2. INTERVAL TRAINING A simple interval training exercise set is as follows:
One 25 One 50 One 75 One 100 One 75 One 50 One 25
Total for one set = 400 yards.
Between runs walk back to the starting line and run the next sprint. The 25’s and 50’s are run at full pace, the 75’s and 100’s at 80% or so. The best way to run them is to find a football, soccer, or Rugby pitch. For a Rugby pitch, begin at the midline and sprint to one 22, turn around and sprint to the far 22, turn around and run (80%) to the goal line, turn around and run (80%) to the other goal line, turn around and run (80%) to the far 22, turn around and sprint to the other 22, turn around and sprint to the midline. That’s one set.
You will do better if you can run these with a partner. Your brain will tell you that you are tired long before you need to stop. Running with a partner will probably keep you going through the exercise.
In the Off-season and early Preseason you should shoot for four (1,600 yards) to six (2,400 yards) sets. In the later Preseason and during the In season period you should be looking at five (2,000 yards) to eight (3,200 yards) sets. Remember, one mile is 1,760 yards.
The purpose behind Interval Training is to stress your body and to decrease the recovery time you need to take. In the Off-season, allow a work to rest ratio of one-to-four. In the late Preseason and the In season the work to rest ratio should be around one-to-three or one-to-two (very businesslike).
I have also attached a nine week Interval Training Program (below) that details an alternative and more structured approach.
3. INTERVAL PROGRAM
This Interval Training Program is a two night per week, nine week course designed to develop acceleration, speed, and endurance. All Intervals are run at either FULL SPEED (flat out) or at FAST SPEED (75% to 85% of maximum effort) with a brisk walk and/or jog back to the start. Alternate starting foot with each run. The Program is quite demanding and NO SUBSTITUTE ACTIVITIES ARE ACCEPTABLE!
WEEK ONE (yards/miles)
Tuesday 2 x 440 yards (FAST) 4 x 220 yards (FAST) (1,760/1.00)
Thursday 4 x 330 yards (FAST) 2 x 110 yards (FAST) 2 x 110 yards (FULL) (1,760/1.00)
Tuesday 3 x 440 yards (FAST) 3 x 220 yards (FAST) (1,980/1.13)
Thursday 2 x 330 yards (FAST) 2 x 220 yards (FAST) 2 x 110 yards (FAST) 2 x 110 yards (FULL) (1,540/0.88)
Tuesday 4 x 440 yards (FAST) 5 x 85 yards (FULL) (2,185/1.24)
Thursday 1 x 440 yards (FAST) 2 x 220 yards (FAST) 5 x 110 yards (FAST) 4 x 85 yards (FULL) (1,770/1.01)
Tuesday 4 x 85 yards (FAST) 4 x 110 yards (FAST) 1 x 220 yards (FAST) 8 x 55 yards (FULL) 1 x 220 yards (FAST) 4 x 110 yards (FAST) 4 x 85 yards (FULL) (2,440/1.39)
Thursday 2 x 220 yards (FAST) 4 x 110 yards (FAST) 5 x 85 yards (FULL) (1,305/0.74)
Tuesday 11 x 25 yards (FULL) 7 x 85 yards (FAST) 3 x 110 yards (FAST) 3 x 220 yards (FAST) 3 x 110 yards (FAST) 2 x 85 yards (FAST) 11 x 25 yards (FULL) (2,635/1.50)
Thursday 2 x 220 yards (FAST) 6 x 110 yards (FAST) 9 x 25 yards (FULL) (1,325/0.75)
Tuesday 4 x 220 yards (FAST) 3 x 110 yards (FAST) 3 x 110 yards (FULL) 5 x 85 yards (FAST) 5 x 85 yards (FULL) 1 x 440 yards (FAST) (2,830/1.61)
Thursday 2 x 440 yards (FAST) 2 x 220 yards (FAST) 6 x 110 yards (FULL) (1,980/1.13)
Tuesday 2 x 330 yards (FAST) 12 x 55 yards (FULL) 1 x 330 yards (FAST) 10 x 85 yards (FULL) 1 x 330 yards (FAST) 10 x 25 yards (FULL) (3,080/1.75)
Thursday 1 x 330 yards (FAST) 10 x 85 yards (FULL) 9 x 25 yards (FULL) 10 x 55 yards (FULL) 9 x 25 yards (FULL) (2,180/1.24)
Tuesday 10 x 110 yards (FAST) 10 x 85 yards (FULL) 10 x 55 yards (FULL) 26 x 25 yards (FULL) (3,150/1.79)
Thursday 19 x 25 yards (FULL) 15 x 55 yards (FULL) 10 x 110 yards (FULL) (2,400/1.36)
Tuesday 15 x 25 yards (FULL) 10 x 55 yards (FULL) 5 x 85 yards (FULL) 3 x 110 yards (FAST) 2 x 220 yards (FAST) 3 x 110 yards (FULL) 5 x 85 yards (FULL) 10 x 55 yards (FULL) 15 x 25 yards (FULL) (3,800/2.16)
Thursday 3 x 220 yards (FAST) 2 x 110 yards (FULL) 10 x 85 yards (FULL) 10 x 55 yards (FULL) 14 x 25 yards (FULL) (2,630/1.49)
4. FARTLEKKING Fartlek is a Scandinavian word meaning “speed play.” The exercise is unstructured and allows you to sprint, run, and walk over varied terrain. Rugby Fartleks, however, are a bit more structured.
