Obeying the immutable law of stress with Running Stress Balance

Obeying the immutable law of stress with Running Stress Balance

Have you ever felt like you are pushing your training too hard but you run anyway because your training plan demands it?

Don't you hate it when you finish a run and regret that you even completed it because the resulting stress from the run is more than you expected?

Would you like a way of knowing if you are close to a danger zone so you can modify your training before you overtrain yourself into an issue?

The Running Stress Balance chart in the new PowerCenter is here to help.

Here is the deal:

Stress must always be relieved from the system.

You can either choose to relieve this stress by taking a rest, recovering, and letting your body get stronger from the stress...

Or, you can keep training and wait for the overload of stress to punish you, injure you, and force you to recover.

This is the immutable law of stress.

In essence, stress will always find its way out of the system via voluntary recovery or forced recovery due to injury.

You must strike an ideal balance between stress and rest.

If you lean too far towards the rest side, you will struggle to progress forward.

If you lean too far towards the stress side, you may "silently" build up too much stress and work your way into a danger zone.

You may never strike a perfect balance. That is expected and that is OK. There is no way that you can comprehensively account for all of your activities outside of running such as the occasional bike ride, swim, your personal life, supplemental training, and diet. Each of these activities uniquely stress your body so you can't jam them into an equation to receive a perfect result. You would need an Olympic-caliber training regiment and team behind you to get this balance down to a "perfect" science.

The good news is that you only need to achieve an ideal & approximately correct balance to consistently improve.

An ideal balance is achievable and that balance is easier to achieve with the Running Stress Balance chart.

Let's take a look at that:

Here is what you are looking at:

This chart maps out your stress/rest balance over time in a range from +30 (Unproductive training) to -60 (Overreaching).


In an ideal world, you want to spend most of your time bouncing between the -25 to +5 region if you are consistently training.

This puts you in a Productive or Maintenance category where you are productively improving your fitness and maintaining a balance between stress and rest.


If you go deep into the negative territory beyond -25, you will be heavily stressing yourself into an unsustainable region.

This puts you in a Cautionary or Overreaching category where you should consider adding more easy running or rest days into your training.

If you stay in this category for an extended period, your risk of breaking the "immutable law of recovery" increases and you may become "forced" to recover as a result of injury or burnout.


Before races, you want to exceed a value of +5 on the chart. This will put you in the well-rested Performance category.

The Performance category means you are well recovered from your recent training so you can take advantage of your fitness on race day.

Anything beyond +25 means that you have not been training recently, so you likely have no lingering stress on your system and detraining may be setting in.


We hope that you use this new chart to help you decide when you should push your planned workout a bit harder or when you should take it easy.

You will need to be patient if you are just getting started logging data. Because the value is the difference between your 42-day average stress and 7-day average stress, the value won’t be accurate until you have approximately 42 days of training. So, if you jump into using Stryd in the middle of a training block, please ignore the value until you have at least a few weeks of data.

Enjoy the new Running Stress Balance chart in the new PowerCenter!

The Stryd Team

Instructions on how to access the new PowerCenter

- If you would like to access the new PowerCenter, please visit https://www.stryd.com/powercenter/ in your web browser. (The new PowerCenter even works on your mobile phone as compliment to the Stryd mobile app!)

- If you have a question about how to use the data, please access our knowledge base here: https://help.stryd.com/

- If you would like a deeper explanation on this specific chart, you should visit our knowledge base here: https://help.stryd.com/en/articles/6879346-running-stress-balance

- If your data looks wrong or if you cannot access the new PowerCenter, please email us at support@stryd.com and we will help!