4.11 Speed Endurance

“Endurance” is a very generic term. As it relates to sports, “endurance” refers to an athlete having the ability to perform for a longer period of time. While this is a desirable goal, it really matters at what level of intensity and accuracy an athlete is able to perform. As discussed throughout this manual, the Parisi program improves an athlete’s speed during all phases of acceleration and maximum speed. These global improvements to an athlete’s linear speed mechanics will also improve an athlete’s speed endurance abilities. For an athlete to achieve their true peak with speed-endurance, Parisi sessions must target this trainable quality just as they would other elements of speed.

Speed endurance drills and training are valuable for an athlete that is required to repeat high intensity sprints. Speed endurance programming requires an athlete to build up their speed volume – which increases work capacity and develops their speed reserve. This is the gas in the tank if they are going to continue to be able to perform at a high-level during the later periods in their sport competition. Try not to focus on anaerobic versus aerobic training. Anaerobic work ends up being a by product of all the work the athlete should be putting in during the training.

Speed endurance programming must be dialed in. Like building absolute strength, speed endurance requires a well thought out plan of progressions. This progression occurs in phases. An athlete’s work capacity must be built before putting them through speed endurance sessions. If the speed endurance training program just pushes the athlete to train maximum speed at high volumes, before appropriately building their speed-strength and mechanical foundation, the muscle’s mechanical properties can be negatively affected. This disturbance will lead to a build up of blood lactate, decrease an athlete’s force application, decrease their overall speed and their ability to recover.

Before an athlete can begin a speed endurance program they need to develop a solid aerobic, anaerobic and strength base. Parisi coaches should give mechanical guidance during these sessions, however the focus is on the volume and quality of performance. If an athlete is struggling with performing fundamental speed mechanics they are not ready for a speed endurance session. Coaches can simply use a stopwatch to view the consistency of an athlete’s times. Make sure your athlete is able to maintain solid mechanics and that their times are clustered. Keep in mind that a varsity level athlete who runs several 30 yd sprints with inconsistent mechanics with highly variable times is not ready for speed endurance training. In addition, the athletes must already have the work capacity to be able to benefit from a well designed speed endurance program.

An athlete progresses from Phase 1 to 2 after completing 2-3 weeks of Phase 1, 2 times a week.Rest intervals should be a consistent length and include active recovery movements like walking, skipping and jogging.

Check out Master Trainer Steve Leo breaking down Speed Endurance in this 5-part presentation: