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Posted: January 6, 2016  :

(IAWR) Athletics: The Most Accurate Training Monitor is Free

Yes. It's called the brain.

Australian researchers at Deakin University reviewed 56 studies comparing objectives measures of training load (e.g. heart rate, blood markers, oxygen consumption) versus subjective indicators of training load (perceived stress, mood). Their results, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that in over 90% of the studies reviewed, subjective measures were equal or more reliable indicators of training load than the objective scientific measures.

In other words, how you feel during and after a run is the most reliable indicator of how your body responds to your training.

Alex Hutchinson comments on the same findings in January/February issue of Canadian Running: “This type of subjective measure (asking athletes how they felt) was able to pick up acute changes resulting from sudden increased in training, as well as the subtle effects of long-term accumulation of training.”

Great! How can you easily apply this information to prevent overtraining?

When you enter your workout details in your running log, rate your workout on a scale of 1 to 10; 1 is awful, 10 is Nirvana.

Recording three consecutive runs with a rating of 4 or less is the canary in your personal mineshaft.

Don't ignore it! It's screaming at you that there's a good chance that you're suffering excessive fatigue or fighting an infection. By taking 3-4 days off from running and getting extra sleep, you give yourself a chance to recuperate, preventing an injury or illness that could result in a long layoff.

As many readers are beginning to train for a May/June race, this is a well-timed reminder to listen to your body and not be a slave to your training program.

© 2014 Savvy Runner Inc.

Bennett Cohen and Gail Gould are the Founders and Presidents of the International Association of Women Runners. For access to resources to help you reach your goals for running and racing, visit

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