Sunday, September 8, 2013

Testing and Developing Speed Endurance

Soccer Speed Endurance
Developing speed endurance is important for maintaining a near maximal speed. Speed endurance is important in track sprinting events (100m to 400 meters) and in team sports, such as soccer and football, where there are repeated bouts of sprinting that may last from 4 to 10 seconds. In the case of soccer, speed endurance is critical for maintaining near maximal efforts of sprinting interrupted by bouts of lower intensity effort. To best achieve this ability of repetitive bouts of high-end speed (intensity greater than 90%), the effort must be interrupted with rest, or decreased work intensity, so that lactic acid does not accumulate. If this is allowed to take place the speed will decrease. The glycolytic (anaerobic) energy system will fatigue, and the oxidative (aerobic) energy system will resume responsibility as the primary supplier of energy.

"If the intensity of the speed endurance workout is not maintained, greater than 90%, the anaerobic capacity of the athlete will not be challenged, and the workout becomes an aerobic training session."   
Tudor Bompa, Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training(5th Edition)

Training the aerobic energy system is important for speed endurance. This is particularly the case for the soccer athlete where continuous work is performed for sustained, yet varied intensities and durations. The athlete's capacity to perform sustained work will be maximized by an improved aerobic capacity. An athlete that has a good aerobic base is better prepared for the recovery that is required between short bursts of speed (high intensity effort). Aerobic training is performed at lower intensities than speed endurance, or anaerobic endurance training. 

Sport specific training must be considered when planning a training program with the goal of speed endurance. Sports that require speed endurance include:

  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Football(skilled positions)
  • Track(components of sprinting and middle distance running)
Sprint Speed Endurance

Field and Court sports require the sport specific nature of change of direction and must be included in the training process. A great example is the basketball athlete that must often sprint the length of the court, settle into a degree of short change of direction movements, then sprint to the other end of the court. There is a constant back and forth, with varied degrees of intensity.

The Athlete with a sound aerobic capacity will fare well with speed endurance training. A base of aerobic conditioning allows the athlete to recover more rapidly between the bouts of increased exertion, or high intensity work bouts.

Example of speed endurance training:
  • Place two cones: 30 meters apart.
  • Run 30 meters up and 30 meters back (60 meters)
  • Rest 30-40 seconds with light jog or walk around the start line.
  • Repeat this until unable to maintain >90% intensity level. 

The goal is to perform the up and back sprints at >90% of a 30 meter sprint.

Speed endurance testing is determined by repeat bouts of 30-meters with a slow jog back to the start line. This rest recovery duration should approximate 30 seconds. Each 30 meter sprint time is recorded. The fastest time is compared to the slowest time with 6 to 7 reps of 30 meters. A good speed endurance indicator is having less than 10% decay from the fastest recorded 30 meters. 

The Speed endurance test is a great pre-season test for individuals and teams to perform. Keep a record. It can be useful in determining the specific fitness of the team as a whole, providing valuable information for fitness training.

With some imagination and attention to exercise physiology the athlete will reap the rewards of speed endurance training. It is important to develop all systems of the athlete in a year round training program. Emphasis is always given to overall health and fitness of the athlete, and the sport specific demands that performance training provides.