Finding Your Adaptation Zone...



By Cami Eckhoff

After recognizing some training errors over the past few months that unfortunately led to injury, I decided it was time to educate myself more. I’ve been listening to @runsmarterseries podcast and working with the amazing @shyanne_mcgregor. Knowledge is power.

I am starting to jog again with a conservative increase and monitoring week by week (5 minutes slow jog, 1 minute walk for 40 minutes).

If you’re just getting into running, I recommend tuning in to the first 10 short episodes to hopefully start and stay an injury free runner!

Here are a few takeaways I had:  ...

With sudden increased frequency, running on different surfaces- ex: icy, snow-packed roads or uneven beach runs, speed work too fast too soon, or any other abrupt change, the body doesn’t have enough time and opportunity to adapt, adjust and recover, therefore breaking down and increasing risk of injury.

Muscles, ligaments, and tendons have a certain capacity for adaptation. When injured, the adaptation zone drops and they becomes weaker. The goal when recovering from injury is to find that adaptation zone, train within it and build it back up with care. You can under train or over train. The key is to operate within your adaption zone. Don’t exceed the new, lower adaption zone when injured or your symptoms will become worse and the body will tolerate less and less of a load. (Ex: run hard for 3-6 miles, have IT Band pain, stop running for a week or until it feels better, then run 3-6 miles at same pace and have pain again… This was my error for the last 8 years of trying to run!)

There isn’t a cookie cutter way to train, it comes down to principles of loading. What capacity do you operate at? How strong is your body structure? Stay and train below those means and don’t exceed your capacity.

I wish I didn’t have this setback but learning about load adaptation has been so helpful for me and I am starting to understand training plans with more clarity- more miles, faster, and harder isn't always better!!

The body will adapt but it takes persistence, dedication, and a careful plan. Will there be enough time before my Ironman in Iowa…. Only time will tell.