Training Load: Your Metric For Success

This is where the magic happens! Being able to predict your training load allows you to plan appropriately and maximize your peak

How do you quantify your training? Do you know how to properly design your schedule? We need to discuss training load and why it’s one of the most important metrics for any athlete. Your body responds to stress, adapts, and then becomes stronger. By measuring this stress (training load), we can begin to dial in training to maximize your development!

Training load is a calculation of activity duration and activity intensity. The more intense your activity, the higher your training load. We recommend all athletes begin to take notice of threshold vs base workouts. How does the training load differ? What scores do you produce? Identifying these values will allow you to better plan in the future.

7-Day Total Training Load

This is an easy to use metric for all COROS users. By looking at your 7 Day Training Load in the COROS App, you will see if you’re within the recommended range of stress. This range consists of the stress needed to maintain fitness (bottom of range) or build in a safe and effective manner (top of range).  When your training load falls below the range, you are losing fitness. When your training load raises above the recommendation, you are in an overreach. If this overreach prolongs, you may find yourself overtrained or injured. For athletes in a build portion of their season, they should aim to be in the upper limits of their recommendation while also monitoring fatigue. This will give users the best training adaptation.

Base Fitness Trend

EvoLab chart showing base fitness, load impact, fatigue

With 7 Day Training Load monitoring your last week, the Base Fitness Trend measures your last 42 days. This metric is a rolling average of your training load.  The 7 day Total Training Load should be utilized to track day-to-day training, while the Base Fitness Trend is meant to show month-to-month progress.  During your build portion of the year, athletes should see a Base Fitness that trends upwards.  By utilizing this tool, you can keep track of your training load and stay on track for the entire year. 

Planning

This is where the magic happens! Being able to predict your training load allows you to plan appropriately and maximize your peak. All athletes should get to know their training and what training load each activity gives them. To start this process as an athlete, begin taking note of what your training load is after each workout. Once you begin to associate workout “x” with training load “y”, you can more effectively plan your weekly training (stress).

Athlete/Coaching Example

Let’s assume the upper limit of your range says 700 training load.  You are in the build portion of your year and want to ensure you hit right at this recommendation. If you know your long workout on the weekend produces 230 training load, then you have 470 training load left to work with.  Being aware of fatigue as well, you can begin to play with your weekly schedule in advance to maximize your training.  Below is a chart showing how the plan may look.

Specific Training Load

The last part to all of this is training load distribution. This comes back to the principle of specificity. If you are training for a long distance aerobic event, you want to build your time at that intensity leading into the event. If you are training for a 5k PR, you want to build your time at threshold or VO2 heading into the race.  Instead of using mileage to justify this, try using training load.  Remember, training load is the actual stress on the body, and should be your go to metric for ensuring proper training is taking place.  Build your training load in the appropriate zone the closer you get to your target event. 

Training load accumulated in each zone

Finally, you should research how much training load is required for your specific event. Understanding the demands of your event will allow you to better prepare for them. If you have a marathon coming up, then you should be completing well over the marathon’s training load each week. It isn’t wise or recommended to train for the distance all in one day, but building your weekly training load well above your targeted event ensures you are ready for the demands of that race. 

Conclusion

Training load is the go to metric most coaches use when designing a training plan. Ultimately, it isn’t about how many miles you train, or how fast you are training, its about stressing your body the correct amount at the desired intensity.  Having this metric available to athletes allows you to better understand and plan your upcoming weeks of training. By utilizing this metric, athletes will be better suited to properly build and achieve their goals. Start measuring your training load and go explore perfection!

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