FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer players face endurance tests not unlike running a marathon. There are many similarities between marathoners and soccer players, most notably the ability to perform at a high level for a long period of time. Soccer players follow proper running form to improve speed while interval training for marathoners and running drills for soccer players both increases speed. Both sports employ weight training and hill running for better technique and strong quads.
Doubtless, both sports require the following elements: endurance, stamina, strength, focus and mental toughness.
Soccer players spend more time running on the pitch than any other team sport and some play up to 90 minutes or in other words, the whole game. Without the aforementioned speed and endurance, the game would slow down noticeably in the waning minutes of the second half.
Top 5 running tips for soccer players and others who want to improve stamina and endurance:
1. Strides, 10 repeat, (120 meters with 20 seconds rest) increase speed should be done after a run.
2. Step drills – lunges, butt kicks, quick step, side steps – 2 sets of 6 improve running form, should be done after the warm-up. Warm-up for about 10 minutes.
3. Hill training done on treadmill or road – 8-10 hill repeats; recovery run down the hill – find a hill with a 10 per cent grade and is about 400 meters (once a week)
4. Stretching should be done after every workout. Hold each stretch for 40 seconds. Do your hamstrings, quads, calves, hip flexor, IT Band and your upper body, including arm stretches.
5. Speed play – Fartlek (periods of hard running followed by shorter periods of easy running) – include in the program once a week. Example, run a 20 minute Fartlek – run various distances – 1 minute with 30 seconds recovery, 2 minutes with half the amount of recovery and so on.
As for where the similarities end, I like to point out that soccer players need bursts of speed, balance, the ability to intercept the ball, as well their opponents at top flight, while being able to turn on a dime. These unique athletes have to be able to multi-task, their sport takes them up and down the field, deflecting and averting other players, while following the play of the ball. It’s a sport that is up-tempo and uses considerable physical and mental reflexes. And at FIFA World Cup of Women’s Soccer level, it can be amazing to watch.
Christine Blanchette started running in 1999 and five months later she finished the Vancouver Marathon in a time that qualified her to run the iconic Boston Marathon. A year later Christine completed a 50-kilometer ultra marathon in Victoria, B.C., her second place finish allowed her to gain more confidence, while her passion for the sport grew.
As an avid high performance runner, who started the Run Club at the City of Richmond, just outside Vancouver, Christine has gone on to teach faculty and students at the University of British Columbia’s Athletics Department. There she has taught the Half Marathon Clinic for eight years and counting. This led her to host BC’s only Running, Fitness and Health Show on Shaw TV called, “Run With It”.
Christine is the creator, producer, and host of the show, which is now in its second season. Her interview subjects range from amateur and professional athletes, coaches and managers, to music celebrities and actors, the theme being fitness and health. “Run With It” calls on viewers to engage in physical fitness and promotes physical literacy, targeting all ages.
Known also for her health and fitness articles, Christine’s stories have been published in The Seattle Times, Huffington Post, Women’s National Post, The Vancouver Sun, and Canadian Running Magazine.
Connect with Christine… www.christineruns.com