Sequence of endurance work in macrocycle

Post questions and tips on aerobic endurance and aerobic fitness.

Sequence of endurance work in macrocycle

Postby fox69 » Mar 01, 2006 11:45

I have started researching some new materials for structuring my next year's worth of training including Thomas Kurz's book "Science of Sports Training" (I only have access to the first edition at present), and Zatsiorky's Science and Practice of Strength Training.

I am training for sprints and pole vault in track and field, so a combination of endurance types and explosive power are required. The issue I wish to resolve is that it appears that Kurz has a preference for developing aerobic endurance early in the macro cycle (say over the first or second mesocycles), while Zatsiorsky favours sequencing strength mesocycles prior to endurance mesocycles but only states that it is less efficient to train these in the reverse order (and this is refered to in his writing about training biased towards improving endurance).

So it makes sense to me that a good endurance base will support later training methods due to greater efficiency (so more training can be accomplished over time) and greater contribution from slow twitch muscle. But I also gather that endurance training requires a longer recovery period - both in recovery from short term fatigue, and a longer period of delayed transformation due to the higher volume of work and greater stresses induced by endurance work. Note that I am not refering to gifted endurance athletes who appear to well tolerate high loads of endurance work.

In summary, I tend to think that if Kurz's sequence is followed that the endurance work should not be maximal in nature, while Zatsiorsky's sequence favours acquisition of closer to maximal aerobic fitness more suited to endurance events than power sports. I'd also like to note that an issue that may have confused me that 'endurance' may include aerobic AND anaerobic qualities, but I have usually thought of endurance work as being purely aerobic (and referring to anaerobic endurance by other names such as 'lactate threshold work', 'interval work' etc.). Any feedback on these ideas would be appreciated.
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Further info

Postby fox69 » Mar 02, 2006 03:33

Since posting I have found the reason for Zatsiorky's recommendation in his discussion of periodisation. The reason for sequencing strength mesocycles prior to aerobic mesocycles is the superposition of training effects.

The explaination goes like this: different training types can interact in both positive and negative ways, and these impacts are not symmetrical. In this example, strength training mesocycles subsequent to acquisition of aerobic fitness are believed to effect aerobic fitness in a negative way, but the converse is not held to be true, so aerobic fitness mesocycles sequenced subsequent to strength acquisition mesocycles are believed to have no negative effect on aerobic or strength qualities (or it has limited negative impact).

It must be noted however that detraining will occur in the untrained quality anyway, which is one of the compromises of periodisation and training differing qualities/types of fitness. Zatsiorsky also notes that detraining occurs at different rates according to various factors that I won't detail here. It suffices to say that the qualities of most benefit for one's sport should be trained closer to the tapering phase before a competitive season. This could contradict the sequencing explained above if endurance was a secondary factor to one's sport.
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Postby dragon » Mar 02, 2006 08:16

In Science of Sports Training Kurz says in reference to endurance exercises in a macrocycle:-

"In the general preparation period,general endurance and strength-endurance have to be developed.This period of training prepares athletes for intensive,sport-specific training in the next periods of the macrocycle".

He later says:-

"Strength,power and muscular endurance can be maintained by working out once every 10-14 days,but not aerobic fitness,which requires at least 3 workouts per week with a training intensity of at least 70% of maximal oxygen uptake(Wilmore and Costill 1988;Wilmore and Costill 1999)".


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Re: Sequence of endurance work in macrocycle

Postby Thomas Kurz » Mar 02, 2006 16:29

fox69 wrote:I am training for sprints and pole vault in track and field, so a combination of endurance types and explosive power are required. The issue I wish to resolve is that it appears that Kurz has a preference for developing aerobic endurance early in the macro cycle (say over the first or second mesocycles), while Zatsiorsky favours sequencing strength mesocycles prior to endurance mesocycles but only states that it is less efficient to train these in the reverse order (and this is refered to in his writing about training biased towards improving endurance).

So it makes sense to me that a good endurance base will support later training methods due to greater efficiency (so more training can be accomplished over time) and greater contribution from slow twitch muscle. But I also gather that endurance training requires a longer recovery period - both in recovery from short term fatigue, and a longer period of delayed transformation due to the higher volume of work and greater stresses induced by endurance work. Note that I am not refering to gifted endurance athletes who appear to well tolerate high loads of endurance work.

In summary, I tend to think that if Kurz's sequence is followed that the endurance work should not be maximal in nature, while Zatsiorsky's sequence favours acquisition of closer to maximal aerobic fitness more suited to endurance events than power sports. I'd also like to note that an issue that may have confused me that 'endurance' may include aerobic AND anaerobic qualities, but I have usually thought of endurance work as being purely aerobic (and referring to anaerobic endurance by other names such as 'lactate threshold work', 'interval work' etc.). Any feedback on these ideas would be appreciated.


It all depends on your priorities. See “Periodization as a Trade-off” in Zaciorsky's “Science and Practice of Strength Training” (1995).

Weightlifters do some aerobic fitness training and marathon runners do some strength training--but aerobic work of weightlifters has little resemblance to that of marathon runners, and strength training of marathon runners does not resemble much that of weightlifters. Read also “Annual Training Plans” and “Principles of Sports Training” (especially those of Specialization, of Providing General and Versatile Foundation for Future Specialization, and of Specialization of General Preparation) in the second edition of Science of Sports Training. More specifics are in chapters “Strength” and “Endurance.”

Do not equate strength training and endurance training of a middle-distance swimmer (Zaciorsky 1995 p. 216) with that of a weightlifter or a t&f thrower. Different goals call for different means and different schedule of training. (BTW, look at the training loads of that swimmer: the swimming distance, the length of sets of dry-land strength exercises--it is all endurance for long duration efforts IF COMPARED to training of power athletes.)

Aerobic or anaerobic fitness is not the same as aerobic or anaerobic endurance. I explained it in Science of Sports Training. And there are more kinds of endurance than just aerobic and anaerobic. Look up the endurance definition in Science of Sports Training.
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Postby fox69 » Mar 02, 2006 22:33

Thanks for the clarification. I erred in thinking that the training of a longer distance swimmer could be generalised to other athletes. Also much of Zatsiorsky's (or Zaciorsky's) writing is about T&F throwers and weightlifters (as Thomas Kurz alludes to in his response) where the maximal strength requirement is higher than that of other sports. I'll be buying the latest edition of Science of Sports Training when funds allow, but for the moment I have enough info to start my next macro cycle in a weeks time.

Aerobic endurance work will be early in the macrocycle for my training goals. The later requirement for maintenance (70% VO2 max, 3x/week - thx dragon) most likely can't be met due to other priorities. Zatsiorsky (or Zaciorsky) does state that aerobic endurance is one of the qualities that declines fairly slowly once acquired and then detrained. I'm sure I'll be getting sporadic aerobic endurance benefits from some other sports I participate in anyway.
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