To report the intensity distribution of Premier League soccer players’ external loads during match play, according to recognized physiological thresholds. The authors also present a case in which individualized speed thresholds changed the interpretation of time–motion data.
Eight outfield players performed an incremental treadmill test to exhaustion to determine the running speeds associated with their ventilatory thresholds. The running speeds were then used to individualize time–motion data collected in 5 competitive fixtures and compared with commonly applied arbitrary speed zones.
Of the total distance covered, 26%, 57%, and 17% were performed at low, moderate, and high intensity, respectively. Individualized time– motion data identified a 41% difference in the high-intensity distance covered between 2 players of the same positional role, whereas the player-independent approach yielded negligible (5–7%) differences in total and high-speed distances covered.
The authors recommend that individualized speed thresholds be applied to time–motion-analysis data in synergy with the traditional arbitrary approach.