Long-Distance Training: What Sports it Helps and What Sports it Hinders

Long-Distance Training
Long-Distance Training

Cardiovascular health is essential for everyone. But some athletes, the need to run long distances for extended periods is more important. But what athletes will add long-distance running into their training schedule, and which sports shun it for other exercises? It is important to understand the habits of athletes when you are online sports betting.

Sports Long-Distance Training Enhances Performances

As the players travel the greatest distances with the least amount of rest in these sports – long-distance training is vital for these athletes.

Long-Distance Training: What Sports it Helps and What Sports it Hinders


The most obvious answer to this is soccer. The average soccer player runs 10.8 km in a match – with only half-time as a break from the action. Soccer players need to have great stamina and speed – so most players focus their training on cardio – so they can remain lean, fast, and capable of running over 10 KMs every match.


Like soccer, rugby is continuous over 90 minutes, with only half-time as a break and no subbing out (except for blood-related injuries) allowed. Because of the constant action and physical nature of the game, players must have excellent cardio.

While rugby players will not do as much long-distance training as soccer players – they still mix it into their training regiment alongside the weight training they need to play the sport at a competitive level.


As the pace of basketball has increased over the last 15 years (thanks to the Steve Nash-led Phoenix Suns), the ability to run up and down more and more is crucial. To maintain pace over the course of an NBA game, the players have started to do more long-distance running.


Golf? You are probably wondering why golf is included on this list – as the sport involves no running in it whatsoever. But having good cardiovascular health and endurance is just as important as having the muscle to drive the ball 300+ yards off the tee.

Professional golfers often walk over four miles over the three hours they are on the course – and cannot sit or rest during their round. While that is not nearly as vigorous as running a marathon, the pressures on the golfer (especially in close matches) to keep up their endurance and maintain a lower heart rate means they need to have excellent cardiovascular health.

Sports Long-Distance Training is not Ideal for Peak Performance

While cardio is essential for every sport – the explosive nature of the ones below puts more of an emphasis on other forms of training.

Long-Distance Training: What Sports it Helps and What Sports it Hinders

American Football

Football is arguably the most unique sport on this list – because of the varying size and skills of the positions in the game. But generally speaking, no position in football needs the ability to run for extended periods without rest.

Why? Because the field is 100 yards in length and there is a stoppage after every play is over, football focuses on explosiveness over endurance. If you play on the offensive or defensive line – most plays will involve only a handful of yards of running – but require maximum effort to get by or push over the opponent in front of you.

Even wide receivers do not need to run more than 99 yards in a given play and afterwards get a break on the sideline.

Additionally, most professional football players focus on a combination of muscle and speed – so long-distance running is not ideal for them.


Because of how professional hockey is played – with players playing multiple short shifts over the game (one to two minutes intervals), training for hockey focuses on extreme bursts followed by rest over sustaining 60 minutes straight of skating at a high level. Skating is also different enough from running that players need to train other parts of their legs – making running only a small piece of their workouts.


Baseball is about explosive bursts of speed followed by rest – so the need for long-distance stamina is not overly critical. In fact, it is arguably becoming less important as the game’s evolution is towards walks, strikeouts, and home runs. Players still need good cardiovascular health to maintain production over the 162-game season – but that is attainable by mixing exercises, not by focusing on long-distance training.

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