Similar to the start of a new year, the start of autumn is when many people decide to ‘get on it’, in terms of fitness training. Hit the gym. Work on the core. Increase the mileage. Hard turbo sessions. And similar to new year, this is a time when injuries can happen as a result of overloading the body.
Overload typically happens in one of two ways – either ramping up the volume of whatever training you currently do, or introducing a new type of training. Often, we make both of these mistakes at once!
Beware training methods that don’t seem so different to your normal routine – regardless of how much steady running you do, hill repeats put an entirely new stress on your body. You might climb 3-4 times a week at a decent level, but using a fingerboard will stress your fingers in a completely new way. Respect these new training methods and don’t assume that they don’t carry any injury risk!
With that in mind, here are my top tips to set yourself up for winter training without getting injured:
1) Gradual increase in familiar activities
The best example of this is the 10% rule that runners will be familiar with – no more than a 10% increase in mileage from one week to the next.
2) Gradual introduction of new training types
Give yourself 2-3 weeks to break in a new activity – in terms of volume and intensity, week 1 should be light, weeks 2-3 should be medium, and only after that should you think about pushing yourself.
More volume means a greater need to recover and allow your body to adapt. During the adaptation phase, plan your training so that harder sessions or new training types are followed by easy days or rest days. Back-to-back hard training sessions can happen eventually, if you wish, but you must allow your body time to prepare for it.
None of the above is rocket science, and if you’ve read this far you won’t be reading anything that you haven’t seen before. And yet it’s amazing how so many of us (me included!) get carried away with training, doing more and more and more until something hurts and we get an injury which could easily have been avoided.
Thanks for reading!