A practical example
Some athletes may have the same MAS scores, but differing MSS. Let’s take the example of two athletes (for fun, let’s call them James de Lacey, my Science for Sport colleague, and me, Matt Solomon), both with a MAS of 18km/h. James has an MSS of 30km/h, Matt of 36km/h. These athletes have an ASR of 12km/h and 18km/h respectively.
If you prescribed conditioning training based solely on their MAS scores, James would have to work closer to their maximal sprint speed than Matt. This causes an issue because either James is working way too hard, or Matt is sauntering around with no difficulty at all. By allowing for their ASR, coaches can optimise an athlete’s conditioning work.
Let’s take the following practical examples:
Example 1: Coach prescribes running at 120% MAS. For both James and Matt, this is 21.6km/h.
Example 2: Coach prescribes running at 100% MAS + 20% ASR. James runs at 20.4km/h and Matt runs at 21.6km/h.
In this example, we can see allowing for the ASR has meant James no longer overworks during their conditioning training.
“Instead of prescribing intervals based only on percentages of MAS, we can now prescribe intervals based on the percentage of the reserve. Instead of doing 15s of work of 120% MAS, we can probably do it at 20% of the ASR. And a player with a greater reserve will do more work than or run at a higher speed than another athlete with the same MAS but a smaller reserve,” Buchheit said.