Speed Endurance Training

These speed endurance drills will help you to maintain a higher work rate for longer.

They are excellent for improving performance in sports such as football, soccer, hockey and basketball. Any athlete that is required to repeat high intensity sprints in quick succession can benefit from this type of training.

The accumulation of blood lactate disturbs the excitation-contraction coupling and cross-bridge formation. In other words, the muscle’s mechanical properties are disturbed. The result? A decrease in force production, peak force and velocity (1,2,3).

Training can improve the clearance rate of lactate and reduce early lactate formation (4,5,6).

Both submaximal aerobic exercise and interval training can improve the body’s ability to buffer and tolerate lactate. However, only intense interval training can increase various important components of anaerobic power and capacity. Submaximal aerobic exercise does not and may even decrease anaerobic enzyme activity (not good for speed development!) (1,2,4,5,7,8).

Speed endurance training is similar to speed or sprint training, however there are two important distinctions:

  1. Repetitions should last from 30 seconds up to 2-3 minutes as opposed to 5-10 seconds for speed drills.
  2. Rest intervals between repetitions is reduced to prevent complete recovery.

Speed Endurance Drills

Speed endurance training should form the later part of pre-season training and in-season training. It is important to develop a solid fitness base beforehand, which includes strength and endurance conditioning.

No more than two speed endurance sessions are required. This may be reduced to once a week during the competitive season. Because speed endurance training can be so demanding, keep session duration to 20-30 minutes maximum. Rest intervals should consist of active recovery exercises such as walking or jogging slowly on the spot.

High Intensity Shuttle Run

  • Pace out 30 meters on grass or a running track. Place a cone at the start and at 5 meter intervals (7 cones in total).
  • Sprint from the starting cone to 5 meter cone and back. Turn and sprint to 10 meter cone and back to start. Sprint to 15meter cone and back to start and so on until you sprint the full 30 meters and back.
  • Rest for 90 seconds and repeat. Complete a total of 6 sets keeping rest periods to 90 seconds.


  • Pace out 50 meters placing a cone at the start and then at 10 meter intervals (6 cones in total).
  • Starting at the first cone sprint all out for 10 meters and walk the remaining 40 meters.
  • Turn and sprint 20 meters and walk for 30 meters.
  • Turn and sprint 30 meters and walk for 20 meters.
  • Turn and sprint 40 meters and walk for 10 meters. Finally…
  • Turn and sprint 50 meters and then turn and sprint 50 meters again back to the start.
  • This is classed as one set. Rest for 90 seconds and repeat for a total of 4 sets. Rest for a full 3 minutes and repeat.

Cruise And Sprint

  • Mark out a distance of 100 meters. From the start gradually accelerate to reach full speed at about 60 meters. Sprint all out for the final 40 meters.
  • Slow down gradually, turn and repeat.
  • Continue for 2 minutes and then rest for 2 minutes. This is one set. Repeat for a total of 6 sets.

Hollow sprint

  • Set 5 cones out in 30 meters intervals. Sprint 30 meters, jog 30 meters, sprint 30 meters and jog 30 meters to the final cone.
  • Turn around and repeat always alternating jogging and sprinting. Work for 2 minutes and then rest for 2 minutes.
  • This is one set. Try to complete a total of 6 sets.

Cross Drill

  • Using 4 cones mark a box 30 meters by 30 meters. Place another cone in the center of the box.
  • Starting at the center cone sprint to each corner and back in a clockwise direction. Once you have completed a circuit rest for 60 seconds.
  • Perform a total of 6 circuits to complete one set. A session could contain up to 4 sets with a 3 minute rest interval between sets.