How far in advance to plan?

How far in advance do you think it is appropriate to plan training? I have seen a post from PJ stating he thought Olu could have run quicker with more squat workouts, but it wasn’t possible. This kind of led me to thinking there is much more of a day to day perseverance regarding training than perhaps I’d thought, dependent on how you are feeling. Perhaps taking an extra day’s recovery or putting in a tempo day and shifting everything else back if necessary??

There was also a thread on the Canadian Athletics Coaching forum in which Dan Pfaff stated he had a B-plan for these scenarios. In situations like mine, where I do not have the access to therapy, is more important to take an extra day off if I feel I need it, as the recovery can’t be ‘forced’ as it can with therapy??

I am trying to plan my training right through my competition period, but I am not sure if that is wise given these thoughts. I’d be keen to get everyone elses opinion. I feel like it is most appropriate for my lifestyle to stick to the format

Mon: Speed
Tue: Strength
Wed: Tempo
Thu: Speed
Fri: Strength
Sat: Tempo
Sun: Off

Given that speed is targetted only twice a week, I feel that perhaps a two week programme is ideal in this scenario, something like this.

Mon: Speed Endurance
Thu: Acceleration/bounding

Mon: Max V
Thu: Acceleration/bounding

I also like the idea of using an unloading week, which it has been mentioned that Pintesseuvich and Surin used. I was therefore thinking because of using a ‘two weekly’ programme, the third week could be the unloading week. However, in terms of unloading this, I am not entirely sure how to go about it. Is it intensity or volume that is reduced? I’m guessing the speed work is reduced in terms of volume. Or could the acceleration session be removed entirely that week? How about weights though? Remove one session? Reduce the volume? Reduce the intensity?

On the Friday weights sessions, as advised by PJ, I would have my lighter weight sessions, allowing for Saturday to be reserved for the larger tempo sessions.

The only other issue I can think of is how to modify this appropriately when I have a meet, which will normally fall on a Saturday or a Wednesday. Perhaps having a rest day on the Friday if racing on the Saturday, then resuming as normal on the Monday, and then if racing on the Wednesday dropping the Tuesday session and resuming training on the Friday?? That way a weights session is lost and the meet is used as a speed session?

Thoughts please? Any critiquing of this would be welcome.

I plan for the whole season. You use a sensitive progression of motor capacities development to do so, according to your competition plan.

You then go into details only for a macrocycle (or mesocycle in soviet terms, i.e. one month, usually) at a time, and ready to change things as they progress.

The annual plan usefullness is that you don’t always think of the time left to the competitive period when you modify the macrocycles on the run, and giving a look to it immediately makes you aware of the time frame into which you are working.

If you have it, give a look to chapter 8 of “Periodization. Theory & Methodology of Training” by Tudor Bompa.

I do a skeleton annual plan but for detailed workouts I only plan a month in advance at most.

Do you know what? I had that book, but I can’t find it anywhere!

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

You simply have to make yearly plans in order to get all the elements lined up for peak performance when it matters. However, these plans must be more like roadmaps and have the flexibility to adjust when unforseen circumstances arise.

I like your overall template, i dont think i would rotate the elements like you have plan. If you unload every third week you could decrease vol and keep intensity high OR make the third week a test week.

Saturday meet:
Mon: speed
tue: weights
wed: tempo
thur: speed and weights
fri: rest

Wednesday meet:
mon: speed/weights
tue: rest
wed: race
thur: rest
sat: weights
sun: tempo

Also during the season since training is usually shorter you may be able to get a speed an strength session the same day:

mon: speed and weights
tue: tempo
wed: speed and weights
thur: rest
fri: neural day 3x20 and 2x5 med ball throws

or you can do short tempo work on thurs and rest on fri or move speed and weights to thursday and rest on fri.

I have an annual plan. I break that into segments of 12-16 weeks and have a rough idea of what I intend to do in each block of 4 weeks. But what I actually want them to do is done only 4 weeks in advance, or the next 4 week block.

Just wanna say thanks for the feedback guys.

tamfb, you said that speed workouts are usually shorter in season, which does make sense. From this, can I assume that it is almost a maintenance phase in terms of volume? Say 400m or so? From looking through journal’s on here, that’s roughly the sort of numbers I have been seeing from the indoor season.

To be honest, I remain pretty unclear about what the volumes of each aspect of work throughout the year should look like, and of course it varies with the individual and the type of plan. Having seen the GPP download, I can guess you’re looking at 4000m/week roughly tempo on an S-L in GPP, and I would assume this would be less on an L-S, 3000m/week? Then as you move through the year towards the season, it would decrease to a minimum of about half the initial volume?? How about Speed and SE?? I’m guessing I’m looking at 800m/week in combination at the moment, so if I was starting on an L-S GPP, I’m looking at what, 1500m or so (that would include a special endurance element too of course)? Then with an S-L GPP?? Sorry for all the questions guys. I can promise you I have been sifting through the forum, printing off pages as they are easier to read, but it is still an art putting it together, and I don’t really have the experience to do that yet, so I’m hoping I can learn from you guys.

Thanks again.

during the indoor season i would keep the vol no more then 360m, and if you only have access to indoor track i would find other means for tempo work for ex incline tread walk and circuits.

I have access to indoor and outdoor tracks, so tempo isn’t really a problem in that regard. So if you are keeping volume to 360m indoors, what would that progress to for each session outdoors??

Not a huge diff very similar 360-380.

Speed end days:
360 total vol:


390 total vol

290 total vol

Short speed:
300 total vol

340 total vol

tamfb, you have been proper helpful as always. Much appreciated! I guess the volume can be similar in a GPP and then increased slightly in the SPP as you don’t have the high CNS stress of competing.

I think the gpp will be ur highest vol and freq, then spp vol may be slightly less and freq should drop bc the int of the runs are higher.

So gpp: speed 3x per week vol 300-600m
Spp: speed 2x per week vol 360-420m
Inseason: speed 3x (including meets) vol 300-360.

Ok cool, thank you. Is this how you see it on an L-S approach then? From the talk on this board, I would argue that would probably be the best suited approach for me as Charlie pointed out in most cases, taller, leaner athletes tend to adapt better to this appproach, whereas the shorter, more powerfully built individuals do better on an S-L approach. Of course this isn’t set in stone, but I see his logic in terms of playing to your strengths.

So gpp: speed 3x per week vol 300-600m
Spp: speed 2x per week vol 360-420m

According to the system you guys use, as you do speed both in GPP and SPP, what is that defines the passage between the two (sub) phases?


GPP = mostly hill work with transition to flat speed work.

SPP = sled pull starts and lots of flat ground sprint work.

How would you set it up sprinterouge? I take it you have greater variance in the volumes of speed work between GPP and SPP?

Also, is not beneficial to have a smooth transition from GPP to SPP. I recall Devonish talking of his thoughts on training, perhaps with a specific thought to his work with Obikwelu, and he mentioned doing a 6 week block more fitness orientated (GPP) and then cutting that and focussing on speed development (SPP). This approach would suggest there is not a smooth transition from GPP to SPP.

The best season I’ve had I wrote workouts for every single day for maybe 100 days ahead! I planned vacation and everything else in, added extra sessions on holidays etc.

One night when I couldn’t sleep I put my computer on and wrote it down. It took the whole night, but it was worth it.

Now though I don’t feel as motivated, so I take it day by day. I don’t like week-planning as no week will look the same and there’s so few of them.

i would say 2-4 week periods ahead works best…access progress and go from there…