We've been watching tons of World Cup this year and they've added a feature that calculates how many miles each athlete covers over the course of a game. The average is around 10 kilometers, or 6.2 miles. Over 90 minutes this is a sluggish 15-minute mile pace, which even a couch-potato can manage. While some of the time is spent walking or jogging, there are stretches of 10 to 200 meters when an athlete is in an all-out sprint. And the soccer player's body - lean, with a ripped torso, and muscular thighs - attests to the benefits of sprints and intervals, which every runner should do, from casual jogger to accomplished athlete. Here are three workouts to make you the next Pele.
From 150 to 300 meters, the goal here being to move legs quickly. Do a run of four to six miles, then finish with 5 x 300 meters on the track with 90 seconds rest.
80 to 150 meters. When you speed up, your body automatically adjusts to sprint more efficiently. This should be at around 90 percent effort. Keep your arms and face relaxed. Do six 100-meter strides on a flat, smooth surface, walking in between to give yourself a chance to catch your breath.
50 to 100 meters. Full-on sprinting teaches your brain to recruit a full range of muscle fibers, including those hard-to-access fast-twitch type. Sprints are the runner's power lift, so warm up thoroughly to avoid injury. Start with uphill sprints lasting six to eight seconds on a four- to six-percent grade. Gradually lengthen to 10 to 12 seconds, and when it feels comfortable, try flat ground, or your nearest soccer field.