Athlete Training Load Monitoring

Accurate monitoring of the training load can help coaches improve the preparation of their athletes for competition. In this document, we focus on the importance of monitoring training load and we also examine a simple method for the monitoring of training loads of the athletes. We start by providing a general overview of the important training variables that some coaches manipulate to control training stress (that is, training volume, training intensity and training load).

Basic training variables

Training volume - Training volume usually refers to the duration of training. Generally coaches report training volume in terms of time (minutes/hour). However, it can also be reported in terms of distance covered in terms of running.

 Training intensity - Training intensity refers to how hard you are training. There are many different methods that can be used to measure intensity such as the heart rate, weight lifted or the athlete’s perception of effort during training.

Calculating training load - A simple method for quantifying training loads from a variety of different training modalities into one simple arbitrary number has been developed. This method is commonly known as the Session-Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) method. As recent studies have reported, this method is one of the best ways to monitor the athletes’ training loads and it is more practical for the coaches to use to improve their coaching.

    Session RPE rating:

          1 - Very light
          2 - Light
          3 - Hard
          4 - Very hard
          5 - Extremely hard

This method of monitoring training load requires each athlete to provide an RPE for each exercise session with a measure of training time. To calculate a measure of session intensity, athletes are asked within 30-minutes of finishing their workout with a simple question such as “How was your workout?” A single number representing the magnitude of training load for each session is then calculated by the multiplication of training intensity by the training session duration (minutes).

For example, to calculate the training load for a 30-minute training session with the athlete’s RPE being 5 (Extremely  HARD), the following calculation would be made:

       Session RPE x duration = Training load

        5 x 30min = 150 units  

The major advantage of the session-RPE method over other reported methods of quantifying training load is that it is simple to measure and relatively easy to interpret. Recent studies have reported that the session-RPE method compares favorably with the more complicated methods of quantifying training loads in both endurance sports, team sports and resistance training. These recent findings allow us to conclude that the session-RPE is both a valid and reliable method for monitoring training in most sports. In addition, these results also show that the session-RPE method may be useful for comparing training loads from different types of activities.

For most coaches, the real value of monitoring training loads in athletes comes with tracking individual rather than group or team scores. Close monitoring of an individual’s training load may provide a greater understanding of their tolerance to training, allowing coaches to modify future loads that best suit individual athletes.


Training load is influenced by both training volume and training intensity. A precise understanding of training loads completed during training can be beneficial for both the coaches and the athlete. The coaches can use feedback from training to systematically modify future training so that performances can be improved. Athletes can use this feedback for motivation for future training. Training load can be monitored in many different ways, however, it is highly recommended to use the session-RPE method for quantifying training load because it is simple to use, easy to understand and relatively easy to implement. From a sports science perspective, a valid and reliable record of training load allows the effectiveness of different training to be assessed. It can be used to ensure that both sufficient training loads are implemented and that excessive loads are not. Finally, over time and with some practice, accurate monitoring of training load will enable the coaches to better understand the best training methods for individual athletes. Ultimately, this may lead to improved performance in competitions.

Attached below is the Athlete Training Load Monitoring Form


Chair. SPEO        


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