Run into 2008

The intensity of summer is subsiding, the season is beginning, motivation to perform is high. These are the reasons that I am writing this series of articles aimed at assisting and persuading our players to increase fitness through running this autumn and winter.

Reasons
I think the non-rugby reasons for running are well known. A couple of rugby reasons are:
If you are out of position at any point in the match, and cannot run to get back in position, your lack of fitness is harming the team!
Tired players are lazy and clumsy. How many times have you seen a team that sparkles for 50 minutes, then starts to commit handling errors and choose dull options? Good fitness can get you through the 80.
Leg speed (backs) and strength (forwards) can increase with run training.

I think that everyone could identify personally with at least one point, and I often suspect the gaijin of falling fowl of the second point. The effects of lack of fitness are occasionally more subtle than simply deep breathing. When exhausted, many body systems suffer. For example the muscles in your arms are less responsive, your mind is less capable of quick thought, your core muscles are less capable of supporting unexpected forces. The results of these are errors, fouls and injuries, all subtly linked to lack of fitness.

Preparation

So now I hope you have decided to do both yourselves and the team a favour by trying to raise fitness. This first article will aim to explain how you can prepare for a year of regular running, dealing with equipment, motivation, nutrition and progress. Suggestions for running sessions and various exercises will follow later. For the time being, try and prepare as thoroughly as possible, you will make it easier for the future.

Equipment
Running must be one of the cheapest possible sports to participate in. Nevertheless, attempting to thrift it completely is a false economy, with potential results of physio bills and decreased motivation following. For an activity which will cost in general 0