Spring- and Summertime – General Preparation Time – Part One

Especially about endurance or energy system training there is a lot of discussion and different philosophies and opinions out there. But without a doubt a solid aerobic base is one important factor for a successful yearlong season.

Summertime – endurance training time – especially in Badminton the time from somewhere in may to June or July is obviously the time for general preparation in many if not most countries. In Europe most of the national championships are in February, the team season ends somewhere in April and the youth elite players having there final top tournament, the European junior championship in the mid April. The season again starts somewhere between end of August to mid September in most countries. I have to say that this does not involve top elite athletes who hopefully doing there individual periodization due to different international tournament being played year long and heights of the season which could be continental or world championships or even Olympic games.

But why endurance or even basic endurance training – does this does not have anything in common with the game of Badminton – consisting of roughly 8-12 seconds of sprinting and jumping at high intensity with rest periods in between of 8-25 seconds? So some kind of interval character of the game? Yes and no. At one point this is right and should be also considered – but little later in the preparation phase. At the beginning – like in building a house where one does not start with the roof – one has to build a solid foundation for more demanding training loads to come. Basic endurance training or aerobic energy system training has many goals. For example to train the cardiorespiratory system making it more efficient or to train the fat metabolism which is useful when you look at mid term and long term regeneration processes. Many of the body metabolic processes during regeneration correspond to processes running while doing slow basic endurance work. The body literally trains to regenerate better and faster. This is useful for the athlete in many ways. Cumulated in-season training loads are tolerated more easily through enhanced restoration, the athlete also becomes more resistant to minor illnesses both leading to better trainings capabilities. Looking at short term effects, the athlete playing a tournament at weekends is faster in recovery between matches or even between single rallies. An athlete with a better aerobic base and similar other abilities will beat the athlete with the worse aerobic base in the fifth or eight match of a tournament. Some good argument I think.

But how to work on basic endurance or aerobic base? Most often used training methods are low to moderate endurance runs little below aerobic threshold. This is a term mostly only useful for elite or junior elite athlete which are having sports medicine available testing and assessing different energy system parameters. In general guidelines like “180 minus age” “jog to slow run” or “running with ability to do a conversation” are sufficient – for very ambitious players controlling their heart rate with a good heart rate monitor is a good way preventing them to run to fast and dipping into another energy system (the other way round e.g. for athletes who run to slow). An other simple way is to find one’s pulse at the neck and count the heart rate in 10 seconds, multiplicate this by 6 to have the heart rate per minute.

This for intensity – for the other training parameters, the following guidelines could be used: the endurance run should at least last 20-30 minutes at the beginning and could go up depending on training goals and disciplines to 45-60 minutes. One can run 2-4 times a week which gives enough time for regeneration between the runs – depending on other training loads (e.g. if one is doing other sports or still training more than two time on-court).

As mentioned above – there are many ways to monitor different parameters. I myself love the “new” generations of GPS heart rate monitors. Not only heart rate, time and lap times could be monitored here, but also speed and cadence could be read from the display – giving even more help to keep a moderate speed and compare to past training performances. I am using the Garmin Forerunner 305 – by now an older model but with a very economic price. The good thing about this monitors it also that they track everything down: speed and heart rate, even the route with different altitudes can be seen in the evaluation if you connect the watch to a computer. As training session go by you should see a drop of heart rate at a given speed or you should be able to run faster at a given heart rate.

Depending on your training status and goals you should do at least 2, better 4 and up to 6 weeks of basic endurance training before training more advance energy systems. This will be a topic in Part Two of this three part series.


Diemo Ruhnow

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About the author:

Diemo Ruhnow is currently working as Head National Coach Doubles for the German Badminton Federation. In his free time he writes for his websites http://www.badminton-training.com (English), http://www.badminton-training.de (German) and other Badminton journals.

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