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Why running will improve other sports

Written by Fiona

December 07 2018

The health benefits from regularly running outside cannot be overstated, with the perks ranging from having a healthier mind to raising your levels of good cholesterol, as shown by Active. But, running isn’t just a full exercise in itself, it can greatly help you to improve your performances in other strenuous forms of exercise, including many sports.

Running builds a great base of fitness for athletes and budding athletes. Here, we’ll be seeing the advantages of using outdoors running as a part of a training regime for football and boxing.

Running benefits for football

Credit: BBC Sport, via Twitter

It doesn’t take an expert to know that being a good runner with high-levels of stamina significantly helps footballers. But, the distance that so many of the top-class players cover can be quite surprising to many.

It was found by FIFA that at the 2014 World Cup, Thomas Muller covered 84 kilometres through 682 minutes of play, averaging 12 kilometres per 90-minute game. In fact, four of the top five players for distance covered at the 2014 World Cup played for Germany, who went on to win the tournament.

Javier Mascherano made it to the final with Argentina and clocked in a total of 81.2 kilometres over 720 minutes, landing as the only non-German to cover over 80km in the tournament despite 24 total players featuring predominantly in seven matches each.

While running is a huge part of training and match day, there are significant perks to be gained from going on extended runs away from the stop-start game and fit for purpose pitches. When running on roads or when trail running, every time the foot lands on the ground, the bones and cartilage are stressed, causing them to spring back stronger to the benefit of the runner.

Then, there are the added injury-proofing benefits that some forms of running, such as trail running, bring. With the ever-changing surface, the athlete becomes accustomed to landing their foot differently, which helps when on the field and they need to land in a way that isn’t simply on the flat surface with a straight leg.

Due to the physical nature of football, it’s important for footballers of all levels to not only boast high-levels of endurance but also to have strong bones to endure the trials of the game.

Running benefits for boxing

Credit: Sky Sports News, via Twitter

To the uninitiated, boxing is a sport of small feet movements and throwing punches. But, those who have experienced the sport for themselves know that it is incredibly demanding on the whole body, requiring tremendous levels of endurance to be able to compete. Not only do boxers need to move around the ring and throw punches, but they must also absorb the punches of their opponent and use their legs and abdomen to create openings.

It’s well-known that the greats of the sport like Muhammad Ali, as shown by Livestrong, did a lot of running along the street to prepare for a fight – known in boxing as roadwork. Today, many of the top boxers keep this fine tradition. Vasyl Lomachenko is one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world today, possibly even the very best, and keeps running as a core feature of his training.

The Ukrainian told Boxing News that he wakes up at quarter-to-five, and then starts his day by going on an hour-long run before having a rest and then starting his boxing skills training at midday. One of the elements of Lomachenko’s game that has critics purring is his ability to throw and land so many punches while seemingly not getting tired at all.

It’s one of the many reasons why, as of November 20, Lomachenko is at 1/14 to defeat fellow world lightweight champion Jose Pedraza with Betway, while the top Puerto Rican sits at 13/2 despite being a world champion as well.

Small details make a boxer great, and many fighters utilise the power of running to forge the fittest version of themselves in the running to fight night. One of the many benefits of running outdoors is that it gives the athlete an all-body workout due to the need to continually stabilise your body to stay upright.

Many other athletes in other sports can benefit greatly from running outdoors, especially trail running, such as those playing basketball – a sport notorious for ankle injuries – and the draining contest of tennis. Overall, running is a great way to establish a high level of fitness but can be used as a great tool for improving at any sport that tests one’s stamina and requires lower-body strength to perform well and avoid injury.

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