In 2009 I arrived late at the party with regards to running - fortunately not wasted and covered in sick like I would have a few years ago. So this year, although I am following a plan that periodises my season, it is one that's necessarily abbreviated starting in February and ending in September.
The concept is the same as a full season in that it's split into blocks, each building on the previous and each introducing a new training emphasis while maintaining the previous. The theory behind this being that it will lead to an utterly heroic peak come the end, while reaching said peak in a safe and progressive way. Let's ignore the fact that I appear to have fucked my knee up yesterday and temporarily ignore the slings and arrows of real life which get in the way of cunningly planned theory.
The season is divided as follows:
Phase Length Emphasis
Prep: 4 weeks. Conditioning body to volume
Base 1: 4 weeks. Building mileage, maximise long run, slow tempo work.
Base 2: 4 weeks. Maintain mileage, slow / medium tempo work.
Base 3: 4 weeks. More medium tempo work, greater emphasis on basic speed.
Threshold: 5 weeks. Fast tempo work and increasing basic speed, some repetitions.
VO2 Max: 5 weeks. Intervals and repetition work.
Peak: 4 weeks. Heaviily reduced mileage and races.
Post: A Few Days. Getting wasted and eating McDonalds.
It is advisable to modify your training paces every 4 weeks or so as the body will frequently take that long to adapt, and also to take advantage of increase fitness. To do so I run a race at least every 4 weeks and derive new training paces from those performances (based on a 5k time or a 5k equivalent time).
Needless to say none of this matters when you are sitting with your heavily iced knee, overdosing on anti-inflammatories with your leg elevated on a beanbag. What do I know....