What is load? 

Put simply, it’s the cumulative amount of exercise you do and the effects that has on the body?

Load can be external factors, like the distance you run in one go or number or times you play football a week, or it can be internal factors like your heart rates response to your run.

To simplify things let’s take a runner who runs 3 x 10km runs a week at an average speed of 10kmph. Here we have a number of load measurements. Frequency (3 x a week), volume (30km), intensity/speed (10kpmh). 

Whenever I get a client through the door with a new injury, I’ll want to know if anything has changed in their training and quite often we can identify a point where they had a spiked increase in their load. What does this mean? Essentially, you’ve done too much too soon, and your body wasn’t prepared for the increase in volume, intensity or frequency. 

My next question to the client is what’s your weekly load and how do you measure it? Don’t know the answer to these questions? If you’re invested in reducing injury risk, then you should! 

If a runner records their weekly distance, they are able to monitor their load. Should they want to increase it, they can plan a progressive overload, to avoid the mistake of making too big of a jump, ie. from 30km to 45km. 

Your weekly load is personal depending on what activity you do: bike distance, time spent playing 5 a-side, total time training in the gym. Monitoring and managing your own load is easier than you think and one of the most important factors in preventing injury, avoid doing it at your own risk.

Best tips for managing your load and preventing injuries:

  • Know how to measure your load
  • Know what your weekly load is
  • Want to increase your load? Progressively overload by 10% 
  • Had a break? Don’t restart at your previous load, start lower and then progressively get to that previous high