How to manage your training loads
Managing your training loads is more about how you plan and prepare for your training than it is the actual training itself. Goldie locks is a great way to visual training load – too much and you run the risk of overtraining (which can lead to over-use injuries and decreased performance), too little and you don’t get enough training stimulus to improve performance (low training volume can also lead to increased injury risk due the lack of physical preparation), just right is where your training optimizes performance with the lowest risk of injury.
Fitness vs Fatigue
Training is stressful, and it increases fatigue, which means every time you train your actually “de-training” a little bit. To adapt to the training stimulus (which is to improve performance) you need to recover from that training session. If you do not recover well from a training session and then perform another training session you are actually going into a deeper fatigued state. By training more while in this fatigued state you are simply adding to the fatigue and making harder to recover. Eventually you can hit a point of no return which is often referred to as over-training (insert link to over-training article). Hence why recovery (insert link to recovery article) is essential to the sports performance, you train to get better yet your body actually adapts from the training when you are not training, rather it’s when you are recovering. When you get the balance right between training and recovery you’ve hit the “just right” zone, this is where you get better.
Less is more and more is less
It’s often a misconception that the more you train the better you will get. This statement does have some truth to it (more training will offer more chances to improve) although, it should also state, so long as you can recover from “more” training. This is where you can get caught out by training more and more without adding in the extra recovery. As your training age increases (the years of training you’ve completed) you’ll find you can tolerate more training as long as you match it with the right amount of recovery. Young athletes need to be careful not to do too much, keep it simple and be patient, if you stay consistent you will eventually be able to tolerate more training yourself. This can also be referred to as the minimal dosage effect, i.e. what’s the minimum amount of work that I need to do to get best results possible.
Have a plan
Planning your training can go a long in helping you get the right balance between training sessions and recovery. Planning is also a great way to monitor and manage your training loads. The plan doesn’t have to be concrete but it’s a good idea to help work out how much training you need to do to get the best results. The first place to start with your planning is at the end. Sit down and establish your goals and set targets for along the way. Once you’ve got your goals in place work your way back to where you are currently at. It really helps you visualise how much work you need to do to achieve your goal. You might find that you’ve got a bit ambitious and need to re-assess your goals or timelines. Your plan will never be perfect but it at least it gives you a guide and if something comes up and you need to change the plan then do so, just keep in mind what you want to achieve.
Understanding and managing your training loads can be your secret weapon to getting the most out of your training whilst making you resilient to injury. Keep it simple, plan > train > recover > repeat.