Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Managing Your Training Stress Balance

A nice article on Managing Your Training Stress Balance over on the trainingpeaks blog by Matt Fitzgerald.

Managing your training stress balance in this way involves ensuring that:

1. Your training stress balance is slightly positive (+5 or so) on race day: most competitors perform best with a slightly positive TSB.

2. Your chronic training load reaches its highest level two to three weeks before race day: your CTL is a measure of your fitness level, and you want your fitness level to peak close to your peak race—but not so close that you don’t have time to reduce your fatigue level with a proper taper.

3. Your chronic training load never decreases for two consecutive weeks after you begin focused preparation for a peak: a declining CTL indicates declining fitness. It’s okay for your CTL to decline slightly when you reduce your training to promote recovery, but if you reduce your training enough to see your CTL decline for two straight weeks, you’re going beyond recovery and entering the realm of “detraining.”

4. Your chronic training load never increases at a rate exceeding 5 TSS/week: increasing the training load faster than 5 TSS/week typically results in performance decline or injury.

5. Your TSB does not drop below -20 more than once every 10 days: a TSB of -20 indicates a severe level of fatigue that endurance athletes cannot experience frequently without negatively affecting their performance in workouts.

Matt then gives some short and succinct ways to help organize your training plan to