The Training-Injury Prevention Paradox
I read an interesting article last week about training load last week (Gabbett, T. J. (2016). The training-injury prevention paradox: should athletes be training smarter and harder?. Br J Sports Med, bjsports-2015). Higher training loads have been shown to cause higher injury rates. However, there is also evidence that training has a protective effect against injury. So how do you know if you are doing too much or not enough? Tim Gabbett examined the training loads of elite rugby players and found the following:
- Athletes that performed more than 18 weeks of training before an initial injury were at a reduced risk of sustaining a subsequent injury. In other words, consistent high training loads my decrease the risk of injury.
- Well-developed physical qualities are associated with a reduced risk of injury.
- Both over-training and under-training may increase injury risk. Your average training load (mileage) from the last 7 days should be between 80% and 130% of you average training load of the last 28 days. Lower than 80%, and you risk detraining and increasing your risk of injury. Higher than 130%, your risk of injury increases.
The takeaway is to be consistent and gradually increase your training load over a long period of time.