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Fall Sports Preparations

Fall Sports Preparations

If you play a fall sport, pre-season is just around the corner and that means it’s time to kick your conditioning program into high gear. Field sports such as soccer, field hockey, and football, utilize movements that vary in speed, direction, and intensity, requiring the athlete to have a great amount of aerobic power. Due to the stop-start nature and unpredictability of field sports, traditional, “steady state” long distance aerobic training is not appropriate for these athletes. As intensity varies throughout the duration of a game, interval training is a better way to help field sport athletes prepare for success. Interval training is a form of conditioning that includes periods of high intensity work followed by low intensity work, similar to what is experienced during a game. There are 5 variables that can be manipulated when developing an interval training program:

  • The speed or intensity of each working interval ➔ higher speed/intensity increases level of difficulty
  • The distance or time of each working interval ➔ longer distance/time increases level of difficulty
  • The speed or intensity of each resting interval ➔ jogging during the resting interval versus walking increase level of difficulty
  • The duration of each resting interval ➔ shorter rest periods increase level of difficulty
  • The number of repetitions and sets performed ➔ increasing repetitions and sets increases level of difficulty

Interval training should be performed 2-4 days per week depending on the level of the athlete. If you have not been doing any form of conditioning at all (beginner), start with 2 days per week at a lower intensity and gradually work your way up to 3-4 days per week. If you are a beginner, start with the tempo runs (days 1 and 3) in the below program, and gradually work your way up to the other workouts. Be sure to space out the days that you condition on so you are not doing more than 2 days of conditioning in a row. If you are only doing 2 days of conditioning per week, make sure there is at least one day of rest between each conditioning day.

Try these interval workouts to ramp up your conditioning and prepare for a successful season. Be sure to check with your doctor first before starting a new training program.

Day 1: Tempo Runs

Athlete Level Sets x Reps Distance Weeks 1-2 Distance Weeks 3-5 Distance Weeks 6-8
Beginner 1 x 5 60yd. sprint (90-95% max speed), 30yd. jog, 30 yd. walk 80yd. sprint (90-95% max speed), 40yd. jog, 40yd. walk 100yd. sprint (90-95% max speed), 50yd. jog, 50yd. walk
Intermediate 2 x 5
Advanced 3 x 5

 

Key things to note:

  • Complete workout on field
  • Sprint out for specified distance, then turn around and jog back specified distance, and then walk back remaining distance until you reach the point where you started
  • As soon as you get back to the starting point go right back into the next sprint
  • If you are completing more than 1 set, rest for 2 minutes between each set

Day 2: Tabata

Athlete Level Sets x Reps Distance Weeks 1-4 Distance Weeks 5-8
Beginner 1 x 4 min Sprint to desired distance and back to starting point 1 time (1 change of direction) in 20 sec, rest for 10 sec before starting next sprint Sprint to desired distance and back to starting point 2 times (3 changes of direction) in 20 sec, rest for 10 sec before starting next sprint
Intermediate 2 x 4 min
Advanced 3 x 4 min

 

Key things to note:

  • Complete workout on field
  • Tabata is 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest each rep, for 4 minutes straight (8 total reps for every 4 minutes)
  • Choose a distance that is challenging but doable to complete in 20 seconds
  • If completing more than 1 set, rest for 2:30 minutes between each set

Day 3: Tempo Runs

Athlete Level Sets x Reps Distance Weeks 1-4 Distance Weeks 5-8
Beginner 1 set On a track sprint 100 meters, jog 50 meters, sprint 150 meters, jog 50 meters, sprint 200 meters,  jog 50 meters On a track sprint 200 meters, jog 100 meters, sprint 300 meters, jog 100 meters, sprint 400 meters,  jog 100 meters
Intermediate 2 sets
Advanced 3 sets

 

Key things to note:

  • Complete workout on a 200 or 400 meter track
  • If completing more than 1 set complete sets consecutively without any rest in between sets

Day 4: Eurofit

Athlete Level Sets x Reps Distance Weeks 1-2 Distance Weeks 3-5 Distance Weeks 6-8
Beginner 1 set 4 minutes of 15 sec sprint and 15 sec rest (8 total sprints) 5 minutes of 15 sec sprint and 15 sec rest (10 total sprints) 6 minutes of 15 sec sprint and 15 sec rest (12 total sprints)
Intermediate 2 sets
Advanced 2 sets

 

Key things to note:

  • Complete workout on field, treadmill, or track
  • If you are completing more than 1 set, rest for 3 minutes between each set

 

 

References:
Baker D. (2011). Recent trends in high-intensity aerobic training for field sports. Prof Str Cond.

Koral, J., Oranchuk, D. J., Herrera, R., & Millet, G. Y. (2017). Six sessions of sprint interval training improves running performance in trained athletes. J Strength Cond Res.

 

Author: Robin Amylon, MS, RD, CSCS
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