Author: Scott Moody, AthleteFIT
At Athlete FIT we are always in search of new ways to assess game-based soccer fitness in a training environment. We have played around with many different styles of off-field conditioning drills such as our repeated sprint interval, our Soccer Specific Fitness Interval and our 90-second interval, and the 4-mile interval is the next in a long line of great soccer specific workouts that provide both a tremendous training effect as well as a great way to assess game-based fitness.
In elite professional players, the distance is right around 6 miles (10 km). For our younger players (high school age) we assume that due to the speed of play, stoppage time and shortened game length, the distance is more accurately around 4 miles (6.5 km). We also know that about 2/3 of the game is spent at a walking or jogging intensity, and the remaining 1/3 of the game is a mix of running, sprinting and change of direction.
A few years ago, we tried to simplify this in a 20-second walk, 20-second jog and 20-second run intervals for a period of 4 miles (and since that time we have created about a dozen variations of these walk-jog-run intervals). The goal of this version was to finish the workout as quickly as possible, using the walk (and sometimes jog) as recovery from the strong runs. Our more advanced players completed the 4 miles in roughly 35 to 40 minutes, with 1/3 coming from running and 2/3 coming from walking or jogging.
This workout worked very well for a while, until we started questioning the lack of high intensity runs. We then decided to take this 4-mile format and build in phases of longer jogs or runs and more max effort sprint phases. To keep it simple we broke it down into 4 phases, or distances, that the players would cover.
To get the workout and the full article along with diagrams and charts, download Amplified Soccer Athlete Digital Magazine.