Use a High School or College 440 yard track. Starting at the middle of one straightaway jog to the middle of the first turn (110 yards). Sprint through the rest of the turn (55 yards) and jog to the middle of the straightaway (55 yards). At this point an exercise is performed (10 jumping jacks, 10 pushups, 10 star jumps, or 10 sit-ups, rotating through). Following the exercise the jog-sprint-jog is continued to the next straightaway and exercise. Once through all four exercise stations is one-half mile. Keep it up for at least 30 minutes. 60 minutes is even better, once you get to that fitness level.
5. LONG SLOW DISTANCE (LSD)
This is what everyone thinks of as jogging. LSD by itself will not get you fit enough to play Rugby! It is useful to build a good aerobic base upon which all other training is based. Shoot for 30 to 40 minutes (or more) of running at an enjoyable pace. It is especially useful for spreading out and eliminating the lactic acid built up during a match (hence its use on Sundays). The Sunday runs may be as little as 15 to 20 minutes. At no time, however, should LSD be considered a realistic substitute for any other training activity given in this Program. The “guts” of this Program are the Intervals and the Fartleks. You need to do them (religiously) in order to get the benefit!
6. RUGBY-SPECIFIC PLYOMETRICS
Plyometrics require a complete warm-up (high knee marching, stretching, skipping, lunging, slow running with exaggerated movements, etc.). They are not high intensity/long duration exercises (like sprints). They are more like explosive, ballistic, maximum power exercises with a fairly long recovery time in between. We need to focus on quality of the exercise rather than quantity. The recovery time is necessary to allow your body to replenish the creatine phosphate energy system. If you do not allow recovery time, you are dipping into the lactic acid cycle and, eventually, the aerobic system. Neither of these produce the power we are seeking. (Be sure to warm-down at the end of the session, too.)
This means that there is a lot of “down time” when doing plyometrics. This is OK! Do them on days when you won’t be running much– maybe in conjunction with upper-body weight lifting/strength training– as they focus on leg work. Use the down time for mental rehearsal and imagery of what you will be doing next Saturday on the Rugby pitch!
This program is only suggestive. It involves about “400 foot contacts” (that’s a lot!) through various plyometric exercises (do not count warm-up exercises as “foot contacts”). You can alter the composition of the program, but do not exceed the 400 foot contacts. Work to rest ratio means the ratio between the time it takes to complete a sets of repetitions and the rest time between sets.
1. Depth Jump with 180 Degree Turn:
Jump/step off of a bench (18″ high or more), land on both feet, immediately jump as high as you can turning 180 degrees and land on both feet. Repeat. Alternate direction of turn with each repetition. Increase the difficulty by jumping up onto another bench or box (not really necessary, though). Perform 10 sets of 4 with a work to rest ratio of 1:5 or 1:10 to allow complete muscle recovery between sets (i.e.- if you perform 4 jumps in 20 seconds, rest for 100 to 200 seconds– 1.5 to 3 minutes– between sets). 40 foot contacts
2. Depth Jump with 360 Degree Turn:
Same, but increase power of turn so that you go 360 degrees. Perform 10 sets of 4 with work to rest ratio of 1:5 or 1:10. 40 foot contacts
3. Pyramiding Box Hops:
Set up three benches, boxes, stools, chairs, etc. (18″ high) two to three feet apart. Start from the ground hopping up (swinging both arms at same time) onto the bench/box, then the ground, then the next bench/box, then the ground, etc., walk back to the start. Perform 10 sets of 4, work to rest of 1:5 or 1:10. 120 foot contacts
4. Barrier Hops:
Set up three hurdles (can be anything), 18″ to 24″ high. Hop over each in line. Walk back to beginning. Perform 10 sets of 4. 120 foot contacts
5. Alternate Bounding:
This is actually an exaggerated running action. Begin with a short (10 yard) jog to get up to speed. At the starting line begin “bounding,” pushing off hard with each step. The trailing leg should be extended, the knee bent (kick up your heels), and the leading leg extended as far forward as possible before landing without “braking” your momentum.. Go as far as possible and stay in the air as long as possible with each step. Bound 10 steps and walk back to the beginning. Perform 8 repetitions. 80 foot contacts.
2. INTERVAL TRAINING A simple interval training exercise set is as follows: