The next level in periodization after mesocycle is called macrocycle. The length of the macrocycle can also be relatively variable – from 6 months to olympic cycle (4 years).
However, in recent years the competition calendar has been expanded a lot during the recent years, therefore instead of just one macrocycle in a year, 2 to 4 macrocycles are commonly executed. The annual plan can be characterized by the number of the macrocycles that are planned in it. Therefore, an annual plan can be one cycled (1 macrocycle), two cycled (2 macrocycles) and so on.
Within a macrocycle different periods can be found.
- Preparatory period, where the main aim is to develop general abilities (strength, endurance, technics, etc) of the athlete. This results also in the increase of the overall capacity of the athlete in order to resist for the upcoming increases in training intensity. The last third of the preparatory period can be called also as precompetitive period or the specified preparatory period wher the main aim should be the relative readiness for the upcoming competitions.
- Competition period
- Transition period
Some authors might also use pre-competitive period additionally.
Table 1. Using 1 or 3 macrocycles in annual plan.