I have stressed a good aerobic capacity as a factor that separates successful from unsuccessful teams. I have also suggested that training on the ball can increase performance.
But it is not unusual for someone to question how short-term, high-intensity training (interval training) will improve endurance. The question goes sort of like this: If you want to improve endurance, shouldnt you just go out and run for a long time? Running short intervals just cant seem to improve endurance.
Well, not only does interval training improve aerobic capacity, but in some studies, interval training is better than continuous running at improving endurance. And interval training is also a pretty efficient use of time. Consider the following research studies:
It is interesting that cutting back on exercise volume and raising exercise intensity can improve both aerobic capacity and performance. How does this happen? When the enzymes of the muscles are measured, those that push the use of oxygen increase markedly. Your body produces more capillaries in the muscles, decreasing the distance oxygen has to travel to get to cells. In addition, the hard work teaches the heart to pump more blood with each beat, especially during the recovery period. So more oxygen is pumped and the extra oxygen is used by the muscles at a faster rate. This is good.
We hear repeatedly that distance running for soccer is a no-no. Then, it is a good thing to do intervals all the time, right? No to this one too. Interval training is only a part of a training program, not the whole program.
Plan the year out. After one season ends and you take a break from the game for a while, a preparatory period of endurance running comes first, then gradually reduce the running volume (distance) and increase the intensity meaning that you gradually replace endurance days with interval days.
When you get to formal preseason training, the length of the runs decreases further and the intensity increases to mimic the running of the game.
Focusing training on one method, like intervals, can lead to injury and overtraining. The most effective models of training involve distance running (high volume, low intensity) slowly giving way to intervals (lower volume, higher intensity) before leading into game-specific training.
Planning helps your body ease into the game. Using the game alone for fitness prepares you only for that level of play. Play a team that has better fitness, and you will not have the reserve to call on when you need to work harder.
Remember, get in shape to play the game, dont play the game to get in shape.
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