Integrated Running – Training All 3 Energy Systems for Sports

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Integrated Running – Training All 3 Energy Systems for Sports

Integrated running is a model I like to use when working with team sports. When you start to do a running needs analysis of most court and field based sports you will quickly identify that all 3 areas of energy system training are required namely:

  • Aerobic Sustained running that continues for a period of greater than 2mins. Important for building joint and tendon strength for running and cardio-respiratory efficiency.
  • Glycolitic/Lactic High level running that can be maintained for 15sec to 2mins. Important for the body to become more efficient with lactic acid tolerance and clearance.
  • Phosphate Close to maximal level running that can be maintained up to 15sec. Important for the body to become more efficient in resynthesising phosphates in the muscle for energy.


Integrated Running - Training for All 3 SystemsIn my last blog I talked about linear periodization with strength training and how this is primarily suited to single event sports; in running this may be a marathon or 400m. Unlike these events, team sports require an aerobic endurance component that will enable an athlete to continue performing at a high level for the duration of the contest. They may be required you to endure the build up of lactic acid as well as require the athlete to run at high velocities for short distances at regular intervals.

As such it is important that all these qualities are simultaneously trained across the training week in an integrated model that will enable the athlete to improve these qualities. Exposure to these qualities do not necessarily need to be specifically running, they may from part of a skills or modified game component.

So if we look at a typical team sport training week i.e. Game on day 7, a training week would have these running qualities.

  • Day 1 Rest Day
  • Day 2 Recovery
  • Day 3 Aerobic and Glycolitic/Lactic
  • Day 4 Glycolitic/Lactic and Phosphate
  • Day 5 Rest Day
  • Day 6 Phosphate
  • Day 7 Game


As you will appreciate there are other training qualities such as Strength, Power, Speed and skills that also need to be incorporated into the training week for team sports. It is important to consider the effect that each of these qualities will have on the other when you plan your training week.

It is important to vary the time and of course apply your overload principles.

Be creative and train hard.

John Mitchell
John Mitchell is the Australian Rugby Union National Strength and Conditioning Coordinator
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