Striking A Balance

After Sunday’s hilly 10K run/walk efforts, I wasn’t surprised to find myself feeling a little bit tired and achey this week. But, while I’m still a bit injury wary these days, I also know that if I don’t do something on my scheduled training days, then I run the risk of falling off the waggon again.

So, instead of going out for the 5K run/walk that I had originally planned, I decided to do a couple of kilometres on the treadmill. My main gripe with the treadmill is that for some reason I just can’t hit the same pace that I get when I’m outside; but this could work to my advantage when I need to run slowly to avoid injury.

One of my favourite tools for planning my training and tracking my progress is Training Peaks. As well as showing you how your fitness is progressing, it also tracks your levels of fatigue according to how much and how hard you’ve been training.

Draft Training Plan: May 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 22.02.30

Not to get too technical, the blue line shows the long-term effects of your training, increasing on training days, but decreasing slightly on rest days. In contrast, the yellow line maps your ‘training stress balance’, decreasing after training days to show to show tiredness and fatigue, but increasing on rest days to show recovery.

At this stage in the training plan, it’s normal for the yellow line to show an overall drop while my body gets used to training again (see above). By the time the big race comes round at the end of August though, this line should start to increase ( see below) with the highest point being race day.

Draft Training Plan 1st May – 31st August 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 22.28.08

Of course, anything with a dotted line on these graphs is just a plan at this stage and, judging by the large dips as the distance on the long runs increases, is likely to change. But what I like about it is that on days like today, when I know I have to train but don’t feel 100%, I can play around with different options to project what effects any adjustments will make to the overall plan.

So, what were the effects of today’s training? Well, it takes the blue line back up to where it was after Sunday’s session, so no real gain there; but it also allows for better recovery so that I will be stronger for this weekend’s long run than I would have been had I stuck to the original plan.

I suppose it’s all common sense really, and it’s not telling me anything that my body isn’t telling me already. For me though, it’s nice to have a visual representation of what’s going on, even if I do end up changing the whole thing.

How’s your training going? Do you use data, tools or apps to track your progress? What features do you like best when looking at your training reports? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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