In an ideal world, we would all do training that’s “just right” – the right intensities, mileage, recovery, and frequency of session (how many you do per week). But most athletes have difficulty figuring that out. Train too much, too fast and you’ll get hurt or over-trained. Train too little, too slow and your fitness won’t improve.
Why: Super Compensation effect
The Super Compensation Principle that I adopt encourages athletes to train at the right level (providing the plan is followed) so their fitness is progressing and increasing speed – without dramatic increases in mileage or workout intensity.
Every time athletes train or do a key workout, they’re subjecting your body to fatigue and muscle damage. Athletes actually reduce their fitness right after a workout because of this! But if athletes allow adequate recovery, the body super-compensates and gets faster and stronger.
That boost in fitness doesn’t last forever, though – if athletes training doesn’t follow correct progression, they’ll experience negative adaptation and you’ll lose your fitness.
The GREEN line in the image shows ideal training. The stimulus provides an appropriate amount of fatigue and allows the body to supercompensate (in other words, get faster!).
Many athletes don’t train hard enough so their gains are few and far between. That’s what the YELLOW line shows – training that just doesn’t cut it. If athletes only run 2-3 days per week or don’t do any structured workouts, they probably fall into this category.
Then there’s the RED line, which illustrates over-training because athletes are doing too much, too fast, too soon. The level of fatigue is beyond what the body can handle and it takes a long time to recover. Supercompensation is blunted, there are no fitness gains, and many athletes will develop an overuse injury.
BFunctional Athletes undertake the Super Compensation process throughout the year, during which the focus is on building greater fitness by alternating stress and rest. The bottom line is that when the athletes session is hard enough to produce fatigue then they must include a recovery (“adaptation”) day soon thereafter. Currently, athletes are going through the first recovery/adaptation week.