As new athletes begin training, or experienced athletes tackle the next big challenge, it is important to understand how to build volume safely. The worst thing any athlete can do is over train to the point of injury. While motivation may be sky-high upon signing up for an event, be sure to properly build your training plan to ensure you get to your race injury free. One of the largest mistakes seen in athletics is individuals training too much, too soon. The following article will walk you through how to build your volume, and reach your goals in a safe and effective manner.
The first thing you should do as an athlete is identify the mileage or duration required to finish an event. For example, a Marathon is 26.2 miles, A century ride is 100 miles, an open water swim event may be 10k, etc. Once you have identified the distance of your event, a good rule of thumb is to multiply this distance by 1.5 for your peak weekly volume. If you are running a marathon, then 26.2x 1.5 is 39.3 miles for your total weekly volume. If you are going to finish an Ironman in 12 hours, then building your total weekly volume to 18 hours. While more advanced athletes can push further beyond this multiplier, this is a general guideline for athletes starting out and designing a training plan. It should also be mentioned that for ultra-distance athletes, different methods may be used as well.
So, how do we get to these peak volume weeks? Research has shown that improving volume by 10% each week is safe and effective. First, note how many miles you complete on average in a given week. From there, aim to increase your volume by 10% the following week. Each week should then increase by 10% until your fatigue numbers indicate recovery is needed. This is also a great way to identify how many weeks you need to train for an event. If you put your peak training 2-4 weeks prior to your goal event, work backwards with the 10% rule, you will quickly find the inflection point of where your current training is, and how many weeks are needed to build properly.
Below are fatigue values located in the COROS EvoLab software. This can help you understand when a recovery day or week is needed.
Lets take a Look at what a proper training plan may look like in terms of building volume. This training plan focuses on building volume in a safe way for beginners looking to finish a half marathon. It starts at 14 miles per week and builds up to 30 miles by the end. You will also see lower volume weeks scattered throughout to ensure proper adaptation to the mileage.
Once you have your weekly volume targets, you then need to focus on your daily workouts. The long workout of any week should make up roughly 30-35% of your total training volume. For example, during a 30 mile run week, your long run should be 10 miles. If you are training multiple disciplines at once, such as for a triathlon, then you will want to break each discipline out separately while also keeping an eye on total weekly volume.
Overall, when training for your next event, we want to ensure you are getting faster, but also injury free. In order to explore perfection, we want to help you maximize your return on each workout. By using these principles along with our EvoLab software, you have the tools needed to be your best. Best of luck on your next race! Go explore perfection!