WORKLOAD RATIO’s – Monique Rowlands
Acute to Chronic workload ratios have been heavily utilised in elite sports to reduce the risk of overuse injuries, particularly to muscles and bones. Last week we learnt about stress fractures, this week we will learn how best to structure our running volumes in order to gain the best performance whilst reducing our risk of overload.
Acute to Chronic workload is a concept that measures this week’s workload against the average of at least 3 weeks workloads. First, you need to determine what you will measure, this is going to be different for each sport/activity. You could measure km’s, speed, time etc. We will use km’s for this example. Then you need to determine how many km’s you are completing each week and look back at these numbers over the last 3-4 weeks. This looks best as a graft. Then you need to find the average of these figures and this gives you your current “tissue tolerance”. Your body’s current capacity for exercise. Whereby your body’s natural ability to repair and recover from exercise is matched with the amount of exercise you are completing.
This graph is a great way to keep track of what you’re doing each week and can help guide a ramping or rest period. In a healthy state, the body can safely tolerate an increase or decrease in load against your average or current “tissue tolerance” by up to 25%. Meaning, if you stay within this safe zone your risk of overloading is relatively low. Have you ever gone away on holidays for a month, relaxation level 100 and come home, gotten back into your normal running routine and noticed a few weeks down the track this niggling pain that won’t go away? Tracking your exercise even on weeks you’re not doing much is crucial to keeping on track of your body’s exercise tolerance.
If you have any questions regarding workload ratio, contact your physio today.