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Load management: loadability, load & complexity.

27 October 2020
Christophe Roosen is the co-founder and coach of Trenara. Runs a marathon in 2:33:34. Follow him on IG @chroosen.

Training load, loadability & complexity are well-known principles in the science of sports. In this article we’ll discuss there terms, because we just love sharing knowledge!

Increasing loadability is key. To increase your training load over time, you first want your body to be adapted to the current training load. In other words: you want your base to be as broad as possible. Let’s call that base ‘loadability’: the ability to accumulate training load. Use your slow runs and submax intervals to increase that loadability. The share of higher intensity miles is compared to the total training volume is smaller during this training period.
When there’s a mismatch in the loadability vs load rate, you’re not only facing a higher risk of injuries, but all the effort you make during your runs won’t be as effective as you want it to be.

When do you work on loadability? Well, during off-season, when your not peaking. For professional athletes that often means during winter time. For us as amateurs that depends on the goal we’ve chosen. Don’t start your training just 3 months before your goal race – unless you’re not willing to give it your all. Allow your body to get ready for that race specific training plan. Build your base. The broader and stronger that base, the higher your chances of success.

Training load is about your tempo and longer runs. Loadability is a prerequisite for getting in shape, increasing your training load is a prerequisite for hitting that top form. Increasing your training load also takes time. The tempo runs in the first week of your marathon plan aren’t the same as they are in week 10. The intervals rep in week 2 won’t also be the same as in week 7. Increasing your training load takes more effort and sweat: these are the hard training sessions.

The ratio between load & loadability shifts to the former when you’re in your race specific training weeks – let’s say the last 2 to 3 months before your target race, depenbing on the race distance. If you start your training early, you’ll be ready for these harder weeks.
Rest weeks are important in the training periods with higher training load. The intensity of your training sessions also necessitates a resting period once you ran your goal race. Your body must be recovered before starting a new training cycle.

Less important to us as runners is complexity. Running is a pretty linear movement – except when you’re really tired 😀 The running load is relative even and constant. We don’t do splits like they do in tennis, we don’t run sideways or backwards like in many team sports. Muscle coordination is a little less important to runners – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train it. So don’t neglect your core!
Did you know that sports professor Ross Tucker expected a 25% increase in injuries after the restart of the football competitions after the Corona break? Because the preparation period was that short and some specific game situations couldn’t be trained during lockdown (because of contact), the risk of injury increases tremendously.

For us as runners load and loadability are the most important factors.
For those who want to (re-)start running, Trenara is not (yet) the ideal partner. We’ve got no training plans to help you building up from zero. For ‘start to runners’ working on loadability is key.
That’s why we’re planning to develop time-based training plans. At this moment the core of each training must contain a given distance. Adding the time element to our core takes, well, time. More than we’ve expected, but we’re living on hope 😉


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