In previous posts, we discussed how increases in training load are one of the biggest predictors of injury in athletes. Think about injury rates during periods of increased training frequencies and volume, such as during a pre-season training camp. It’s also easy to overload our athlete’s during the in-season as well if we aren’t carefully quantifying and monitoring the loads we impose upon them from practice, competition and training. Not to mention, factors such as sleep quality, travel stress, nutrition and non-training related stressors can all deeply impact our player’s recovery and training status.
There are various methods for quantifying training load. The one that is most suitable for you will likely depend on your sport and how much funding you have. However, a tried and true method that requires virtually no budget or fancy equipment is the session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) method. Simply have that athletes rate their perceived exertion on the CR-10 Borg scale and multiply this value by the duration of the session in minutes. An RPE of 6 from a session that lasted 90 minutes would provide an sRPE value of 540 (reported in arbitrary units).
From the sRPE data you’ve collected across the week, you can calculate training monotony. This value represents the overall variability from the week. This is calculated by dividing the mean weekly sRPE by the standard deviation. A high level of training monotony would indicate that there is little variation in day to day training loads, which may be a cause for concern for excess fatigue accumulation. In contrast, a lower monotony score would indicate good fluctuation in day to loads, allowing for more recovery.
Lastly, training strain can be calculated by multiplying the weekly sRPE value by the training monotony value. This represents the overall stress from training that week. When plotted in excel, it is easy to see the evolution of the training load perceived by the athletes across time. During the in-season, these values can be particularly important for adjusting training loads when monotony and strain are too high.
|sRPE||RPE*Duration (min)||Single session training load value
|Monotony||Mean sRPE/Standard Deviation||Reflection of training variation across the week|
|Strain||Weekly sRPE*Monotony||Reflection of overall training stress from the week|
For this method of training load quantification and monitoring, there are some important points to note. sRPE data needs to be collected regularly. Failing to collect this data even for one session can skew your values. Thus, coaches need to commit to this process. In addition, coaches need to use a value of “0” for rest days where no training is performed. This is because it needs to be factored in to the means and standard deviations to accurately reflect strain and monotony values. Keeping tabs on training load with this method may help with better training load management and reduce injury potential in your athletes.
Comyns, T., & Flanagan, E. P. (2013). Applications of the session rating of perceived exertion system in professional rugby union. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 35(6), 78-85.