A simple training analogy I like to make is digging a hole when referring to training.

Your goal in your metaphorical training is simply to dig a hole as deep as you can

(aka, add fatigue).

Without digging a hole so deep you are unable to climb out of it

(aka overtraining).

Picture the scene:

Day one of your new training plan, you don’t want to be too quick out of the gates and tire yourself out.

The smart way to begin digging your hole is to begin steadily.

Importantly planning where you are going to put the dirt too.

How big your spade is, depends on your exercise history.

If you are brand new to your chosen sport, you might just have a little spade.

Those training for many years might have a large shovel.

It’s important to remember this, especially when talking with other people.

You may or may not be able to go as “deep” as quick as they do based on your fitness history.

Now, this is where the metaphor ends.

We aren’t going to discuss why you’ve decided to dig a hole, or what you might do with said eyesore that’s now in your garden.

But the theory is a simple one.

Go as deep as you feel comfortable to do.

The usual response is:

“But how deep is too deep”

Some people even want a number attached to this depth.

The issue is, you won’t know until you get there.

But we can tune into some key indicators which will help us see what’s going on.

1. Power/pace – The external results. These numbers tell us about our performances and how are doing in training. If out the blue, these start declining for no explainable reason, perhaps you’ve dug a little too deep and need to focus on recovery.

2. Heart rate – How your body is actually responding to a stimulus, e.g. running at your zone 2 pace, can tell us a lot about how you are feeling.
As an example, I know my Endurance Runs are generally around 130bpm, if I’m running at the same pace but seeing higher digits, I know something isn’t right.

3. Perceived Exertion – And this is the biggest one to tune into. How do you FEEL during activity. So many of us tune into the watches and gadgets to look for advice, but the BEST device is between your ears. If you feel tired then chances are, you are.
I’m assuming that most people reading this are fairly well motivated, strong minded people that rarely turn down a challenge. You are strong, but if you do ever feel weak, the bravest thing you can do is acknowledge it and listen to your body.
There’s the tripod of activity.

Focus on these three areas and your job is a lot easier.

We can quickly fall into the trap of information overload.

With the 1000’s of data fields we COULD look at, I suggest picking just a handful and believing in them solidly.

Do this, and you’ll be strides ahead of everyone else.

Thanks for reading.