The current investigation examined the relationships between external training load measures and the session rating of perceived exertion (s-RPE) within Gaelic football players. Furthermore, we examined the effect that player experience, playing position and 1-km time trial performance had on perception of training load. Physical performance (Total distance, high speed distance, very high speed distance, max velocity, total accelerations, maximal velocity exposures) and perceived training load (s-RPE) data were collected from 45 elite inter-county Gaelic football players (mean +/- SD age of 24.2 +/- 2.9 yr; height: 180 +/- 7 cm; mass: 81 +/- 7 kg) over a one year period this resulted in 4,095 individual training session data being collected. There were moderate to very large associations between s-RPE and distance measures. Post hoc analysis revealed that the 0- to 1-year group had a higher s-RPE training load than the 2- to 3-year (d = 0.84 +/- 0.33, small), 4- to 6-year (d = 0.91 +/- 0.30, small) and 7+ year (d = 0.81 +/- 0.30, small) groups. Midfielders reported higher s-RPE when compared to all positions (d = 1.21 +/- 0.21, moderate). Half-backs (d = 0.81 +/- 0.30, small), and half forwards (d = 0.84 +/- 0.31, small) had a higher s-RPE training load than the full backs and full forwards when external training load was accounted for (d = 1.21 +/- 0.58, moderate). When aerobic fitness was considered, a 1.2% AU increase in s-RPE training load per 1 s increase in time-trial time (90% CL: 1.07-2.64) when external training load was held constant was observed. The current investigation has shown moderate to very large associations between s-RPE and distance measures. When experience and fitness were considered as potential moderators of training load it was observed that a given external training load may result in different internal responses between athletes. This potentially leaves individuals at risk of overtraining or failing to elicit positive adaptation. It is therefore vital that coaches and trainers give consideration to these mediators of s-RPE training load.
Copyright (C) 2017 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.