1.5, 2 mile, and 12 minute runs are still common evaluations that soccer coaches at all levels are using. Performance coaches are still culpable of building an "aerobic base" before progressing to interval or intermittent sprint training. Here are a few statistics taken from game motion analysis that breaks down the contributions from different intensities of running during elite and sub elite level soccer matches.
• High level soccer athletes spend approximately 60% of their time on the field either standing or walking (2).
• If you add jogging (18-20%) to the previous statistic, approximately 72 minutes of a high-level soccer match is spent at recovery-level intensity (2).
• Hard runs and maximal-effort sprints contribute approximately 2-4% of match play with maximal effort sprinting contributing 1-1.5% or 54-80 seconds (2).
• The average number of high intensity runs (hard runs and sprints) is 50-150 (2) and the average time in between is 40-56 seconds (4).
• The average number of sprints is 20-60 per soccer match (2, 4). If you were to divide the total match time by these figures, the average time in between each sprint would be 1:30-4:30. Short sprints (read below) followed by this amount of rest are not likely to induce significant fatigue (4). In this case, bouts of repetitive sprints are more likely to produce fatigue within a soccer match.
• The average distance per sprint is 10-20 meters and average duration is between 2-3 seconds (4). Although soccer-specific data is lacking, the maximum sprint-duration during an elite field hockey game is approximately 4 seconds. Field hockey and soccer data have proven to be similar, so some overlap of analysis may be appropriate (5).
• Mohr, Krustrup, and Bangsbo (2003) demonstrated that total distance covered, distance covered by high intensity running (28% greater) and distance covered by sprinting (58% greater) were greater by elite-level soccer players than by sub-elite players (2).
2. Mohr M., Krustrup P., and Bangsbo J. Match performance of high-standard soccer players with special reference to development of fatigue. Journal of Sports Sciences, 21:519-528, 2003.
3. Mohr M., Krustrup P., and Bangsbo, J. Fatigue in soccer: A brief review. Journal of Sports Sciences, 23:593-599, 2005.
5. Spencer M., Lawrence S., Rechichi C., Bishop D., Dawson B., and Goodman C. Time-motion analysis of elite field hockey, with special reference to repeated-sprint activity. Journal of Sports Sciences, 22:843-850, 2004.