How best to improve endurance

Interval training

Footballers are not endurance runners. A match and training sessions are punctuated by high intensity and recovery intervals. To improve your football-specific endurance, you need to do interval training. We’ll explain interval training to you and show you why it is so effective.

Interval training – what is it?

In the classic endurance run, you run at a steady, relaxed pace over the entire distance. By contrast, interval training alternates periods of high intensity with recovery phases.

Interval training is a form of training that increases performance through changing intensity. The switch from high intensity to recovery trains the body to restore energy levels more quickly. Interval training also promotes speed, endurance, fat loss and maximum oxygen supply to the body. Since interval training requires a very high level of intensity, the body must be able to cope with a fair amount of stress.

Why is interval training relevant to football?

Jogging improves your general endurance or supports recovery. However, long endurance runs only lead to a limited improvement in your football-specific endurance. Footballers are not endurance runners. In the game you complete a lot of runs at high or full speed. These are combined with quick turns and changes of direction. There are always short breaks in the game during which you can recover. However, maximum performance is expected straight after. Well-developed football-specific stamina enables you to do speed runs or sprints time and again and recover quickly from them. Interval training focuses precisely on this switch from high intensity to recovery.

Interval training is therefore ideal to improve your football-specific endurance. This type of endurance training is very intense. That’s why it is extremely important to warm up well beforehand. This is the only way to avoid injuries.

Remember the following when doing interval training:

  • Warm up thoroughly before training
  • Complete sprints or tempo runs at no less than 75 percent of maximum speed
  • Include turns and changes of direction in the exercises
  • Allow sufficient rest breaks between runs
  • Keep moving during the breaks, walking is enough
  • Stop training if you experience pain or discomfort

Exercises for interval training

1. Interval runs as linear sprints

  • 2 x 8 x 100 metres
  • run at maximum intensity
  • take recovery breaks (walk back, take your time, recover, if necessary, take a standing break)
  • take a break of 5-6 minutes between sets

2. Interval runs as shuttle sprints 1

  • 4 x 4 minutes
  • sprint for a maximum of 20 metres
  •  jog back 20 metres at a relaxed pace
  • take a break of 3-4 minutes between sets

3. Interval runs as shuttle sprints 2

  • 2 x 8 x 40-second shuttle sprints
  • select a 15-metre flat stretch
  • run at 80% of maximum running speed
  • take a break: 30 seconds of walking/standing break
  • take a break of 3-5 minutes between sets

4. Interval runs as mountain runs

  • 2 x 8 x 40-second mountain runs
  • run at 80% of maximum running speed
  • take a break: run or walk back downhill
  • take a break of 3-5 minutes between sets

Interval training is a very effective workout and quickly leads to improvements. For footballers, it is the ideal way to increase football-specific endurance. Interval training requires