If we flick back to the first newsletter of the season we discussed setting up a sustainable training routine.  So hopefully by now you’ve found that the routine is in place (and you’ve even managed to keep it going over the Christmas and New Year period!) and you are now looking to improve your fitness further.

So often at this point the question is:

How much do I increase my training by?

Many people that you’d talk to regarding this would provide a generalised rule that you should not increase your mileage or time by more than 10% per week but there are a number of situations where I wouldn’t use this broad generalisation in a training program.  After forming a routine and successfully (without injury) maintaining a set mileage or duration, an increase of much more than 10% can be achieved safely by simply by adding an additional training day.

For beginners, settling into a routine and holding the number of hours or distance for 4-5 weeks is definitely helpful and sometimes better than trying to increase the mileage or time every week. There is a settling in period that is important to any sport as your muscles adapt to the activity. So the hours doing your specific sport could stay the same but could be supported with strength and conditioning training to provide additional benefit if you wanted to increase training time per week.

More than 10% increase- if for example a runner was successfully completing three runs of 5km per week (total mileage of 15km) comfortably then adding a fourth run of 5km could be a consideration. This is a 33% increase but is achievable as the duration of the time on the feet is exactly the same as the other runs and the individual has previously adapted to this duration and distance.

Experienced athletes can take the theory from above in the same way. If we were to apply the 10% rule to someone running 40km (4x10km runs) per week then add another 1km a session and we’ve hit the limitation, but add in another 6-10km run and again we’ve increase mileage by 15-25% and all of which can be very manageable.

Finding that sweet spot

There is a point for all athletes in which a continued push for greater mileage or distance has a negative effect with a result of injury or fatigue, so the quality of the training is considerably less. How will you know what this? A little bit of trial and error and understanding the signs your body provides you. But if you also keep a training record it can help quantify some of this but also just noting how you are feeling can help you to establish when an increase in training has worked or tipped the scales the other way.

As you push further forward into unchartered territory the one thing I would recommend is to keep the intensity manageable (lower being better).

Back to the routine

So obviously the thought above provides the idea of having an additional training day

  1. Find an extra training day which could provide an easy and achievable way to increase volume by more than 10% safely.
  2. If you can’t fit this into your routine then an increase of 10% in each of your training sessions could be a way for you to increase your training volume.

Please remember only move it up when you are ready and comfortable – listen to your body!

Good luck for the second half of the State Beach Series.

For coaching toward your 2015 goals in triathlon, swimming or running contact:

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