A macrocycle is the board view of the full year of training, also know as an annual training plan consisting of a Pre-season, season, off-season. A mesocycle is a training phase within that annual training plan which usually refers to target for phase (i.e. endurance, power, etc). The goal being to peak at each high point of competition.
My big sport these days is climbing. As a rock climber, I have a very defined outdoor season. It usually starts mid to late March and ends in late October or early November. This allows me to look at my 12 month calendar as a professional athlete would. My pre-season starts in January and goes until my first big climbing trip of the year in April. This year, that trip is Red Rocks which is near Las Vegas. I will have four climbing days down there and goal is to send a route called California 12a (rated 5.12c). In order to do that, I need to be able climb out from under a roof and top out on it. In my first mesocycle, I am focusing my endurance. Just spending as much time as possible on the wall without coming off. After about 6 weeks, I will switch to more of a power endurance training which will consist of more bouldering and over hung climbing. Meanwhile, I am also play a full 90 minute soccer match once a week and going to a hot yoga at least once a week. All of this is on top of what I normally do for work which is teach a 30 minute cardio class 3 times per week. Plus any weekend adventure which are usually either snowboarding or snowshoeing on one of the days.
My second mesocycle will be from when we get back on April 10th to my first trip to Squamish. Typically, I go over 4th of July weekend. My project up there is a route I’ve only been on once, called Mrs Negative (5.12a). It’s a similar style route to California 12a, but not as over hung. My training will vary a little bit between these trips because I won’t be climbing in the gym, but instead I will be climbing outside most weekends. Short trips, but out climbing on the wall most of the day which will be great power endurance training. I am doing my sport, known in the Exercise Science world as Sport Specific Training. From July to the last trip of year (not sure when or where yet) will be more sport specific power endurance.
Right after my last trip, begins my off-season. For the last 6 years, I have taken at least 2 months off of climbing after each season. This is really important, it allows not only my body to rest, but specific my fingers, tendons and joints. In the past, my mid August I use to always injury a finger or two by straining a tendon from over training. I would climb at least 2 days a week in the gym year round plus climbing on the weekend all spring, summer and fall. It was only a manner of time before something would start to hurt. Then, I would have to tape my fingers to mask the pain in order to keep climbing. I use to run through several rolls of tape every year. When I started take an actual off-season, I stopped getting hurt. The season ends late October or early November and I take the rest of November and December off. This completes my macrocycle just like any pro-athlete would. Once January rolls around again, I start all over.
Are you training for an event or sport? Need someone to take a look at the whole big picture of your training? Then set up a Private Training session with me for a program design and I will make sure you can continue to peak in your sport. – Jason