Periodisation refers to the arrangement of specific training elements into a unified plan with the aim of producing a single peak race performance at the end of the season. Prior to the 1950s, the planning and sequencing of training sessions were relatively crude; runners adopted common-sense training principles involving a basic cycle featuring hard work (with stress and fatigue), then recovery (with repair and regeneration), then an improvement in performance which leads into another cycle all over again. In the 1950s, New Zealand coach Arthur Lydiard pioneered the first major periodised training system which prescribed an intentional separation of the training season (macrocycle) into distinct phases (mesocycles) and outlining the order in which different training sessions are to be performed.

In this article series, we will specifically focus on one such non-linear approach called the Multi-Tier Training System. This was proposed by Dr David Martin (Exercise Physiologist) and Peter Coe (Coach of Seb Coe) in the 1980s as outlined in their famous classic 'Better Training for Distance Runners'. Here, we will learn how to precisely structure various training assignments into a unified periodised training plan that (in the authors' opinion) will best support an athlete's development.

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