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Is the metabolic power paradigm ecologically valid within elite Gaelic football?



To examine the association between the metabolic power paradigm during training and match-play and objective aerobic fitness measures within elite Gaelic football players.


Twenty-five elite Gaelic football players completed objective physiological testing for VO2max, vVO2max, Peak treadmill Velocity (PTV), Running economy (RE) and selected blood lactate concentrations of 2 mmol L−1 (S2) and 4 mmol L−1 (S4). Aerobic testing was performed at the start of the season and at the halfway point of the season. Training and match-play running performances were recorded across the period with global positioning system technology (GPS; 4-Hz; VX Sport, Lower Hutt, New Zealand). Instantaneous raw velocity data were obtained from the GPS and exported to a customised spreadsheet which provided estimations of total distance (m), high-speed running distance (m; 17 km h−1), very-high-speed running distance (m; 22 km h−1), total accelerations (n), acceleration distance (m), peak and mean velocity (km h−1). Furthermore, changes in velocity were analysed which allowed for the assessment of the metabolic power paradigm during these training and match-play events.


Players average metabolic power (Pmet; W Kg−1) observed to have a large association with VO2max (r = 0.76–0.88) and velocity at VO2max (r = 0.72–0.91) in training and match situations. Interestingly, peak treadmill velocity showed a moderate association with training and match-play high metabolic power distance (r = 0.56–0.76). Large associations were observed between high power distance during match and training categories and velocity at VO2max (r = 0.76–0.89). Furthermore, high power distance was observed to have a large association with peak treadmill velocity (r = 0.72–0.91) in training and match situations with lactate variables showing a small to moderate association with metabolic power variables.


The current investigation is the first to provide evidence towards the ecological validity of the metabolic power paradigm to assess aerobic fitness within elite Gaelic football. Practitioners should consider the association between aerobic fitness and specific metabolic load paradigm variables within their monitoring system as a potential means to understand the impact of training plans within elite Gaelic football players.

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The authors would like to state that they have no conflicts of interest to declare while also thanking the management and players of the teams involved in the current investigation



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Authors and Affiliations



SM, AS, KC, AMcR, DD, SM: Conceptualization, methodology, resources. SM formal analysis, data curation, project admin. SM, DD, AS: writing original draft. SM; KC; AS; DD; AMcR: writing—review and editing.

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Correspondence to Shane Malone.

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Ethical approval was granted by the research ethics committee of the Technological University Dublin, Tallaght. All procedures performed in the study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Trust and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Malone, S., Shovlin, A., Collins, K. et al. Is the metabolic power paradigm ecologically valid within elite Gaelic football?. Sport Sci Health 17, 551–561 (2021).

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  • Training profile; match analysis
  • Intermittent team sport
  • GPS
  • Maximal oxygen uptake
  • Metabolic power
  • Aerobic fitness
  • Match-play
  • Training demands