Training Monotony is not about boredom, but is a way of measuring the similarity of daily training.
Today, I drove from Palm Desert to Phoenix, Arizona following a horseshit training session this morning. Fresh on my mind was the fact that I have had many of those un-mollifying lifts recently. I’m still in the throes of a training plateau, and I’m certainly not digging my 5 x 5 workouts presently. On a desert stretch of I-10, I caught up in a phone conversation with Carl Valle, who writes cool shit like this. He schooled me on the value of looking at monotony as the “strain of training and competition over time.”
This is a concept that I have no choice but to examine. I have been training and competing daily since I was 16 years old. I’m 39 now. Sure, I’ve made changes to my routine from time to time, but the routine has almost always been training at high intensity or unreasonably elevated volume levels. Additionally, baseball, by its very nature, is Groundhog Day, routine to a damn fault. This, for an elite athlete, is not ideal.
It is long been recognized the athletes cannot train hard every day. Modern training plans recommend a few hard days per week, with the other days as easier or rest days. A lack of variety in training stress, known as Training Monotony, is considered a key factor in causing Overtraining Syndrome. There is also evidence that increased training frequency results in reduced performance benefits from identical training sessions as well as increased fatigue.
I definitely have a tendency to become habitual with my training and my eating. I’ve trained for years on end at nearly identical times with a carbon copy approach. I can go weeks eating the same breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m Rainman-like when it comes to health work. I dig order. I trust I’m strong enough to make an adjustment.
Periodization might just be my move. According to Carl, it’s about creating a seasonal plan to improve and keep fresh. From umn.edu:
Periodization is an organized approach to training that involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period of time. The roots of periodization come from Hans Selye’s model, known as the General Adaptation Syndrome, which has been used by the athletic community since the late 1950s (Fleck, 1999). Selye identified a source of biological stress referred to as eustress, which denotes beneficial muscular strength and growth, and a distress state, which is stress that can lead to tissue damage, disease, and death. Periodization is most widely used in resistance program design to avoid over-training and to systematically alternate high loads of training with decreased loading phases to improve components of muscular fitness (e.g. strength, strength-speed, and strength-endurance).
Look, you know how we approach things around here. We are constantly mining for value at the margins. Additionally, you know I don’t write with rules. Therefore, I can tell you what I’m aware of in the moment without a real agenda. Sometimes, I’m simply in the market for some inspiring conversation without providing a conclusion or takeaway. I can share what’s on my mind and choose to take action later. I like that you know where my head is. That’s what makes this relationship work. You have a voice here, too. What are your thoughts on Training Monotony and periodization? Whatcha’ got?