and feedback and that of your coach comes into play. Once this programme is established and it’s getting results then unless there is very good reason (such as injury, change in the amount of time you have to train), then your training plan is best only tweaked, rather than revised whole-scale.

Now, this does not mean that your training plan should not cycle through various phases (micro, meso and macro phases as they are called), your training has to evolve and change to create long-lasting adaptation. But that’s just it, if you are a ‘training programme butterfly’ then you’ll not derive the adaptation that adhering to a systematic consistent, but cyclical regime will achieve.

2: Do plan your competitions and know your peaks

Competitions are what you train for. All those miles will be a bit of a waste, for example, if you don’t line up against your peers to test your mettle. However, competitions are stressful – they drain you not only physically but mentally. Do too many and you run the risk of burning yourself out. Conversely do too few and you may never reach peak and PB busting levels.

So, plan the main competitions you will be focusing on for the winter (indoors, cross-country, for example) and then for the summer (road, track for example). It’s best to work back from the main comp and ‘fit’ your training plan into this, so that it leads and guides you to your goals.

Having that focus back in January will enable you to motivate yourself to push toward that August target. And it will also make that target meaningful – so that on the day of the important competition, you will be fired up and ready to put all that training into practice.

Training group update

It’s coming into the competition period for the older athletes in my training group. Three-four at least will be aiming for good performances in the British Championships this weekend. There may be an outside chance of some making the team for the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow in March, so I will keep you posted. The main thing is that they all enjoy their sport and improve.

» Read more from John Shepherd’s performance blog here

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