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Increase your Workload Gradually

Hey, it’s Jennifer. Today I want to talk to you about overdoing it and workload. It’s getting nice outside, the sun is shining which makes it so, so easy to go out there for a run feel like “Oh my gosh, this feels amazing, I’m just going to keep going and run like three times more than I’ve run in the last month!” 

I have definitely done that. Maybe you’ve got a race coming up in the spring, and you’ve gotten a later start on training for it than you want so you’re going to try to make up for lost time, but if you overdo it, that increases your risk for injury. If that happens, and you’re gonna have to take some steps back, and it’s actually kind of setting you back even further.

My advice 

Enjoy that sunshine and that nice weather with an extended warm-up or an extended cooldown. Or maybe going for a walk, and try to be a little more intentional about how far you’re running or, let’s say it’s the first time that you’ve been in the kayak this year or something like that, don’t take it on the longest route you’ve ever been on.

A good but imperfect rule of thumb is the 10% rule: don’t increase by more than 10% of what you’ve been doing. Again, that’s imperfect, but if you are just trying to ballpark it, that’s a good goal.

Chronic Workload Ratio

If you’re someone who loves your stats. And you like tracking your workouts in a spreadsheet and stuff like that, you might be more interested in the acute to chronic workload ratio. This is calculated by what you’ve done over the last week,
divided by what you’ve done over the last little bit. The time changes depending on what study you’re looking at, or how you’re calculating it. But a lot of people use four weeks. So what you’ve done over the last week, divided by what you’ve done over four weeks. That includes how much you’ve done and how hard it was.

If we’re talking about running for example, you would consider the mileage and how hard the effort was when you’re calculating your workload. Again, it depends on what study you’re looking at and what sport you’re talking about, but in general, this is the sweet spot for this ratio.

Somewhere between 0.8 and 1.3 is the lowest risk of injury. If you’re increasing by 1.4, or something higher than that, you’re at an increased risk of injury. If you’re increasing  at lower than 0.8, you’re probably under training a little bit.

Want more information on the ratio? You can always Google it or reach out to us and we can send you some more details about how to calculate the ratio for yourself. Just a couple of things to think about as the sun hopefully continues to shine for us, the temperatures rise, and you just want to get out there and do everything that you’ve been holding off on all winter are to just take it slow, be gradual about it and your body will thank you later this summer. 

Here at Peak Endurance Performance & Physical Therapy we help active adults in the Madison Area get back to the activities they love without pain or limitations. We see people of all ages, ability levels, and individuals trying to get back to a multitude of movements including: getting back into running, women postpartum, CrossFit athletes, climbers, gymnasts, wrestlers, overhead athletes, and your recreational weekend warrior. If you’re looking to get back to the activities that give you meaning, relieve stress, and make you feel like you again, feel free to reach out below and we’ll see if we’re the right fit for you.