I have run about 200 km in the last 3 months. However, when I play football at night I seem to become tired fast and I start walking and feel kind of lazy to run fast. Meanwhile, many slim players are very fast throughout the game :(

I don't do any weight training at all. My height is 5'11" and I weigh 73 kg. During my workouts, I run continuously and my speed averages around 5 mins and 40 sec per kilometer (fitness band tracking). On average, I run 5.6 km per day.

And on days when I don't go for a run I definitely go play soccer at night. I sleep around 5 to 7 hrs per night. where am I doing wrong?

Workout example 1 Workout example 2 Workout example 3
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  • 1
    Do you run on the days you play ? Could be you want to skip or minimise the run on game-days.
    – Criggie
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 21:35
  • try wearing ankle weights and incorporate long uphill or stair runs into your route, running 5Ks like that is good for improving the circulatory system, but you need to now improve the energy storage and use systems. Think of running as improving the fuel lines and injectors of car, you can only do so much without making the engine larger, or the fuel tank higher capacity Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 23:26
  • It would be great if you could provide the fitness band tracking for when you play. You'll see that most likely the chart is completely different. Basically you're training for two different things. My (counter-intuitive) suggestion is to not run 5K for a week or two, and see if you have more energy for the games. Your diet also plays a major role, what are you eating and when? Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 17:34
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    Weight training will help. Even light weights. Running isn't going to be enough for an athlete on its own. It also sounds like you don't eat enough carbs. You need to eat a lot of carbs if you want to have a lot of energy. And protein.
    – user91988
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 15:50
  • 1
    Boxers are kings and queens of endurance and if you observe their training, it's not centered around a lot of steady-state, long-distance running. Look into HIIT workouts but until then start with five sets of 2-min jump rope with 2 minute breaks. If you got a watch that reads your BPM, you want to see that heart rate climb, peak and hold steady, then lower when you break, hold steady, repeat. That's 20 minutes of your time that'll do more for your soccer endurance than 40 minutes of straight jogging could ever do. You'll notice a difference in four weeks or less. But bro, get some sleep...
    – 8protons
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 18:12

7 Answers 7


It's two different types of training. If all you were doing was jogging back and forth on the field, then your fitness would be just as sustainable as the other players around you.

However, soccer is also punctuated with short burst, high intensity dashes that require a different type of training. This is similar to many other sports that mix two different types of exercise (A great example is bicycle racing, a circuit/lap race is much different than a 200 km point to point race. Lots of short burst accelerations).

Keep up your daily runs, but also have a day (or two) where you do a 1-2 mile warmup, then lots of sprints of various lengths from 100m to 400m, and a 1-2 mile warmdown. Also on one or two of your 5k runs, add in segments where you run very uptempo, higher speed for 20-30 seconds with 1 min recovery run (Fartlek type).

It's not the overall fitness, it's the short burst, high intensity demands that are sapping your leg strength.

  • 7
    As an addendum, I'd also argue for doing "runs" while dribbling the ball back and forth. A lot of the endurance in soccer is because you're not just running, but also doing short kicks to keep the ball in front of you. Ideally, you'd set up some cones to also add the sharp changes in direction that you'll need to do.
    – Sean Duggan
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 15:16
  • 1
    @SeanDuggan - Good point. I had made the assumption he was having actual practice, which should include cone drills, ladder runs, etc., but if he is just playing pickup, then that is a definite good addition, and would make a good complementary answer as well.
    – JohnP
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 20:31
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    @SeanDuggan that is not only the addition of kicking, but the brain use requiring a noticeable amount of energy for focus and concentration beyond normal running, which the body will try to compensate for during training Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 23:32
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    I shall definitely try this. Will be back after a month with what i find. Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 13:32
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    @Criggie It's called interval training in running, too.
    – TylerH
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 13:36

Getting a little more technical than JohnPs answer, what it comes down to is Aerobic vs Anaerobic conditioning.

With Aerobic exercise you are keeping within your "oxygen budget", your body has enough oxygen available to supply the requirements of your muscles. When you are exercising at a constant intensity over a long interval you are in the aerobic phase, jogging and distance running are classic examples of this.

Conversely with Anaerobic exercise, you are outside your "oxygen budget". The oxygen demands of the muscles outweigh the amount of the oxygen freely available in the body. Activities which are short and intense are when you enter the anaerobic phase. Sprinting is the classical example here.

Soccer contains both elements. There are periods of jogging around the field, accompanied by intense bursts in attack and defense.

To improve your performance on the soccer field you need to condition both your aerobic and anaerobic fitness. You've got aerobic covered, but remember "variety is the spice of life". You need to incorporate some anaerobic conditioning.

Look at incorporating :

  • Flat Sprints
  • Hill Sprints
  • Stair Sprints
  • Skipping
  • Chin Ups
  • Push Ups
  • Boxing training

Also a good general article on some anaerobic exercises.

Don't forget to also include a rest day for your legs before a match. You really don't want to be doing anaerobic leg conditioning the day before the match.

  • upper body work fits into my analogy of "larger fuel tank", as you improve and train those muscles, they hold energy that can be used for the legs when you are not stressing the upper body Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 23:28
  • Hill Sprints +1
    – MacroMarc
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 21:57

What I find surprising, is that nobody seems to have mentioned your lack of sleep. 5-7 hours per night implies that you sometimes only get 5 hours of sleep. When you are working out and practice, your body will become stronger and sleep is quite vital for that process. You want to regenerate and also replenish your energy. As others have mentioned, you will also need to practice the short bursts of running. You will also require more sleep. 5 hours is not just bad for regeneration, but it's overall way too little sleep. Generally sleeping 5-7 hours very likely has you on a constant sleep deprivation, which reduces your performance in every part of your day and poses a health risk.

