Some of the key research on load management has found that ‘injuries and illnesses, and their influence on training availability during preparation are major determinants of an athlete’s chance of performance goal success or failure at the international level’ (3). This tell us that time away from sport must be managed and progressed effectively to ensure the athlete has the best chance of success upon return.
When an athlete trains at 60% of their normal volume and intensity for 2 weeks, it takes 10 days to progressively return to full training load to reduce injury risk.
Longer breaks in training and greater drops in volume and intensity require a longer progressive return to full training to reduce injury risk. (2).
Rest causes a significant decrease in training load. A decrease in training load means either cessation (stopping altogether) or a reduction compared with the norm – either of these performed for long periods cause reduced physical capacity (1). Upon return to regular training or competition, there is an increased risk of injury and illness associated if the volume, intensity and frequency of training are not well managed in the lead up. The time taken to return to normal loads should be proportional to the length of the break, and the amount of training achieved in this break (2). If training volumes over the previous 4 weeks are not progressively built upon, an intense training week will incur fatigue, and see a decrease in performance and significant injury risk (4).
Evidence exists showing a relationship between sharp spikes in training load and injury. Training should be planned accordingly to reduce the scale of such spikes in load due to risks involved. These risks can be mitigated by ensuring a solid base of training is undertaken prior to intensive activity or return to regular training Poor management of training loads during a period of injury or rest can lead to subsequent injury or performance decrease (2).
What is a spike in training load? An example would be running 6000m total in 1 week, over 2 training sessions, then 18000m the next, over 4 training sessions and a game. The planning would need to entail a progressive increase I metres per week and ideally staying around 10% above or below the previous weeks accumulation.
Achieving and maintaining
Poor physical conditioning leaves the athlete with low chance of success and exposes them to risk of injury. A periodised and well managed plan provides information on the athlete’s current physical status, the specific physical standards required for the given sport and appropriate training strategies to address identified deficiencies (2). This would look like a much more detailed version of the above example, with strength, power, mobility, and aerobic fitness goals, a direction of we intend to reach them with targets along the way, and the ability to be agile with out planning, adjusting when required.
At P360, we prescribe face to face Strength & Conditioning, as well as providing access to programming software our clients can access on their phone or tablet, to be guided and supervised by their clinician remotely.