This past weekend, our University of Toronto men’s soccer team clinched first place in our division with a 10-1-2 record. We still have one more game to go but it doesn’t really mean much as we play the worst team in the province, and regardless of the outcome we’ll still be sitting in first.
Needless to say, we’re still going to go after them for the win.
But our focus now is on the playoffs.
Contrary to European soccer leagues, if you win your league in North America it doesn’t really matter. All that matters is the playoffs. There’s been many years where we’ve finished first and lost our first playoff game – and that was the end of our season!
So with the all important playoffs just 2 weeks away, now is the time where we will be stepping up our training even more and holding our players accountable to some very high standards.
One of the ways we’ll be doing this is by continually pushing the fitness level of our team.
So far, in all of our games, we’ve demonstrated that we were much fitter than our competition. Â But I (and the guys) know that they can still be fitter.
Since we’ve already established a substantial aerobic base over the past 3 months, these next few weeks will be focused on high intensity interval running workouts.
The reason for this is that in soccer there’s a change of pace every 5-6 seconds. Since specificity is the name of the training game, we need to train like that as well.
I’ve previously disclosed many of our pre-season running workouts on my previous Treadmill Trainer blog (which just recently crashed) but in this post, I’m going to share 2 really good anaerobic running workouts!
Power Endurance Workout
One of the workouts I recently put the team through was a lot of fun. It’s focus was on power endurance. This means being to move a certainly load over a certain distance as fast as possible.
We used field hockey nets (which reside in the end zone of our stadium) for this workout.
Basically, how it works is one player stands behind the field hockey net (which is on its side) and then, as powerfully as possible, pushes the net across 30 yards to a teammate. This is then repeated for 5 minutes.
This is an incredible running workout for developing power and anaerobic endurance and has a lot of transfer to sprint performance and helping you run faster!
Anaerobic Running Workout (ie. Vomit-Inducer)
At the end practice we’ve started to test our guys’ mental fortitude by having them complete a full field shuttle run, which consists of the following:
- run from the goal to 20 yards, and return
- run from the goal to half (55 yards), and return
- run from the goal to 75 yards, and return
- run from the goal to the opposite goal line (110 yards), and return
I believe the total distance of this run is just under 500 yards and the goal is for the guys to complete it under 1 minute and 45 seconds.
We’re happy to see that 75% of our team can accomplish that feat.
Because this “test” is so heavily dependent on anaerobic energy, a lot of lactic acid is produced and if you really push yourself you may even feel like vomiting. That’s what intense anaerobic training does.
But it’s important nonetheless.
Especially if you want to run down your opponents for 90 minutes at a high tempo, you need to be able to push yourself way out of your comfort zone. These type of anaerobic running workouts can make a huge difference, not only for your physical strength but for your mental strength as well!
Stay tuned as I continue to share more of my sport-specific conditioning workouts with you on this blog.
After all, that’s what Fitter U Fitness is all about – pro athlete training for the everyday person!