Training Tip Tuesday: Adaptation
|July 3, 2012||Posted by Katy under Running, Running Tips, Training Tip Tuesday, Triathlon, Triathlon Training, USATF|
Welcome to my first installment of Training Tip Tuesday!
Every Tuesday, I plan to discuss a brief tip or “food for thought” about training that you can maybe implement into your current or future training plan.
This week I want to discuss the concept of adaptation. Adaptation is the idea that the body will change or acclimate itself when stress is applied to it. Furthermore, the body will change in a way that it will allow it to better handle any additional stress.
According to the USA Track and Field Level 1 Curriculum, adaptation displays three different characteristics:
1) The first is the specificity of adaptation. This means that adaptation is specific to the particular stress that is placed on the body. Our body will react and adapt in a specific way that allows it to cope almost identically with a similar stressor in the future (such as speed training). However, the ability to handle a different stressor could be greatly reduced or remain the same. It is important that whatever stress we are putting on our body is specific and sends a clear message to what adaptation the body needs to do.
2) The second concept is Matveyev’s Model of Periodization which is a representation of the different periods in a training plan and how the body responds to the training load. (Here is a very good slideshow explaining the concept in more detail). In a nut shell, there are four different training periods in a typical mesocycle (usually one year): preparatory period, transition period, competition period, and transition period. Depending on which period you are in determines your volume and intensity.
During the preparatory period, your volume is going to be higher but your intensity will be lower. As you move towards the competition period, your volume will be lower but your intensity will be higher. If the training is done correctly, athletes should “peak” at the end of competition period (such as at a state meet, goal races, etc).
I plan to discuss Matveyev’s Model in more detail next week, but it relates to adaptation in a simple way. The first time a new training stimulus is applied, there will be a short decrease in fitness. However, the body will recover and adapt and as a result, the fitness level of the athlete increases and will continue to increase. However, if over time the training stimulus or stressor is not applied, the body will regress to a lower level of fitness.
An example would be my own running. When I did speed work back in 2010 in preparation for my first half-marathon, I saw noticeable improvements in my times from week-to-week every time I did speed work. I ended up running my first half-marathon in under two hours and that race still stands as my PR. However, now a year and a half later, I have not done speed work in almost a year and I am significantly slower than I was in late 2010/ early 2011. I have not applied a different training stressor (400′s, Yasso 800′s, tempo runs, etc) to my training and I am not forcing my body to adapt and get faster. (I am still trying to get to the bottom of this leg pain I’ve been having off and on since November.)
3) The third and final concept of adaptation is time frames. It takes time for the body to adapt to different intensities, volume, and even the weather. Typically, if the body is put through the same stimuli day after day, it takes 3-4 weeks for full adaption to occur (although building endurance can take a little longer, about six weeks, depending on your fitness background). Adjusting to the weather (cold or heat) can take around 14 days. This is why it is important to research the typical weather for a big race you may be training for. It is ideal to train in similar conditions so your body is already adapted to the weather you will be facing.
I hope this tip was helpful and let me know your thoughts on this topic or this series in general! I hope to have more to share once I have my ACSM Personal Trainer certification. However, in the meantime, there are a lot of concepts from the USA Track and Field curriculum that I am excited to share.
Disclaimer: While I am USATF Certified Track Coach, I am not a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) or Certified Running Coach. As always, for specific exercise counseling, see your doctor, a CPT, or certified coach.
Source: USA Track and Field Coaching Education Level 1 Curriculum.