The key to management of the recovery process is a sound system of monitoring training to accurately assess the stress of training. Monitoring is analogous a compass that keeps training on the correct path. It occurs on several levels, all of which are important. The simplest level is just recording the results of the workout. This is a dual responsibility – for the coach and the athlete. It is not an option, it is essential! Monitoring does not always provide immediate feedback; it takes time for patterns to emerge, so be patient.
In training there is an immediate residual and cumulative training effect, the ultimate goal of training in the long-term adaptation or the cumulative training effect. Monitor each of these effects in order to assess the program of training. Monitoring training will allow control of the training process and ensure a proactive adaptive response. Planning the training and implementing the training are only two prongs of a three pronged attack. Monitoring the training is the third.
Carefully monitor those components of training that are the focus of that particular training period. It is not possible to monitor too much. You must look at the factors of training stress as well as total life stress factors. Monitoring should be both subjective and objective where possible. Monitor and record what is practical.
The most simple and most effective means of monitoring training is a detailed training log. The log represents the athlete’s personal training monitoring tool. It should represent the athlete’s individual input about their response to training. Each log, regardless of the sport or person, should contain certain basic information. Somewhere the log should monitor factors outside of training, sleep diet and other stressors all can have an effect on training. This information is:
Day and Date
Hours of Sleep
Time of Training
Duration of the session (Rounded to the nearest quarter hour)
Energy rating – Before workout
The actual exercises
Training Demand Rating Scale (Post Training)
The coaches training log should be as detailed as possible and still practical to isolate variables to identify possible patterns. It should incorporate the following:
Evaluate planned work versus work completed
Rate the athlete’s response to the work.
Breakdown of the time duration of each training component
The training demand rating scale is a valuable tool can be easily adapted to use in a team as well as an individual sport. It can be used to rate training demand on individual components of the workout or for the workout as a whole. It really depends how detailed you want to get. Regardless of how you apply it provides very good reliable feedback as to the stress of training. Conceptually, the athlete simply rates how hard they feel they are working by assigning a number to the sensation of their effort. For simplicity and ease of use a 10-point scale is effective in the athlete population if the athlete must is first educated to the effort relative to the assigned numerical value. It must be fine tuned for each athlete to provide reliable feedback on training stress. The following is the Training Demand Rating Scale:
1=easy no effort required
4= Moderately Light
6=A Little Hard
Have the athlete rate and record the effort at the conclusion of the workout. It is useful once you orient the athletes to the scale to allow them to develop their own verbal descriptors for the various points on the scale. This will personalize the process which makes the information that much more meaningful.
Monitoring will also help to assess how the performance was achieved. Two athletes can do the same workout; achieve the same results and have polar opposite adaptive responses. One may have to tap deep into the adaptive reserve to achieve the result and the other may require much less effort. That is why it is so imperative to have additional means of monitoring training. Also monitor readiness for the workout. Monitor indices that indicate adaptation. It is imperative to monitor factors outside of training, sleep diet and other stressors all can have an effect.
Monitoring increases training effectiveness. The more consistent the monitoring the more meaningful the information will be. In essence monitoring training allows you to reconcile what was planned for training and what was achieved. Remember it is very specific to the event, the performance level of the athlete, the age of the athlete and the gender. Once a system of monitoring has been implemented the information gathered must be straightforward and simple so that it can be easily interpreted and modifications made easily made as needed.