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What does load mean?

When we talk about load in the context of injuries, we’re talking about numbers; how far you’re running, how often you’re running, how much you’re lifting at the gym, how often you go to the gym etc.

Why do we need to manage it?

Managing the load on your body can be frustrating and difficult. We sometimes expect our bodies to work like a machine, be able to do what we want when we want it, without us having to rest. But load management is one of the biggest things I talk to clients about DAILY, and if done well, can easily PREVENT INJURIES.

Some really common examples of injuries that can be prevented by managing load include shin splints and ITB friction syndrome.

All too often the reason people experience these injuries is because they have very suddenly changed how much they exercise. For example, going from not exercising at all to running 5km multiple times per week, or not exercising at all to straight into sport pre-season. In these situations our muscles and joints are just not prepared for the sheer load and force that they have to very suddenly endure.

Our bodies aren’t machines and we have to be kinder than that to them! The conversation we have in the clinic is then around how we might actually take a step back, and build the tolerance of the muscles and joints to be able to better manage the load.

Knowing what pre-season is usually like and that you usually do a high volume of running you might pre-empt the load by slowly increasing your running distance six (6) weeks before the start of preseason. This might look something like 1 min on and 1 min off for 20 minutes as a starting point.

If you know you have a tendency for shin splints, it might also be about getting some advice from a Physio about some supplemental exercises to go with the running.

As a final note, when we talk about load management, we are always talking about recovery as well. Think about how long you are giving yourself between sessions and if you are eating well, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep and giving yourself enough rest. Muscles simply aren’t going to function the way we expect them to under fatigue. It is therefore imperative that we let them recover.

Lauren Osborne


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