Too many soccer players don’t run enough on their own time. They rely solely on the training done with their team. Each team trains a different amount of time depending on how serious they are a team but the reality is most players could run more than they currently do. They could also improve the sport specific training required to maximize their soccer abilities.
So how often should soccer players run? The answer is six days a week. This way, when game time comes you’ll be flying up and down the field and cardio won’t even come into question. Your legs will be fresh and this will make you more calm in your movements with the ball, with your shooting on net and in your overall decision making.
However, make sure you’re doing the proper kind of running. The key point often neglected by many soccer players and coaches is your running should simulate the same movements you do in a game. This includes: jumping, side stepping, plyometrics and short sprints. Therefore, don’t run six days a week doing long distance running. You must train your body so it is versatile and the mechanics are ready for the same movements it will experience in a game.
You can do a combination of short sprints (20 yards) where you focus on fast feet. These are short, lighting fast steps where you pump the arms and raise the knees. Also, training on the beach where you do all of your jumping and short sprints will increase your cardio more than anything else. Train on the beach for a month and then train on a field…it will seem easy.
All distance should be done in intervals. The longer sprints should be no more than 200 meters. For example, 6 x 50 meter sprints; 4 x 100 meter sprints; 3 x 200 meter sprints each with 45 second recovery. It is best to break up the day runs where you do a few longer sprint intervals and a few short ones per week. And don’t worry, running six day a week for 45 minutes to an hour will take care of the long distance running. You won’t have any problems playing a 90 minute game.
Your running routine be 45 minutes to one hour of running per day. If you can’t find the time of day, then get up earlier and run first thing in the morning.
Remember to train at 100% intensity. If you don’t, then you’ll defeat the purpose of training. However, if you’re just starting this running routine, it is best to slowly build up the intensity so you don’t injure or burn yourself out. However, within two weeks you’ll notice a drastic improvement in your cardio and the best part is you’ll only get fitter as you continue to train.
Best of luck and let me know if you have any questions or comments.