Variations of Workload Indices Prior to Injuries: A Study in Trail Runners

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jun 5;17(11):4037. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17114037.


The purpose of this study was to compare the variations of weekly workload indices of internal and external load measures across the three weeks prior to injury occurrences in trail runners. Twenty-five trail runners (age: 36.23 ± 8.30 years old; body mass: 67.24 ± 5.97 kg; height: 172.12 ± 5.12 cm) were monitored daily for 52 weeks using global positioning systems (GPSs) to determine the total distance covered. Additionally, a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scale was applied to determine session-RPE (sRPE: RPE multiplied by training time). The accumulated load (AL), acute: chronic workload ratio (ACWR), training monotony (TM), and training strain (TS) indices were calculated weekly for each runner. During the period of analysis, the injury occurrences were recorded. The differences were observed in AL and ACWR for sRPE and training time were significantly greater during the injury week when compared to the previous weeks. Similar evidence was found in TM and TS indices for sRPE, training time, and total distance. Furthermore, no meaningful differences were observed in AL and ACWR for total distance in the weeks prior to injury occurrence. Nevertheless, significant between-subjects variability was found, and this should be carefully considered. For that reason, an individualized analysis of the workload dynamics is recommended, avoiding greater spikes in load by aiming to keep a progressive increment of load without consequences for injury risk.

Keywords: endurance sports.; fitness; load monitoring; performance.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Physical Exertion
  • Records
  • Workload*