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How Running Can Improve Athletic Performance in a Number of Sports


At the peak of his prime, eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao could knock anyone out with his left hook. But what made Pacquiao extra special was his ability to go hard for a full 12 rounds. The key to Pacquiao’s unfaltering energy and Spartan endurance is without doubt his phenomenal conditioning program, of which running is a vital component. His intense 4–5 mile runs on the hills and trails of Griffith Park, have become legendary, and he routinely supplemented them with sprints on the tracks of UCLA’s Drake Stadium. Running itself did not transform Pacquiao into this lean, mean fighting machine, but it certainly helped.

Why Run?

Running is part of pretty much every elite athlete’s training regimen, and for good reason: it improves athletic performance. Now, no amount of running will ever turn a Brian Scalabrine into a Giannis Antetokounmpo, but there is plenty of evidence that it can help athletes in a variety of ways. The Faculty of Kinesiology of the University of Zagreb found that sprint training helps improve explosiveness, which is critical in almost every sport that requires movements such as leaps, changes of pace, and sudden bursts of speed. Athletes in basketball, football, soccer, baseball, and athletics, will all make sure that running is a key component of their training.

Weight Maintenance

As we have already explained in ‘6 Effective Ways to Tone Your Body’, running is a full body workout, and it can help athletes of any sport, at any level (and basically everyone else) lose weight and tone their bodies. Weight maintenance is important part of athletic training, and can be the difference between victory and defeat. Of course, running necessitates a good, durable, and comfortable pair of shoes, like our Sensoria Smart Running Shoes. These shoes are the only ones on the market equipped with textile pressure sensors infused under the plantar area of the foot.

Enhanced Endurance

Researchers from Sheffield Hallam University's Centre for Sport and Exercise Science studied the benefits of incorporating high intensity running into the training of soccer players. In their study, they subjected professional soccer players to high-intensity running training for six weeks. The researchers found out that those who performed high-intensity runs showed gains in anaerobic performance, maximal running speed, and distance covered over time. Just as important, those who did the high-intensity running were able to perform at a high level for a longer period of time before fatigue set in.

Players in the English Premier League, arguably the most physically demanding soccer league in the world today, incorporate lots of running and sprinting in their training to keep up with the demands of the modern game. Coral detail that in a typical Premier League match the first substitution typically happens around the 59-minute mark. Just a minute prior, the first yellow card is usually handed out, with the site noting that this is the time when defenders start to tire and mistakes are made. Without world-class endurance, many players would be exhausted just 15 minutes after the interval, and they would have little left in the tank for the last stretch of the match, especially in a close game. A study of Premier League matches during the 2005–2006 season found that high-intensity running among players waned considerably in the last 15 minutes of a match. This is why the title winning teams will have the fittest players.

The benefits of running to improve athletic performance are evident in all sports. For readers looking to improve their own game in their chosen sport, incorporating running will have many positive effects as long as you stick to a progressive training program and take advice from professional conditioning coaches. 

Written by AthleteInspire_AC

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