Load Management for Runners


Load Management for Runners – Bayley Forbes

As a runner, one of the most important components of training that often gets overlooked is load management. Managing load is important for injury prevention, performance, and long-term development. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of load management as well as provide tips on how to optimise your training load to minimise the risk of overuse injuries.

Understanding Load for Runners

Load refers to the stress (as well as stressors outside of training) placed on your body during training, this includes volume, intensity, frequency, and duration. The load can come in many shapes and forms, such as mechanical load (impact and ground reaction forces), metabolic load (energy system demands), and neuromuscular load (muscle and neural activation). Everyone can react differently to these types of loads, and it is important to find the right balance for adaptation and recovery.

Tip = Finding the right amount of load is a delicate balance as you don’t want to over-train. Slowly overload your training over time to ensure you don’t tip into overuse

Load Monitoring

Understanding the signs and signals your body gives you to gauge how you body is responding to your training load. Training diaries, apps or wearables can aid in tracking the load. The benefits of keeping a training diary or using mobile apps to track your workouts, include distance, duration, intensity, perceived effort, and any pain or discomfort experienced.

Tip = This can be done by completing a training diary to track your load or products such as a Whoop (I’m lazy and prefer this way instead of a diary as it completes the tracking for me)

Principles of Load Management

Gradually increase the training load to ensure you are allowing your body to catch up, adapt and reduce injury risk. Implementing structured training phases is a good idea. In Running and Triathlon there is a general focus on that 80% of your training should be sub-maximal and 20% at or close to max effort. This is a good rule (The 80/20 Rule) to follow to avoid niggling injuries.

There are many factors that may influence your load management such as;
1. Age
2. Gender
3. Training History
4. Injury History
5. Life Stressors

Tip = The general guide is that you overload your training by 2-10% per week.

Injury Prevention Strategies for Running

This includes the boring but important stuff for runners.
– Strength and Conditioning
– Mobility and Flexibility
– Rest and Recovery: Emphasising the value of rest days, quality sleep, nutrition, and other recovery techniques.


Effective load management is an important aspect of any runner’s training program. By understanding the principles of load management that we have discussed you can optimize your running performance while reducing the risk of overuse injuries. Remember, every runner is unique, so it’s all about listening to your body and adjusting as it speaks back to you.

Getting a coach on board can make this all easier as a coach can periodise your training over months to years to ensure that your load is managed correctly and injuries are avoided


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