The aim of the current study was to identify the external-training-load markers that are most influential on session rating of perceived exertion (RPE) of training load (RPE-TL) during elite soccer training.
Twenty-two elite players competing in the English Premier League were monitored. Training-load data (RPE and 10-Hz GPS integrated with a 100-Hz accelerometer) were collected during 1892 individual training sessions over an entire in-season competitive period. Expert knowledge and a collinearity r < .5 were used initially to select the external training variables for the final analysis. A multivariateadjusted within-subjects model was employed to quantify the correlations of RPE and RPE-TL (RPE × duration) with various measures of external training intensity and training load.
Total high-speed-running (HSR; >14.4 km/h) distance and number of impacts and accelerations >3 m/s2 remained in the final multivariate model (P < .001). The adjusted correlations with RPE were r = .14, r = .09, and r = .25 for HSR, impacts, and accelerations, respectively. For RPE-TL, the correlations were r = .11, r = .45, and r = .37, respectively.
The external-load measures that were found to be moderately predictive of RPE-TL in soccer training were HSR distance and the number of impacts and accelerations. These findings provide new evidence to support the use of RPE-TL as a global measure of training load in elite soccer. Furthermore, understanding the influence of characteristics affecting RPE-TL may help coaches and practitioners enhance training prescription and athlete monitoring.
Gaudino, Strudwick, Hawkins, and Gregson are with the Research Inst for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK. Iaia and Alberti are with the Dept of Biomedical Sciences for Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy. Atkinson is with the Health and Social Care Inst, Teesside University, Teesside, UK.