Managing Your Training Load

Lavington Training Load Management | Enhance Physiotherapy

Are you struggling to find the right balance in your training routine? Overtraining or undertraining can both hinder your progress and increase the risk of injury. Understanding how to effectively manage your training load to optimise your performance and reach your fitness goals is essential.

Whether you are an athlete, a fitness enthusiast, or someone trying to stay active, understanding and managing your training load is crucial. Training load refers to the amount of stress placed on your body during exercise, and finding the right balance is critical to avoiding burnout and achieving optimal results.

It’s essential to manage your training load properly to make progress and prevent setbacks. This involves understanding the different components of training load, monitoring your body’s response to exercise, and adjusting as needed. Doing so can maximise your performance, reduce the risk of injury, and ultimately reach your fitness goals more effectively.

What is training load management?

Load management is the practice of adjusting training loads to enhance performance and mitigate the risk of injuries.

Less load leads to no training impact or desired effect. Optimal load, on the other hand, produces maximum change and improves performance.

A training load error occurs when an athlete’s training load exceeds their body’s capacity. These errors can result in overuse injuries, and additional training does not improve performance. Insufficient time for the body to adapt to training loads can lead to pathological overload of tissues.

Training load fundamentals

  • Create and sustain suitable training loads.
  • Big jumps and dips in load should be avoided. Overtraining and undertraining can both raise the risk of injury.
  • Observation of latent periods following any change in load. Injuries might occur up to four weeks after an increase in training.
  • Reduce week-to-week variations.
  • Establish a safe floor and ceiling. Determine your minimum and maximum training loads and strive to stay within them.
  • Check that the training loads used are acceptable for your current situation.
Lavington Training Load Management | Enhance Physiotherapy

Why is training load important?

Training loads that are well-planned create structural and metabolic adaptations that underpin training objectives. Appropriate training loads and adequate recovery are critical for athletes to achieve maximum adaptation while minimising harm such as overreaching, overtraining, injury, and illness. Although sufficient physical stress is vital, many athletes may experience stress from sources other than training.

Training loads should be managed to provide sufficient physical stress while balancing the coordination of other stressors, such as psychological, nutritional and lifestyle demands. It is vital to consider all these factors when planning an athlete’s overall training program.

Managing training load for runners

Managing your training load, above all else, could be the most critical consideration for all runners or sports people. Up to 70% of all runners sustain an overuse injury in 12 months. Therefore, given that overuse injuries are primarily due to tissue overload and overuse, managing your running load is paramount to minimise your risk of injury.

Safe load management means ensuring increases are done in realistic increments. Challenging our tissues is what brings improvement, but ensuring this is within their recovery capacity. This is certain to be different between runners, and it can be challenging to gauge your tissue capacity. Therefore, we encourage all runners in the early stages of running to start conservatively and make gradual progressions so that these boundaries are not tested beyond their capacity.

Contributing factors of training load

To effectively manage running load, it is essential to understand what contributes to increases in load first. The following are some examples of load characteristics associated with running:

  • Running distance/time/duration
  • Running pace/speed
  • Running frequency
  • Running technique/form
  • Terrain (hills, camber, paths, grass etc.)
  • Footwear/running shoes (including overall mileage)
  • Muscle strength/power/flexibility
  • Previous injury history
  • Sleeplessness/fatigue

The trap many runners fall into is unknowingly completing runs that make multiple load increases within a single run, accumulating to a significant loading spike. For example, running an equal distance but slightly faster and inclusive of some hills/surface change after a stressful week and less sleep.

In summary, being aware of the factors that lead to increases in training loads and ensuring that only one element is progressed in realistic increments is most important for injury prevention purposes in the early stages of running.

Lavington Training Load Management | Enhance Physiotherapy

Final Thoughts on Managing Your Training Load

Managing your training load is crucial for achieving your fitness goals and preventing injuries. You can create a sustainable and effective training routine by listening to your body, scheduling rest days, and gradually increasing intensity.

Remember, it’s not about pushing yourself to the limit daily but finding a balance that allows consistent progress while prioritising your overall well-being. So, take charge of your training load and watch your performance soar!

Book an appointment with one of our highly qualified physiotherapists at Enhance Physio before starting a rehabilitation program. We can advise you on the best course of action for your condition.



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