Wednesday, 24 Jul 2024

How Much Do Soccer Players Run In Training?

Soccer players running in training

Like most team sports, running is an integral part of being a top soccer player. Having the ability to run well is highly valued by coaches when selecting players for their squads. Training is where soccer players focus on improving their running ability and strengthening their weaknesses. Today, we will explore how much soccer players run in training.

Running In Training – In-Season vs Off/Pre-Season

Pre-season training is the most demanding period for players. It is the time when they can take a break from league games but still need to prepare for the upcoming season. During pre-season, players typically run an average of 7 miles per game, and they replicate this distance in their training sessions to ensure they are adequately prepared.

Once the season begins, players need to find a balance between running in training and resting for games. Since they already cover a significant distance during matches, they cannot push themselves as hard during training sessions. Overtraining can lead to injuries or fatigue during actual games. However, there are exceptions, and some training sessions may be more intense depending on the team’s schedule.

Here’s a breakdown of how much running a player can expect during different seasons per training session:

Running distance breakdown

It’s important to note that these figures are based on the experiences of a former NCAA div 1 college player and insights from various pro-level coaches. Youth and amateur players may have less running in their training sessions, especially during pre-season.

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Why Is Running Important?

Running plays a crucial role in the game of soccer for both players and coaches. It is essential for players to have a certain level of fitness to compete at the highest level. This level of fitness goes beyond casual games with friends and requires elite conditioning.

Players who lack the required fitness level may be sent away by their coach to work on it independently or even risk being released from the club. There have been cases where top stars returned from the off-season overweight and unfit, leading to their departure from the team.

The importance of running varies depending on the player’s position. For instance, goalkeepers typically do less running compared to wingers. Being a strong and agile runner is a significant advantage for wingers and forwards as it confuses defenders and helps create scoring opportunities. Midfielders focus more on endurance-style running to cover large portions of the field without getting exhausted during matches.

Does It Depend On The Coach?

The amount of running in training varies between individual players and teams, largely influenced by the coach’s philosophy. In recent years, teams have employed players who excel at intense running, making them ideal for high-pressing tactics. This style of play requires constant running to prevent opponents from having moments of relaxed possession.

Jurgen Klopp, a prominent soccer coach, popularized the high-pressing tactic known as Gegenpressing. His teams continuously run at the opposition, creating an intense and relentless style of play. This tactic has been successful in Germany and England, with Klopp achieving great results with Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool.

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On the other hand, some coaches prefer a slower and more controlled style of play, relying on positioning and passing rather than constant running. While critics argue that this approach is outdated, it remains effective when executed properly.

Chelsea coach Graham Potter is an example of a coach who emphasizes a playing style that requires less running. During the 2022/23 season, both Chelsea and Brighton, teams coached by Potter, ranked in the bottom three for distance covered in the Premier League. This demonstrates that different tactics have a place in the modern game.

Should I Run In Training?

Absolutely! Running is not exclusive to professional players. While you may not be as fast or cover as much distance as your favorite soccer stars, you can still improve your fitness while training for your own matches.

Consider your position when tailoring your running training. Forwards, wingers, and goalkeepers should focus on short bursts of speed, while midfielders and defenders should prioritize endurance running to dominate the field.

If running isn’t your favorite activity, consider alternative forms of cardiovascular training such as cycling or rowing. These activities also improve heart health, allowing more blood to be pumped during soccer matches. Although it may take time to see significant results, rest assured that it is beneficial for your overall fitness.


  • Q: How much do soccer players run during pre-season?

    • A: Soccer players run an average of 7 miles per game during pre-season to prepare for the upcoming season.
  • Q: Do all players run the same distance in training sessions?

    • A: No, the amount of running in training sessions can vary between players and teams, depending on the coach’s style of play.
  • Q: Is running important for all positions in soccer?

    • A: While running is important for all players, the degree of emphasis may vary depending on the position. Wingers and forwards benefit from speed, while midfielders focus on endurance running.
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Running is a vital aspect of soccer training and helps players improve their overall fitness and performance on the field. The amount of running in training sessions depends on various factors, including the season and the coach’s tactics. Regardless of your playing level, incorporating running or alternative cardiovascular activities into your training routine can enhance your skills and contribute to a stronger overall game. So lace up your shoes and hit the field, because improved running skills will take you far in soccer!