he reasons that lead thousands of people to run – on the treadmill, on the road or on trails – are countless. Whether to improve athletic performance, general fitness or aerobic capacity, running is a universally accepted way for anyone looking for extra health benefits in different life contexts.
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In addition, wearing sneakers and earning miles around is also a significant part of the training of many athletes in other sports, such as soccer, volleyball, tennis, surfing, cycling and countless other sports disciplines.
“Running is a natural movement of the human body and very democratic, since wherever you are, you just put on a pair of shoes and run. It is a powerful tool for the physical preparation of most sports”, comments Cintya Portella, running coach at Assessoria Núcleo Avetura and personal trainer specialized in functional training.
How does running translate to other sports?
Running is one of the best activities for overall cardiovascular fitness and increasing an athlete’s VO2 max. In addition to the main sport, a good running plan can bring more endurance and make the athlete faster. This is one of the reasons why you often see so many fans of other disciplines using running to improve their sport.
On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that runners should also strive for other sports disciplines. That’s because, while incredibly fit from a cardiovascular standpoint, joggers tend to have some weaknesses, such as hip and glute strength, balance, and upper body strength.
One of the hypotheses that science cites is that running is an exercise that only works in one movement plane. Therefore, the lateral movement is missing – which comes more from other sports, such as tennis and football.
Still, by making running part of the regimen, athletes in other sports improve their conditioning and, as a result, their athletic performance. Similarly, runners should engage in other sports to work certain muscles and movement patterns to avoid common injuries.
Why does running improve athletic performance?
We already know that the benefits of running are enormous. But after all, why does running improve your athletic performance? Here are 5 reasons to convince you to include running in your training plan:
The first thing to note is that running requires great endurance, something that is necessary when it comes to other sports. The more you improve your running skills, the more you grow in your stamina – which in turn reflects on other sports.
A good example here is football. This is because, without increasing resistance in sports practices that include running, the athlete cannot achieve the best performance. Therefore, incorporating running as part of your training will help improve overall performance in whatever sport you are involved in.
Improves knee strength
Running is considered to be a great exercise to improve flexibility and keep fit. Any sport that requires great flexibility can benefit from race planning.
Also, one of the most hyped false beliefs out there is that running completely destroys your knees. Research has found, however, that running can help prevent cases of osteoarthritis or knee pain in athletes.
While the exercise itself does not directly help to specifically prevent knee pain, it does help keep your BMI in check and at the same time keep your leg muscles stronger. As such, your athletic performance is improved as you reduce the chance of getting some injuries.
Improves cardiovascular health
A healthy heart is essential for athletic performance in any sport. Running helps improve your cardiovascular fitness, and the good thing is, you don’t have to overdo it to get these benefits.
If you are healthy and get into the habit of running, your heart will also get stronger. Putting in just a few minutes of jogging or aerobic activity every day can help extend your life and therefore improve your athletic performance at your core activity.
Helps to exercise the mind
In addition to strengthening the physical body, running is a great way to exercise your mind – and we know that every athlete must be mentally prepared to perform at their best.
This happens because running helps athletes concentrate more, as it is an exercise that requires dealing with fatigue and obstacles.
Whether you’re competing in tennis or surfing, your mind needs to be sharp and focused to achieve optimal performance, and running will help you do that.
Running helps athletes lose weight
Running is one of the few exercises that involve continuous movement of the entire body weight. Moreover, in addition to the main sport, running helps to burn even more calories.
As such, athletes who need to lose weight to improve their performance benefit – and a lot from running.
There are definitely numerous benefits associated with this sport, including boosted immunity, enhanced cognitive function and improved self-esteem. There is no limit to what you can earn from racing. However, it is worth noting that running is an impact exercise and therefore requires the right equipment, which must be safe, adequately cushioned and comfortable .
Running worksheet for better athletic performance
To help people in other sports to increase running in training planning, coach Cintya Portella prepared a worksheet focused on improving cardiovascular health.
“This is a very complete workout, well targeted for those who want to improve their physical conditioning”, warns Cintya. “Although each sport has its specificity, running, being a very dynamic sport, helps us a lot in preparation and in infinite ways possible. Be creative,” she concludes.
Easy jog: heart rate 65% to 75%
Moderate pace: heart rate 80%
Hard pace: heart rate 85%
Very hard pace: heart rate 90%