To start things off, I just want to say I hope everybody is staying healthy and happy during this COVID-19 situation!
One of the biggest issues we have been tackling with athletes at H+P is just how hard should we be training right now. With no clear races in the foreseeable future, and the risk of burnout and injury going up when you are training at your FULL capacity over long periods of time, it definitely makes sense to decrease your training load for the time being. However, at what point are you decreasing things TOO much?
Where do you fit?
All of the decisions about how to change your training comes down to a person’s individual circumstances and goals. For instance, somebody who is thinking about PB’ing a marathon the second we have finalized race dates will probably want to stay fit enough at a strategically decreased volume so that they are only a few weeks removed from a 12-16week marathon build.
On the other hand, somebody who tends to be exceptionally injury resistant and just enjoys high-level training might choose to keep training at a high level regardless.
Then, there might be the person who is prone to injury and burnout and may take this opportunity to detrain to a more significant degree, perhaps even including some major time off, saving their training weeks for when we have a definite set of races scheduled.
With whatever category or hybrid of categories above that you fall into, I am going to take a look at just how much you can expect to detrain at different levels of activity. Before we get into the effects of training at a decreased volume, we must first look at how detraining actually happens when we do nothing. Understanding the basics of the physiology is not only super interesting (just me?), but it’ll help guide your decision making for how you manage your decreased volume and help you understand why you feel the way you do when you’re coming back!