‘Torture’ runs worth pain on match days
TITLE’S THE AIM FOR THE ROYALS
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!