Increasing training volume

Coaches often talk about the importance of not increasing your training volume too quickly. Many running coaches say not to increase your mileage by more than 10% per week to reduce the chances of overuse injuries. For example, if you ran 20 miles last week, do no more than 22 miles this week, 24 miles next week, 26 miles the following week and so on. The International Olympic Committee also highly recommend managing Total Load for improving the health of athletes and this is an important factor in that calculation (Total load = Training + Psychological Stress + Nutrition).

The Acute:Chronic Training Load Ratio

Recently, researchers such as Dr Tim Gabbett have studied injury risk across several sports and made a more scientific formulation which we have now applied to ithlete Pro to help you manage increases in training load more safely.

The basic principle is that there is a sweet spot of lower risk when you maintain training at similar levels and only change gradually from one week to the next. Dr Gabbett’s studies show this relationship as follows:


That’s great, how do I use it?

If you import your training data from Training Peaks or Garmin Connect then ithlete Pro will now do the math for you and give you an easy to follow colour coded summary.

We have implemented this Acute to Chronic training load ratio using the average training load over the past 7 days (the acute component), and the average of the last 4 weeks as the (chronic component).

A value of 1.0 indicates that your training has been constant for the past 4 weeks, whereas a value of 1.2 indicates you have experienced a 20% increase in the past week compared to the average of the past 4 weeks.

We have used a 7 day rolling average of your training load data and coloured that line in the following way:ithlete colour coded acute to chronic training load key

All four colours can be seen in this example of a training camp, where 5 days of unusually high loads caused an increased risk on day 4, which went to the danger zone on day 5, before decreasing again, followed for 7 days after the camp by a series of low loads which carried a risk of detraining.ithlete acute to chronic training load example

For more on this very useful metric, see Alex Hutchinson’s well written article at Runner’s World  or try it out in ithlete Pro now!

See Dr Gabbett’s original work here.