Making the Right Choices about Your Training Program

Often we hear about the importance of making smart decisions regarding our training programming, but unfortunately, we still make mistakes. Unfortunately, still one of the biggest causes of injury is making changes or making a lack of changes in your training programming and therefore your training load. That obviously sounds rather confusing so let me explain.

First, let’s discuss why runners make poor changes in their training load. Essentially this occurs when things are progressing very well or you’re in a massive plateau in your results. Whether it’s the whispering voice in your head saying “wow I feel so good and I’m running so well” or “I’m not getting anywhere and my mates keep running personal bests”. Unfortunately, it’s both of these scenarios that often lead to trying to make quantum leaps in your training volume.

As a rule, always only ever increase your training load by 10% from week to week. For running the simplest way (but technically not the best scientific method) is to calculate your overall distance run in the week. If you’ve run 50km in a week then the maximum you should run the following week is 55km.

Practically you need to think about this. If this week you run 4 times and the following week you run 5, then there are implications to this. These implications are that the new run that you add in needs to be relatively short and that therefore limits you to not being able to add volume to any of the other runs in the week.

Injuries commonly occur when you try to add new runs in and then also try to increase the distance for the other runs you are doing in the week. In other words, when you make a jump like 50km per week to 70km per week, your body is simply not ready for this increased volume

The other side of the coin is when you don’t make any changes to your training. In particular, when you are trying to hold high training loads for too long. For example, when you’re running 100km week and you continue to do this consistently over a long period of time.

There is solid evidence to suggest that monotony significantly increases injury risk. In other words, when you maintain the same training load from week to week for a sustained period of time or you sustain the training volume day to day. How do you get around this? You simply just need to have rest weeks. For example, if your normal week is 100km then every 4-8 weeks you need to drop your running volume back to a maximum of 50-60km in a week.

Keeping these rules in mind when your going about your training is essential to decreasing your injury risk.


RT’s Run School featuring Mark Blomeley. Mark is a strength and conditioning coach with over 10 years experience in the sports and fitness industry. Currently in Brisbane, he is a specialist strength and conditioning coach for runners from international standard elites to the everyday runner.