I define medium-pace running as fast running but where you aren't actually going all-out.

Say fast all-out sprinting is what you can hold continuously for less than 2 minutes, and let's say jogging is what you can hold for 10+ minutes. Then medium-pace running is anything you can hold for 2-10 minutes.

Am I correct in saying that there's no need to directly train medium-pace running in football(soccer)?

When does a footballer ever need such a pace? A footballer seems to me to either always be jogging or fast-out sprinting. There doesn't seem to be an "in-between", does there?

I am asking because my friend, who plays football, has this endurance program where he runs 800m or 1200m as fast as he can, and then repeats that a bunch of times.. This fits the definition of medium-pace running as I defined above, and I don't see the point of this training. How does this benefit a footballer? Why not just do regular HIIT where you sprint all-out for 20 seconds, jog for 40, and repeat? Isn't that all a footballer will need?

  • I'm upvoting the question even though I believe it shows a lack of research, since anaerobic fitness is a big thing and football players do a lot more than sprint-jog-sprint-jog throughout a match, and the definitions of "sprint", "jog" and "medium-pace running" are not at all what I would have used, but downvoting or deleting the question would prevent it and similar future questions from being smacked down by an informed and credibly-referenced answer.
    – Nij
    Aug 19, 2019 at 5:20
  • 1
    Different players need different training exercises depending on their physical condition and the position they play. Training like that may be useful for wide midfielders/wingers during pre-season. What position does your friend play and what level/league?
    – dly
    Aug 19, 2019 at 7:25

1 Answer 1


This is an interesting question. I will answer this from an American football viewpoint.

Note that I very good results with my own sons so not only talking running logic, but have real world case studies.

Let me make some general notes:

  1. All running done with intensity (given not overrunning) will almost certainly provide positive results in almost all sports. Do not focus so much on what would the "optimal" footballer running schedule be like, focus on the fact that your friend is working hard doing his routine while many/most are not working as hard.
  2. When you are playing/practicing a sport, there will be a practice regimen. There is no use repeating this. When I coach American football I don't need my skilled players running 50 yard dashes when we will be doing that a lot in practice. I need them running miles and hard 400-800s. Jerry Rice, the best skilled positional player in American football history was famous for running a large hill in San Carlos. I don't think Jerry Rice had to run up any hills to beat any defensive backs but those hills definitely contributed to him being great.
  3. Running these longer distances have three basic benefits for sports. They help an athlete run more efficient (correct form), they help an athlete stride properly - lengthen, and they help endurance - meaning when we are running those 50 yard dashes at practice they don't need a minute break between each one.

The other thing about your question is that football (soccer) is not as anaerobic as you say or American football. Every player on the field is constantly adjusting if the ball is not in their range/bubble. These players are not walking nor sprinting.

My answer for this is that your friend's benefit from this exercise is going to totally depend on his body type and personal needs. If he is a muscular football player, for sure he will benefit a lot. If he is a skinny guy with little to no muscle he may get benefit but would get more benefit from lifting weights or sprints (plus eating). So it depends but if an American football player of mine did an intense 800-1200m cycle workout... I would not be unhappy as a coach.

Side Note: I am sure others could get sources but anecdotally of coaching for over 30 years guys who run miles and 800s... way less likely to pull their groin or hamstrings. This goes back to the lengthening of the stride (why my 1st grader runs 400s). But the guys pulling these muscles are the guys who do their hard weight workout, stretch and then go out and run 50sx10 to call it a day.

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