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    yes but after sleeping for 6 hrs I feel complete. I get up automatically. I feel rested. 22:30 to 5:00 is my normal sleep time. Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 9:58
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    That might very well be just due to you being used to it. You would possibly have to invest time into your body sleeping more again. I've just read an interesting article + comments on this matter this morning. news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21205021 (link to article is at the top of that page)
    – LML
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 10:07
  • Might be due to that. I feel tired and sleepy during mid-day sometimes. during my office hrs Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 10:09
  • It's edited in now. I previously posted the comment prematurely on accident.
    – LML
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 10:10
  • Sleep is quite individual, some need 5 and some need 10. It also changes over time. This answer presumes a bit too much but is still generally good advice.
    – Stian
    Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 7:51

"I run daily" "sleep around 5 to 7 hrs per night"

That's the issue.

Your body needs some time to regain its full strength, and I don't mean 5 to 7 hrs per night, but more like 2-3 days, even a week depending on how intense your running is.

Just run like 3 times the distance you do now once every 2-3 days like on monday and on friday, and go play on wednesday, also more sleep would help for sure(like 8-9 hrs).


A lot of the suggestions made already are excellent and relevant but something that hasn't been mentioned is the distance you run and diet. I suggest you look at what happens with the professionals. They generally run closer to 12km per match! Here is an article that goes into some of the ways you can better prepare yourself:


The key points are:

  1. Football matches are a mixture of high-intensity and low-intensity activity. Players should therefore need to possess a well-developed anaerobic and aerobic energy system.
  2. Players typically cover between 10-13 km in total distance during a match, of which approximately 3 km is at a speed above 14.4 km/k and 250-500 m is classed as an all-out sprint.
  3. To fuel such high-intensity actions, carbohydrate is king and players should ensure they commence the match with full energy stores having consumed a high carbohydrate diet (e.g. 8g/kg body mass) the day before the match.
  4. To support the ability to perform repeated sprints during the match, players should also consume carbohydrate during exercise at a rate of 30-60 g per hour.

The site also has other related articles about preparing for matches as well as help on your fitness routine in general. This would be a great place to start: https://www.sisfootball.com/sports-nutrition/


It's great that you're running every day, but if you want to improve stamina, then your running should be at a pace and distance that involve stamina. You're running a short distance at a slow pace, so there is no stamina involved.

Your body will generally adapt to whatever you consistently have it do. If you practice every day by running for 5.6 km in 32 minutes, then you're practicing running for that amount of time and then stopping, so your body will adapt to being able to run for that amount of time and then stopping. This amount of time is a lot less than the length of a football game, so you're training your body to be tired before the game is over. If you want to build endurance, try extending the length of your runs gradually until you're running 10-20 km. It's probably not realistic to run that distance every day, so try doing a longer run once or twice a week.

Same thing for pace. Running a kilometer in 5:40 is a gentle jog. Football is a sport that involves a lot of sprinting. So again, you're training your body not to be able to do what you actually want it to do. For someone who's athletic and runs a lot, a fairly athletic sprinting pace is to run a kilometer in more like 3:50 to 4:20.

  • 3
    5km is not really a 'short' distance unless you're training for a marathon, but I agree running a 5km in 30 minutes is not particularly fast, especially for someone like OP. However, running faster on long runs is not the solution to raising endurance or enabling better performance during a soccer match. Running longer distances (at his current pace is fine) and especially introducing interval training are the way to improve OP's situation.
    – TylerH
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 13:43
  • +1 for "your body will adapt to being able to run for that amount of time and then stopping". Many people think that if they run (say) the same 5 kilometers at the same pace day after day, their stamina will keep increasing, and after a year or two they will be really, really good. The truth is that, after the initial adaptation, you need to increase the stress that you subject your body to. Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 17:08
  • @TylerH "However, running faster on long runs is not the solution to raising endurance or enabling better performance during a soccer match." It would absolutely improve his performance if he were to run that 5k faster, but it would have to be a significant improvement, say 30% or so faster. Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 21:01
  • @Shadetheartist Running a 5k every day in 20 minutes as the only form of exercise you do still won't help you play a 90+ minute soccer match, but it is a good way to overtrain and potentially injure yourself.
    – TylerH
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 21:34
  • @TylerH 5k in 30m is 10k/h, which is a good jog, 5k in 20m is 15km/h, which is more of a run, but isn't particularly dangerous. Not sure why you think injury is a consideration at those speeds. It's not training exactly for what a soccer match is demanding but it will still improve his overall stamina and will help his performance. Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 21:41

Yes as per the suggestions I did the following things

1. I didnt run on the day I wanted to play soccer
2. when I run I used interval timer 30-sec normal jog and 30-sec max speed run alternatively.
3. I somehow slept for 8 hrs.
4. I purposefully eat more than what I used to.
5. I didnt eat any food before 2hrs of the game


I was able to perform way better than before, it really works well. And even after the game, I wasn't that tired at all. I was still having energy to spend. I now believe that running is actually paying off well.

But unfortunately just before the ending the game I got my ankle twisted. Now I dont think so I can play for a month. But after a week I should get back to running anyway. Otherwise, I will lose fitness

Big thanks for everyone who suggested me the right way.

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