Optimizing Training Load to Reduce Injury Risk

Training Load is a metric that can be used to help plan training schedules, to monitor the responses to training and to ensure that appropriate recovery is included in the schedule. Using training load on a regular basis to adjust your training behaviour can help to avoid unintentional under-training (loss of fitness) and minimize the risk of over-training, and therefore, reduce the chances of overuse musculoskeletal injuries, a runner’s worst nightmare!

Monitoring training load is important because it has been found to have a strong relationship with injury risk, where ‘spikes’ in training load increase the risk of soft tissue injury in the subsequent days/weeks. For example, Johnston et al (2019) found that ‘spikes’ in training of endurance athletes increased the risk of injury or pain being reported in the subsequent 2 weeks.

NURVV Run uses Training Load to help a runner keep their running mileage progression at a sensible level. This is achieved by showing how the distance that was covered over the last 7 days compares with that of the previous weeks. Keeping Training Load in the “Optimal” zone allows runners to build up their weekly distance in a gradual manner. Consecutive days or prolonged weeks of intense training might soon lead to over-training which will contribute to increased risk of overuse injuries and fatigue. Under-training, on the other hand, will result in a loss of fitness and a significant decrease in athletic performance.

NURVV Run displays current Training Load category and the “Recommended distance” banner on the dashboard to help the runner plan their next 7 days of running distance. To reduce potential injury risk, ‘spikes’ in Training Load should not be repeated too frequently.

The ability to cope with high Training Load is very individual and will depend on running experience and physical fitness of and individual, which is why it is so important for the runner to listen to their own body and do not try to run through pain/injury.

Ways in which Training Load can be managed are listed below:

  • Trying to stay in the “Optimal” Training Load zone as often as possible to ensure gradual progression of the weekly running distance
  • Using the “Recommended distance” banner to moderate running activity over the next 7 days
  • Allowing time for recovery in between running sessions. More information on some recovery approaches is here: Recovery for Runners