The Sydney Swans hold a 2km time trial at the beginning of pre-season each year.

Earlier this preseaon, defender Robbie Fox stormed home to take out the time trial in first position, followed by new draftee and former QBE Swans Academy athlete Caiden Cleary, and Justin McInerney.

It’s a quick and effective test widely used to indicate aerobic base.

“Football is a unique sport where it combines speed, endurance, strength, mobility and flexibility and a 2km time trial is key pillar in that,” Robert Innes, Head of Performance at the Sydney Swans said.

“Teams that can run out games well are generally winning games.”

You don’t have to be an elite athlete to hold your own time trial. Whether you’re preparing for pre-season at your local football club or just want to improve your speed, we have five tips to assist.

1. Be patient

Nothing good ever comes easy and that is particularly true when it comes to improving your fitness. Rob suggests building up slowly.

“Don’t get disheartened if you’re just starting out and you don’t get the time you want straight off the bat.”

Bonus tip: make sure you ENJOY it. Take the pressure away and have fun being active.

2. Train with someone who’s a better runner

While you might prefer to train alone, running with someone who is better than you is great motivation to push yourself.

"If you really want to find out how quickly you can go, you won’t be able to do it by yourself."

3. Strength training

 Strength training can be important for all aspects of life, but studies show it can improve running efficiency, according to Rob.

"It can also prevent you from getting injured.”

4. Recovery

Recovery is just as important as a proper warm up. Make sure you’re sleeping well and focus on proper nutrition.

Other suggestions from Rob include getting in the water, foam rolling, stretching, massage, and sauna. Whatever makes you feel good.

5. Come up with a plan

Coming up with a training plan not only keeps you accountable but prevents burn out and injury. Rob suggests starting with a run aimed at endurance once a week, and another aimed at speed work.

Be sure to plan around your lifestyle and limitations.

“You need to give yourself time,” Rob adds.

It’s important to be active everyday but exercising for a minimum of three days for over 20 minutes of day is recommended.

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