A Google search on the term “training principle” yielded “About 301,000,000 results (0.48 seconds)”. The sheer volume means I won’t be reading them all but I’m also put off by a hint that the science may not be settled …
and the very next result was for the four principles in case you were wondering why four had been omitted.
One of the principles (or one of the pitfalls) must be more is better so let’s have a look at seven courtesy of teamusa.org
A quick precis will suffice for some of these. We all respond differently to training. You get better at what you practise – swimming makes you a better swimmer it has little benefit for your football ability. Stop training and the benefits fade and disappear. That disposes of individuality, specificity and reversibility.
Which leaves Progression, Overload, Recovery and Adaptation. These are the three core principles, yes, I know, maybe that’s why the number varies so much. The process goes something like this. Apply a training stress. Recover. Adapt. Repeat with a greater training stress.
Just as it’s fine line between pleasure and pain it’s a fine line between training and over training, increasing the stress too rapidly leads to injury or exhaustion and the exercise program falls in a heap. Adequate recovery is an essential component of a successful training program and sometimes the hardest to endure.
If you’re offended by my reduction in the number of principles we can restore it to seven by adding the law of diminishing returns. The well trained athlete has got a lot more work to do to make progress than the beginner.
Enter the power meter. It gives an accurate measure of the training stimulus. It makes it possible to increase the load by sensible amounts. It also provides a means of limiting the stress to enable adequate recovery. If the keen cyclist gets carried away every ride they may fail to progress because they are always too fatigued to up the effort when required. The trap is often summed up as going too hard in the recovery sessions and not hard enough in the hard sessions.
Today is a rest day. My next task is to measure my capabilities and establish my FTP and training zones. I will explain …