April 5, 2021
How do you know your training is working? We share six ways you can gauge whether your training is working and if your fitness is progressing.
Everyone likes to see progress. I know I do. Progress indicates the training we’re doing is working. That the time invested is worthwhile.
Training is tough, but progress provides satisfaction and helps to keep us motivated to continue doing the work.
Progress comes in many forms.
Faster times are the most obvious form of progress in running and triathlon. The watch doesn’t lie, so if you’re covering a specific distance faster than you used to, like a 5k, 10k or marathon, that’s progress.
If you train by time, as we advocate at Coached, and you’re covering more distance in the same time than you used to, your training is working.
If in 30-minutes you used to run 5km and now you’re able to run 6km at the same perceived effort or heart rate, that’s progress.
As your fitness improves, you’ll notice it takes you less effort to complete a session than it did previously.
A subjective measurement, perceived effort, or intuition, as I like to think of it, is an important way of knowing you’re making progress.
If training feels more effortless than it used to, that’s progress.
Your heart is a muscle. As you train it, it gets stronger and can pump out more blood per beat. As a result, your resting heart rate will decrease, as will your training heart rates. That’s progress.
The lactate threshold, also known as the anaerobic threshold, maximal lactate steady state (MLSS), onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA) etc., is the highest output (heart rate/pace/power) that you can sustain without a continual increase in muscle and blood lactate.
It’s also the most significant predictor of endurance performance among athletes.
If you take a lactate test and your lactate threshold pace or power has increased since the last test, that’s progress.
When you started training, you likely suffered from some delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) after a training session.
As you train consistently and build aerobic fitness and strength in your muscles, you become more resilient and can handle a higher training load. Recovery times shrink, and you can train hard again at shorter intervals – that’s progress.