This question is in essence about exercise physiology, so I was tossing up on whether to post it here or in the Fitness, Health, Exercise subforum. Anyhow. I've been wondering for a while about ideal training patterns prior to a competition, with the intention of being in optimum condition on the day, assuming no necessity to cut weight. (I ask only out of curiosity- at my level it is all training, so prior to a comp I just work as usual.)
But logically there is a period after a training session in which you will be recovering to optimum, and past which your fitness will start to deteriorate, as well as technical ability... I recognise that this depends greatly on individual factors, but where is/do you find that ideal window to be; and in what ways, if at all, do you alter when and how you train to optimise your physical and technical condition prior to a significant competition?
Thanks and warm regards,
The physiology of judo is far more complicated than that of, let's say, running. Jûdô requires considerable strengths in different fields: aerobic endurance, anaerobic power, and explosive strength. The average non-world elite judoka instead focuses mostly on aerobic endurance, and absolute strength and strength endurance, but not explosive strength, the explanation probably being that layman's exposure to exercise traditionally favors aerobic endurance and absolute and strength endurance, so people are familiar with that. Moreover, aerobic endurance has a much better retention than interval training, and is easier to do with a lower instep level (meaning, a person with poor physic can start doing aerobic endurance, but he can't really start sprint-interval training).
The question of the ideal preparation depends on age and number of competitions. I am assuming that you are aiming for people of normal competitive age who are no longer children, but adolescents and young adults 16-30 years of age. A person who has every week major contests will have a different schedule from a person who works through 2 or 3 major competitions per year. The higher your training activity that is maintained throughout the year, the better recovery ... on the condition that you do not overtrain. The definition of overtraining is precisely that training produces less performance.
In case of a limited number of competitive peaks, traditionally the concept of "supercompensation" is a training device towards which one can work. Wikipedia will suffice for a brief introduction: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercompensation
This idea certainly was big in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when EAst-Germany and the Sovjet Union made up a large part of the dominant athlete population. After spending considerable time in research and moving to teaching I noticed that many of my colleagues abroad were not so familiar with the concept and instead they talked about 'periodization'. Although the roots of periodization go back to the 1950s, its popularity or conceptualization as we understand it today, dates from much later and is mostly due to the work of Tudor Bompa. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_periodization
To effectively apply these concepts, one needs to train seriously and adhere to schedules, which is not so easy to do for common people who have a job or who are in school and may have shool exams.
Perhaps, more to the point and in simple, practical terms, you want to maximize your energy for competition. Energy is present in the muscle, in the blood, and stored in the liver. you want all three optimized, so you want a high glycogen contents in the muscle on the day you have to compete.
All having been said, do realize that no matter how ideal your preparation, humans are also psychological being, so a perfectly prepared athlete who the evening before his event finds out that his partner has been cheating on him/her, that he/she lost his/her job, or who just has a poor night of sleep may likely underperform. Having been perfectly prepared for a contest can sometimes also cause rebound stress: "I perfectly prepared for this, now I will have to work, otherwise I put myself and those who supported me to shame". Balancing the physical with the psychological is not easy. I know several judoka who were unbeatable during randori during training sessions, but who would not make it during real contests, due to stress and pyschological issues.
Nevertheless, again very practically, you do not want to do exhaustive exercise within 48 hours before the contest, and the day before the contest you should only do warm-ups, patterns of movement without force and endurance, as it takes more a than a day to replenish glycogen reserves in the muscle.