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Knowledge of the most intense periods of competitive soccer may assist in the development of specific training methodologies. Objectives: To quantify the peak running intensity of professional soccer and to establish the rate of decline in this intensity as a function of time. Methods: Activity profiles were obtained from 24 players across 40 professional matches. Peak values were calculated for moving averages 1–10 minutes in duration for relative distance (m∙min−1), high-speed relative distance (HS m∙min−1), average acceleration/deceleration (m∙s2) and metabolic power (Pmet). To quantify the decrease in running intensity for longer moving average durations, each measure was evaluated relative to the moving average duration, as a power law relationship. Results: Peak relative distance and Pmet were lowest for central defenders (effect size [ES] = 0.79–1.84), whilst acceleration/deceleration intensity was highest for wide defenders (ES = 0.67–1.42). Differences in the rate of decline in running intensity between positions were considered trivial to small, indicating a similar rate of decline in running intensity across positions. Conclusions: Using power law, the peak running intensities of professional soccer can now be predicted as a function of time, providing coaches with a useful tool for the prescription and monitoring of specific training drills.


School of Behavioural and Health Sciences

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Journal Article

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