What the heck is training load? Simply put it looks at the volume and intensity of your workouts to manage recovery and reduce your risk of injury.

Stephanieruns Fitness

April 15, 2018 Newsletter

Training Load? What Does that Even Mean?

Do you ever find that running has a lot of technical terms? Do you scroll through twitter and find yourself googling what the heck does that even mean? I know when I first started running almost ten years ago I had to do that, and it's okay if you do it as well. Today I want to tackle one of those terms that's thrown around and help you understand what it means and how you can adapt your training. So let's talk about training load. I'm sure you have a basic understanding of the term but I want to go a bit deeper to help you understand how you can adapt your training based on balancing your training load.

Training load is the intensity and duration of your workouts. You can look at it over one workout or a time period such as a week or longer. Since most people do a weekly training plan let's talk more about your weekly training plan and training load. So let's say you just went for a run and you ran 5km, that would be your duration, (you can also use time to measure duration) but how do you determine your intensity? There are a couple of ways to determine your intensity (how hard you're working out). You can look at perceived exertion, and there are a couple of scales you can use for this, eg) 1-10, and you self rate how hard you're working out. Another way, which is my preferred way is using your heart rate. Your heart rate doesn't lie, you can't fudge those numbers, it'll tell you exactly how hard you're working.

When you're writing out your weekly training plan you need to consider your training load. By now you're probably asking how can I do that? The number one thing to remember is you need to let your body recover from your workout. If you have a tempo run at race pace on Monday, speed or hill work on Tuesday would be too much. You can follow the hard/easy method of scheduling your workouts. So if you have your tempo run on Monday you should schedule an easy workout on Tuesday. The only real exception to this rule is that you can do two intense workouts back to back provided that they work different systems. Meaning you could do a strength training workout the day after your tempo run, but tracking your recovery is key to know if your body can handle the workout. Another way to balance your training load over a longer period of time is to have weeks where you dial back your mileage. Usually this is recommended every third week. 

To successfully monitor your training load you need to have a good understanding of your recovery. Another reason it's important to understand your training load is for when life happens and you need to rearrange your workouts. Understanding your training load will allow you to have a better understanding of scheduling your workouts and how to rearrange them if necessary.

Weekly Challenge: Tracking

This week I want to challenge you to log your workouts. I'm not asking you to change your training plan, I'm asking you to log your training with more details. At the end of the week you can use this data to assess your training load.

I want you to track the following things for all of your workouts this week:

Duration (time, distance)

Intensity (heart rate or RPE)

How you felt before, duration, and after your workout

Write this down for a week and come back to it next Sunday and go over the data. Reviewing this data will help you train smarter. 

Let me know how this goes or if you have any questions when you're looking over the data.

I'm not feeling today's workout.

This is a question I get a lot. 'I'm just not feeling today's workout, should I push through it?' The answer really depends, but let's look at some situations. Why are you not feeling today's workout?

Is it because you're sick? I always recommend resting when you're sick, I find your recovery will be quicker if you just let your body rest.

Is it because you did a really hard workout yesterday and it took a lot out of you? Absolutely you need to scale back your workout. You need to look at your scheduled workout, was recovery already factored in? If you have an active recovery workout you're probably okay to proceed with your workout but always listen to your body.

Is it because today's workout isn't your favourite? Well you're probably okay to go ahead with your workout. Usually the workouts we dread the most are the ones that work on our weaknesses.

I hope this helps you understand training load better. If you have any other questions feel free to message me or reach out on social media.

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If you have any running questions you would like me to answer in an upcoming newsletter send me a message!

Let's keep the conversation going all week on social media! Let me know what you thought of this newsletter.

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Stephanieruns Fitness

461 North Service Rd West
Oakville Ontario,  L6M 2V5 - Canada

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Disclaimer: Always seek medical advice before starting an exercise program. This newsletter is not medical advice. Medical advice should be sought from a medical professional. Stephanieruns Fitness assumes no liability for any injuries as a result of the above content.