Periodization is a blueprint of sequential periods of focused training that guides the coach and runner in the acquisition of specific characteristics of fitness. Training periods are divided into macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles.
Several ways to periodize your training:
1) Linear Periodization
Progressing from high volume/low intensity to low volume/high intensity.
2) Reverse Linear Periodization
Progressing from low volume/high intensity to high volume/low intensity.
3) Block Periodization
Sequencing specialized mesocycles, called blocks, that concentrate on only a single or a couple compatible abilities at a time using a large volume of workouts, and training multiple fitness factors consecutively rather than concurrently. Block periodization includes 3 types of specialized blocks: (1) accumulation, which develops basic abilities, such as technique, aerobic capacity, and muscular endurance, (2) transmutation, which uses shorter blocks that include high-intensity workouts to develop race-specific abilities, and (3) realization, which develops speed, race-specific tactics, and recovery prior to the race.
4) Undulating Periodization
Drastic variations in volume and intensity either daily or weekly throughout the training program. Based on the theory that if a training stimulus is repeatedly presented in the same way, its effect diminishes. So instead of repeating the same stimulus, you constantly change it—from week to week and even from day to day. Undulating periodization can serve as a way to maintain (or even increase) aerobic development during latter mesocycles of a macrocycle, which is often neglected in a linear periodization program, when the latter mesocycles focus on intensity.
5) Menstrual Cycle Periodization
Structuring training around the cyclic hormonal variations of the menstrual cycle.
Which method you choose depends on your physiological strengths, running background, timeframe for adaptation, and the duration of the race you’re training for.
For more info, get my latest book, RUNNING PERIODIZATION: TRAINING THEORIES TO RUN FASTER.