The first 4 weeks is about firstly getting back into a routine and getting my mind used to training being the main focus of each day. Then it is about making sure that my body is ok to get going again and building foundation blocks to go on and do the big hours closer to my main goals for the year. This would include specific speed development sessions in the pool and on the track/road for running, while on the bike there is little structure and a few sprints are thrown in here and there on some of the rides with hills for strength. There would also be an emphasis on core strength and stability in the lower half of the body. This year I have also started to see a physio who has assessed my flexibility and mobility in various parts of the body and has prescribed me a number of exercises to improve this to maximise my performance in other training.
The first week would be very light and probably not more than 2 disciplines per day just so that I do not over-do things. Then from week 2 I start to put in all the sessions that I would be doing when I am at full training. So at this point the frequency of my training sessions is almost normal but the volume of them is low. The general pattern of when each session is within the training week probably won’t really change through the whole year from now on. However the volume and intensity of each session obviously will and there will probably be a rest day in there to keep my body in good condition for the higher quality sessions. During this first ‘block’ the volumes would increase slightly week to week until I was doing around 25 hours once I really get going and start getting ready to move on to bigger hours and longer sessions.
So an example of the specific sessions I would do would be my Tuesday run session. This would be a session designed to develop my leg speed and power without taking too much out of me as a more normal run session would. After a 20-25min warm up with strides and body mobility work I would do a main set of: 2x(6x200 straight into 200 jog recovery) 3min rest in between each set. The effort of the 200s would be at a pace that was not all-out but comfortably fast – maybe around 3km race pace depending on ability- and fitness-level. So for me I would be looking at around 33-35sec per 200. The important part of this session, however is the recovery. It is done at a jog and not a standstill, so that the recovery is still having an impact on overall fitness. The fact that you are still jogging (and not walking) means that you are teaching your body to work aerobically even in rest and giving the session an aerobic element as well as working on your speed during the actual reps. As I move through this training block the recovery will become more and more important and it will end up becoming more specific in the speed that I will run it – probably building to running at 15km/h (4min/km or 48sec per 200).
Mobility and flexibility work will be done around sessions. So just 10min (mob) before and 10min after (flex/mob) sessions is all I will be doing but this will end up being a lot when you take into account all the sessions that will be done in a week. There may be one or two specific core sessions per week – e.g. one pilates session and one short circuits session.