Running Health: Training Load

What is Training Load? 

Training Load is a measure of how much you have trained in the last seven days compared with a typical week from the previous month. Training Load can be used to keep the progression of your running distance to a reasonable level, by guiding you to the correct balance between increasing fitness but not over-training.

Training Load is important because it has been found to have a strong relationship with injury risk, where ‘spikes’ in the Training Load increase the risk of soft tissue injury in the subsequent days/weeks.

The graph below shows a period of sensible progression, followed by a period of under-training and then a ‘spike’ of over-training, where distance has increased too quickly. Prolonged weeks of intense training might soon lead to over-training, which will contribute to an increased risk of overuse injuries and fatigue. Prolonged under-training, on the other hand, will result in a loss of fitness and a significant decrease in athletic performance.

How can I improve my training load? 

Keeping your Training Load in the optimal zone for as much time as possible allows you to maximize your performance and minimize your injury risk.  You can keep your Training Load in the optimal zone by following the distance recommendations made in Running Health.

Training Load can be optimal whether you are completing a relatively low running volume (mileage) per week or a very high running volume, it is just important that you train to the volume that your body is accustomed to. The ability to cope with higher Training Load is very individual and will depend on running experience and physical fitness.

It is important that you listen to your own body and do not try to run through pain/injury. The relationship between Training Load and risk of injury is specific to you as an individual. If you want to reduce your risk of injury, ‘spikes’ in Training Load should not repeated too frequently.

Also, it is important to recover well in between your running sessions. More information on some recovery approaches is here.

How can I tell if my Training Load is improving?

The Training Load screen provides a 28-day view of your Training Load, taking account of your running data for the past 2 months. The graph below shows different training behaviours. The profile on the left shows a mainly consistent training pattern with Training Load spending a good proportion of time in the Optimal zone. The graph on the right is the result of a more sporadic training behaviour, with periods of under-training and two ‘spikes’ of intense / over-training within the 28-day period.

Using the Recommended running distance / volume to optimize your Training Load

Based on your Training Load, NURVV Run provides you with a recommended distance for you to run over the next 7 days. This value updates daily to give you a 7-day target into the future. Following this advice will help you to avoid ‘spikes’ and ‘dips’ in your Training Load.

The recommended volume is provided in the Dashboard underneath the Running Health trend and is also available via the Training Load screen in Running Health. Following the 7-day recommendation will ensure that your Training Load returns to the Optimal zone.

If you are under-training or in the optimal zone the recommended volume will be a range between a lower and upper bound. If you are already above optimal the recommended volume will be your recommended maximum distance for 7 days into the future.

Use the 7-day allowance to help you plan your training week in terms of number of sessions and distance to be covered in each session.