3. Finish sessions Tempos.
Tempo runs can work really well as a non-intensive method of building our aerobic capacity. Using them at the end of field or court sessions might just be a safe and clever way to build work capacity and your aerobic system.
What are tempo’s?
Well in field sport Tempo running is defined as running performed at 65 – 75% percent of one’s maximum speed. What is important on how to perform tempo is you want the last rep of your runs to be the same speed as the first runs.(Charliefrancis.com). Running faster can actually have a detrimental effect on your recovery and development. Tempos really should be pretty enjoyable.
The simplest and most common (and method i suggest for a training finisher) is to run 70-100M and walk back. Generally i like 100 as its nice and tidy to measure and calculate.
Now a Max speed is needed, or a very good ball park. A timed 100M run would be good, but most Club Level athletes will fall in the 16-24 second range. If you look at this table made up by the very kind Simon Naimby (@sinainby ) of Underground Athletics, he has entered his sprint time for 100M and this table spits out a range for him making the 100M for tempos. Seen below are some other Charlie Francis examples and methods, but i would keep them for individual days or extra days and let athletes play around with them themselves and more particularly for Pre-Season when using the intensive methods. For finishers at training stick to the straight line 100 Tempo Run:100 Walk.
However for lower level athletes, power athletes, court athletes, large athletes who fatigue easily and are good over shorter distances maybe a 60M test would be better, and then run 60M Tempo’s. The reps would be higher but volume similar to everyone else.
So at the end of your normal session the players simply run 100M in about 65-75% and walk back. It really is that simple. The benefits are huge.
Trust is needed on a level for this, but you are going nowhere without it anyway. This may not be a year 1 thing to do or possibly in your first few months with a team. Trust has to be built both ways and a team may think you are bluffing by setting up tempos and walking away. So its not a magic wand either. However it is a great tool to use possibly early pre season and in-season to maintain conditioning, build work capacity and maintain body composition.
If athletes want to do some extra work and are that enthusiastic a good session would be starting with a mix of technical weakness work followed by a tempo session. In a standalone session athletes will be able to do more reps than at the end of a session. For some athletes this could be more important than a gym session and could maybe precede a short strength session as we generally go after the more important quality first. Tempos can be a great boost for a player returning from injury as well.
Its very important that if you are starting to struggle to keep the times even that you bow out. Your fatigue levels can vary wildly due to life and exercise stresses. These Tempos are a handy addition, but should enhance your athleticism, not derail it.
Suggested Guidelines (what a base level might be after 4 weeks of 2-3 sessions per week, depending on level):
Stand Alone Tempo Sessions Off-season
Gaelic Sports - 80-100M x30 runs (Track/Grass)
Basketball - 50-75M x50-60 runs (track/grass)
Field Hockey - 60-80M x45-65 runs (Turf/Track/Grass)
Rugby Forwards - 60-80M x30-40 runs (Track/Grass)
Rugby Backs - 100M x25-35 runs (Track/Grass)
Soccer - 100M x35-45 runs (Track/Grass)
Stand Alone Tempo Sessions Pre-season
Gaelic Sports - Extensive Circuits (Run 100- Walk 50) x3 as 1 set, walk 100 between sets X4-6 sets (Grass)
Basketball - Extensive Circuits (Run 112, 4 lengths of court- Walk 56) x3 as 1 set, walk 112 between sets X5-8 sets
Field Hockey - Extensive Circuits (Run 100- Walk 50) x3 as 1 set, walk 100 between sets X3-5 sets (Turf)
Rugby Forwards - Extensive Circuits (Run 50- Walk 25) x3 as 1 set, walk 50 between sets X8-12 sets (Grass)
Rugby Backs - Extensive Circuits (Run 100- Walk 50) x3 as 1 set, walk 50 between sets X4-6 sets (Grass)
Soccer - Extensive Circuits (Run 100- Walk 50) x3 as 1 set, walk 50 between sets X5-8 sets (Grass)
In-Season Post training Tempos
Gaelic Sports - 80-100M x5-12 runs (Grass)
Basketball - 56M x10-20 runs (court)
Field Hockey - 60-80M x5-12 runs (Turf)
Rugby Forwards - 60-80M x8-15 runs (Track/Grass)
Rugby Backs - 100M x8-15 runs (Track/Grass)
Soccer - 100M x10-20 runs (Track/Grass)
* Bike or Pool tempos may be suitable for some athletes who have a very high training age, are very big players or are coming back from injury and physio advice is to lower running volume. What we do have to get right here is are these central or peripheral (muscles) adaptations or stresses we are training, and when we change implements used (running to bike for example) we need to be careful of what we are training. Tempo running will not overly stress the Central Nervous System, so its important that whatever replacements you use do not either. 30 second pedals with 30 rest seem a good replacement here and you can keep the volume similar. 30 seconds @70% Max sprint on bike, with 30 seconds easy peddling. To find your max hopefully the stationary bike has a monitor. A 20 second all out sprint will help and hopefully it will record your fastest speed. Work 70% off that speed then for your tempos.
see charliefrancis.com for more
Note: If as we suggest elsewhere you do weight training with field training and you want to incorporate tempos in like above, do the weights before training and keep volume and amount of exercises really low.
Please email me if you want the template from Charlie Francis approach courtesy of Underground Athletics. firstname.lastname@example.org