Whether you’ve played soccer or not you know how much running is involved in the sport. Constant running up and down the pitch is inevitable, especially if you’re a midfielder. It is widely known that during professional matches players run marathon length distances. It is very simple. If you want to play the sport you better learn to love running.
Conditioning for the sport is crucial to stay in competitive shape. Fitness is a major part of the sport. Watch any soccer match and I promise you, you will never see a fat man or woman playing the game, it just does not happen. Just by playing soccer, weight is inevitably lost and people stay in shape, and their bodies look great.
As a young boy I personally hated running because I had real bad asthma. If you have ever had an asthma attack you know exactly what I’m talking about. Your breathing intensifies, and it becomes increasingly harder to find air. I had the terrible experience of having to be rushed to the hospital to treat the attack. The event was a nightmare. Everything felt embarrassing from waiting on the sideline, to waiting for the doctor to call my name in the ER.
Once the doctor called me in and examined my lungs I knew it was bad. After the examination I was given some medication and an inhaling device for when I had future attacks. It’s very difficult to play sports and use an inhaler, especially soccer. Eighty percent of the time you’re running in soccer. If you’re a midfielder in the sport you’re running basically 100% of the time. If you look at soccer players weight, you’ll notice that many of the players aren’t heavier than 175 pounds. Unlike football more running is required more frequently.
To be able to run for long amount of time takes a lot out of the body. An intense fitness regime that incorporates long distance running with short, explosive sprints will put any soccer player in the best position to be competitive. The best training exercise for this is running hills. Running hills is without a doubt the best training exercise that will give you the edge on your competitors. The hill incline gives you an advantage compared to running without elevation. Hill incline is much harder to run on, and also burns twice as much calories than traditional running.
Here is a awesome little article written about running hills and learning to love them – http://www.runnersworld.com/ask-coach-jenny/how-to-learn-to-love-running-hills
Running hills is also much more fun than just running on flat surfaces. It’s also much more of a scenic view running hills in nature. Being able to be up higher than much of the surface beneath you allows you to see much more of the environment surrounding you as apposed to being at low elevation. The beauty of the outdoors and it’s surroundings can truly leave you breathless.
After a long day of running hills hopefully there’s a creek, river, or even lake nearby to jump in. The best memories I had in the summer were running hills during the morning when it was cool, and then when it started to heat up around lunchtime I would jump in the water to cool off. I will note, it’s difficult running hills and living in the city. Most of the time the best hills are far away which requires driving and bringing water. It’s very important to be prepared when you run hills. Bring plenty of snacks, water, and towels when you’re ready to run hills.
If hills are out of question, I do not necessarily suggest substituting stairs instead. Stairs are not natural on the body since they are not as sloped and you may begin to notice knee or or injuries occurring. When in doubt, take the natural route. Try running in sand, grass, or in shallow water. Your body is able to recognize natural environments and adjust their muscles more accordingly.
Hope this little blurb helps and get’s you guys in shape to hit the field!