Speed Endurance Testing

Speed endurance is the ability to maintain speed over a distance where the body is starting to fatigue, but before the onset of the debilitating effects of lactic acid (there will be raised lactate levels in this test, but it not of the sort experienced by a 400m runner for example).

In practical terms, this means the degree to which speed can be maintained over distances of between 100m and 250m.

Here we would like to recommend two different tests: The first is a much more straightforward one that we have put together, the second is called the RAST (Running-based Anaerobic Sprint Test) and was devised at the University of Wolverhampton. It is more scientific than ours, as it uses power formulae to work out the rate at which the athlete is able to work.

Speed Endurance Test 1

This is very straightforward. The athlete simply performs:

  1. 180, 150, 120m with 15 minute recoveries, each with a 20m run-in to a flying start
  2. We then take the average / 100m time from these 3 runs (e.g. a 24-second 150m will work out at 16 seconds per 100m).

Prior to this, the athlete will have done the Speed Test (3 x flying 30ms) and now we take both these results and compare the drop off in speed between the two (on a per 100m basis).

The better the athlete's speed endurance, the closer these two results will be to each other.

The results here are relative to the athletes overall speed. If the athlete manages to keep the difference in time per 100m to within 0.5 seconds, then they can be considered to have excellent speed endurance. If the difference is more than 1 second per 100m, then that is indicative that this is an element of the athletes make up that should be worked on (particularly if the athlete is competing in distances of 800m or less).

RAST Test for Speed Endurance

This involves running:

  1. 6 x 35m with 10 secs recovery (up and down a 35m portion of track)
  2. The times for each run are measured, and then the complicated part starts!
  3. Power = Weight of Athlete (kg) x Distance squared / Time cubed

What we are trying to measure is the drop-off in performance as the test progresses. We want to glean a number of pieces of information from this test.

That is how much power can be generated. What does this level fall to by the end of the test? What is the rate at which the power reduces?

Clearly the maximum power produced is likely to be the result of the first run. A results of 600-700 watts is reasonable, and anything in advance of 1000 watts is excellent

The minimum shows the level that can be held together under fatigue. A result within 300 watts of the maximum level is okay.

More importantly than the minimum is the average rate at which the power production is produced. This is (Max Power - Min Power) / Total cumulative time. If this result is over 10 then the athlete should look at their training regime and work harder on speed endurance. A score of under 7 is very good.