Break from the 7-day Microcycle


Posted by Coach Mark Sortino

It’s very easy to fall into the assumption that we should train around the work week. That is, use the 7-day week calendar to build our training. If we work a standard weekday job or take care of our children, then Monday through Friday typically offers less time to train while the weekends provide a bit more. Working with our coach, this 7-day “microcycle” is easy to use as a template. But what happens when we start to fatigue and fatigue often? Are we “stuck” with this model? No.

Often times athletes become fatigued with 2, 3 or 4 days of training. This may be due to multiple sessions in each day, the types of sessions in these days, or due to training and our work combined. Typically the athlete adjusts with an impromptu day off changing session(s) to active recovery. This then causes a shift of subsequent training and the cycle repeats the next week. So what’s another alternative?

The answer is a shorter microcycle. For many athletes, both amateurs and elites, we often find greater success by training for 3 or 4 days and then taking a full day off or occasionally an active recovery day. This allows the athlete’s body to absorb training, get more sleep, and reduce stress.

Coach Mark and Emily Harvey following IM 70.3 Coeur d'Alene. Photo credit: Sheryl Damron.


It’s a hard decision to make for many athletes who feel more is better. But if you're an athlete that fights a busy schedule with reduced sleep and feel as if you’re perpetually tired, why not talk with your coach and give this a try?


Mark Sortino is a USA Triathlon Level III Coach, USA Cycling Level II Coach, F.I.S.T. certified bike fitter and certified USAT Race Director who is also the co-founder and CEO of Team MPI. Mark has been the Head Coach of Team USA Paratriathlon since 2012 and has coached Paralympic Triathletes and Cyclist, Ironman 70.3 and Ironman World Championship qualifiers along with National and World Champion ITU Paratriathletes. Mark is also a US Veteran having served 20 years in the US Navy as a Naval Flight Officer and is graduate of the US Naval Academy. Coach Mark can be reached at

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