Athletics NI Host Endurance Coach Network with Dr Stephen Seiler

20 September 2019

Athletics NI Host Endurance Coach Network with Dr Stephen Seiler

On 8th November 2019, Athletics Northern Ireland will host Dr Stephen Seiler, Professor of Sports Science at the University of Adger in Norway, to deliver a seminar on training balance for endurance athletes "Intensify or Extend? Balancing Training Prescription across the Distance Running Range"

The seminar is aimed at endurance athletes training for middle and long distance events and their coaches.

Stephen is known for his research on the training methods for high-performing endurance athletes. This is a heavily debated topic among coaches as much of the research is carried out on athletes that are only moderately well trained. Stephen’s research has focused on high performance athletes. He has discovered that most spend the majority of their training time (~90%) at very low intensities with most of the remainder at high intensities and little time spent in between. This training intensity distribution has become known as 'polarised training' or 80:20 training.

A study by Leif I Tjelta, has recently been published on the Ingebrigtsen brothers and supports the 80:20 system of training-intensity distribution. The study which looked at seven years of the brothers training found some of the factors of their success were an active childhood; a gradual progression in training volume; a relatively high volume of training at or above anaerobic threshold and mindful monitoring and regulation of intensity. Their coach and father, Gert Ingebrigtsen, carefully controls the intensity of every training session.


Coaches attending the session with Dr. Seiler will gain a good understanding of the importance of balancing the training zones to best develop their athletes.

During the session on the 8th November, Dr. Stephen Seiler will discuss:

  • The science behind the polarised training (80:20) theory
  • The endurance sports for which it applies
  • How this may change depending on competition distance - whether it applies to middle distance as well as longer endurance events
  • How it may change throughout the periodised year
  • How it may be applied by athletes that are not full time and struggle to fit the training hours in
  • How to monitor the intensity of sessions

Athletics NI Director of Coaching and Athlete Development, Jackie Newton, said:

“We are focused on supporting our coaches with the most up to date knowledge of training methods and ideas to inform their thinking and plans. We are delighted to host Stephen who is an expert in the field of physiology. We hope to follow this session with resources and opportunities for coaches to continue the discussion and thinking on where time is best spent in each of the training zones.  This session is relevant for coaches and athletes from athletics and other endurance sports.”

The session will be held at the Stormont Hotel, Belfast 7.30pm – 9.30pm on Friday 8th November 2019. This will the night before this year’s Bobby Rea International Cross Country Event. Tickets are £40 for non-members and £30 for Athletics NI registered members. 

Register here