The weather is warming in south west Montana and for many of us, that means we are becoming more active and perhaps even entering some races. It is all to easy to increase training volume quickly, especially with a deadline looming or the “I used to be able to do that” mindset. With this comes the increased risk of over training and injury. While pushing our bodies to improve is a good thing, there is a fine line between overreaching and over training.
It is widely accepted that there are greater benefits from exercising more, rather than exercising a little (what is referred to as the dose-response relationship of exercise). However, rapid or large increases in training volume or intensity can increase the risk of overuse injuries and increase general fatigue. As a rule of thumb, it is best not to increase training volume more than 10% per week. Also, if training intensity is increasing, training volume should decrease. Consistency from week to week is also an important consideration, with research showing that dramatic fluctuations in training load increase injury risk.
With this in mind, here are some practical tips to manage training load and injury risk.
- Have a training plan and stick to it. Consistency is everything!
- Keep a training journal
- Plan and adhere to recovery weeks every 3rd to 4th week
- Progressively increase training load with respect to your current level of fitness.
If in doubt, seek some advice from a fitness professional. With a little bit of smart planning, your fitness will reach new heights!