Some athletes struggle with balancing life responsibilities and athletic goals. When the dreamy world of training like a professional athlete collides with the reality of life, it can be disappointing.
I’ve found that the more stress an athlete has in his or her life, the less training volume and intensity they can handle. Too much of either volume or intensity and there is a higher risk of illness or injury.
Something has to give. You are not bulletproof.
This stress scale estimates the likelihood of illness based on the number of stressful events in your life. If your score is 300 or more, you are at a high risk of illness. Scores between 150 and 299 indicate a moderate chance of illness (50-50). Scores 150 or below indicate a slight risk of illness.
Keep in mind this scale was designed for “normal” people, not those aiming high for athletic accomplishment.
When you find your stress scale is on the increase, consider reducing the amount of volume and/or intensity in your training.
The extra rest just might keep you healthy and make you a better athlete as a result.
I received this question yesterday:
Q: Hey Gale - I’m frustrated and would very much appreciate your opinion. I began working with a new coach and my coach has me focus on pace and power, rather than heart rate, which I’ve really enjoyed. I love shooting for specific speedy numbers in my workouts and as often as possible I try to exceed the numbers assigned. Here’s the dig. While I’ve been achieving good numbers, it seems I’ve been sick more in the past year than ever before. Each time I seem to make headway on gaining fitness and speed, I get sick again. My morning heart rate is elevated and I’ve noticed that my heart rate is elevated relative to the power zones my coach uses. Coach says that heart rate isn’t important in my training and the only thing I need to worry about is pace and power. What do you think? D.L.
A: Hi D.L. ~ Sorry to read you’ve been sick a lot. Repeated illnesses can be very frustrating. I use multiple tools with my athletes to track progress and attempt to head off trouble. Achieving goal pace and power numbers on any given workout are just two of the many tools I use to monitor an athlete’s progress. Here are some thoughts:
There are more items that you can track to keep an eye on how your body is responding to the demands of training – and life. I believe you need to monitor more than just power and pace. Only monitoring power and pace is like only looking at the speedometer of your car to determine if the car is working correctly. If you ignore the gas gauge, oil pressure gauge and other indicators on your car, you may end up broken down with a towing and repair bill that is very undesirable.