Cycling Your Training and Recovery Periods
Periodization is the modulation of volume and intensity over a time frame, to stimulate gains and allow recovery. We routinely see periodized training in many sports for the benefits of increased gains in performance while allowing for good recovery in between in order to avoid the dreaded “plateau”. A good example of periodized training can be seen in Oly lifting protocols. In CrossFit programming there is a method to the madness, but it is not technically periodized in a fashion most people would be familiar with. The 3/1 schedule allows for some rest, but to take it a step further we can periodize our CF and recovery efforts. For strict CrossFitters, periodized rest breaks should be incorporated as well to give the mind and body a serious break. This will do wonders for the body and central nervous system.
My personal preference of forced recovery for most strict CrossFitters is a week of lowered intensity (50%) about every six weeks. A full week off should be taken every 12 weeks. If you are like me, and I would assume most of you are, a whole week of nothing or reduced intensity stuff may have you climbing the walls. Still, stick to it and get it done. I am not saying you need to lay on the couch with a gallon of ice cream and totally fall off the wagon, just let the physical stuff ease up a bit. Some very light work is all that should be done at this time. Take the time to finish house projects, read, or best of all, spend time with the family and do stuff as a group.
As far as minimizing intensity, I would recommend toning down the WOD’s a bit in whatever means you find useful. Or, do 3 rounds of the CrossFit warm up and some light skill work of some kind and call it good. Or do something completely different that you may not have done in a while or want to try.
A break like this is a good thing and you will come back hard charging and with renewed energy and focus. I only write this post because I am at this point right now. Yesterdays squat workout was the bright light that made me realize this. I am beat up and tired right now and some down time will be welcomed. I looked back in my journal and realized I had not eased up since the week after the CrossFit Games. Now is the time. If you are in my boat, relax and come back stronger. For everyone else, keep hammering away, just know when to say when! See you on the next evolution!