Sunday, May 3, 2009

Marathon Math

I heard on the radio the other day this random piece of trivia.
"Did you know that in four games, a professional soccer player will run the equivalent of one marathon?"
Average non-running American's everywhere are sitting in their cars on their way to work, in amazement. The DJ's on my regular morning show sure are in awe.
"wow" the one says "that's amazing"
Now being the skeptic that I am, and of course being a runner, I start doing the math in my head.
Four games = 26.2 miles.
That means in one game they run 6.55 miles.
Six and a half miles? In any given week of a regular marathon training season, six and a half miles is an easy day. Six and a half miles is a joke. Six and a half miles is also roughly a 10k.
Ok so let's say you're max distance is a 10k. You excel at the 10k. You can run the 10K at five minute pace. You would finish in about a half hour. Excellent!
Ok so back to soccer. One professional soccer game lasts approximately 90 minutes. Ninety minutes. That's an hour and a half! And you know that these players are not running their hardest non stop with no breaks for the entire ninety minutes. Sometimes you're team is on offense, and if you're playing defense you're not really playing that hard. Let's not forget subs. At what point during a marathon does a runner get to call in a sub and take a break until they catch their breath? Oh let me think, Never!
When does the guy running the 10K get to switch spots with someone more rested and ready to go to finish up the race for him? Nope.
Ok so basically, over the course of four games, which total six hours over as little as four days and as many as who even knows how spaced out soccer games are, some guy runs 26.2 miles and you want to compare that to the guy who runs the same distance straight through no breaks over the course of three hours or less? No way Jose.

Now don't get me wrong here, I am not knocking the skill it takes to play soccer. It certainly is not a gift I was blessed with. But honestly, comparing four soccer games to a marathon? Nope sorry, I am not impressed in the least.

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