‘Tor­ture’ runs worth pain on match days


The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY -

PRO­MO­TION to the FA Women’s Su­per League 1 has al­ways been the aim for us at Read­ing FC Women. The suc­cess of Eng­land at the Women’s World Cup in Canada this sum­mer and the sub­se­quent surge in pop­u­lar­ity of women’s football has made the car­rot of WSL1 even more de­sir­able.


As play­ers, we have been given the best pos­si­ble op­por­tu­nity to make that dream a re­al­ity. The work our staff put in for our ben­e­fit be­hind the scenes is phe­nom­e­nal.

They recog­nise that, as a part-time team, it is vi­tal we max­imise the train­ing time we have to­gether as a team. From the med­i­cal staff to the coaches, we are prepped and ready to make the most of the full two-hour ses­sion.

Each ses­sion is planned months in ad­vance, as part of an over­all pro­gramme to have us in peak con­di­tion for each game. That means each ses­sion is planned to fit in with the tim­ing of the pre­vi­ous game as well as the next one.

This way, we are fully re­cov­ered af­ter one game be­fore build­ing up to the next. It is just as im­por­tant not to over train as it is to avoid un­der­train­ing.

I would hedge a bet that we are one of, if not the fittest, teams in WSL2, pos­si­bly even the coun­try.

We work hard through­out the sea­son and our high­speed run­ning (HSR) ses­sions are not lim­ited to the dreaded weeks of pre­sea­son.

These runs are not just thrown to­gether. There is a rea­son for each one and it al­ways re­lates to the stage of the sea­son we are in.


It isn’t just based around the team as a whole, ei­ther.

Most of the run­ning is done as a group, but if there is a player re­turn­ing from an in­jury or ill­ness they will have a dif­fer­ent set to do, depend­ing on where they are in their re­hab and fit­ness lev­els.

This is to try to pre­vent fur­ther risk of in­jury and to avoid burn out.

I be­lieve that the HSR ses­sions we are put through are at the core of what we are about as a squad and are one of the big­gest rea­sons we are where we are at this mo­ment.

There are the ob­vi­ous phys­i­cal ben­e­fits in that, be­ing phys­i­cally fit and con­di­tioned, al­lows us to run at a max­i­mum speed for longer and also helps us play the type of football we do.


The psy­cho­log­i­cal im­pact, how­ever, can­not be un­der­stated. The run­ning is hor­ri­ble. There’s no two ways about it.

The mere thought of re­peated 75-me­tre re­turn sprints makes me feel nau­seous (and that’s one of the eas­ier ones).

But the fact that we can push our­selves through it, and even more im­por­tantly that we do it to­gether, means that we feel like we can push each other through any­thing come match day.

Go­ing through the tor­ture of two sets of seven 90me­tre sprints makes chas­ing the full back deep into your own half be­come sec­ond na­ture.

The idea of go­ing through the hell of HSR only to miss out on pro­mo­tion makes my eyes wa­ter and that is what drives us to suc­ceed.

All of the above, cou­pled with a group of hugely tal­ented play­ers, is what will help us achieve our aim.

We know we have the abil­ity.We just need to keep push­ing our­selves un­til we cross that line, just as we do when com­plet­ing our fi­nal rep­e­ti­tion of a set of quadru­ple 75-me­tre re­turns!

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