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Distance and Speed Run

Iain Balshaw of Gloucester sprints away from the London Wasps defence

Photo: Getty Images

Elite rugby players must be able to cope with the running volumes and range of intensities required in an 80 minute game. On average an elite player will cover around seven kilometres during a game.

This distance will be covered at a variety of running intensities and will be interspersed with any number of contact events depending on his position.

The data in the table below is taken from An Evaluation of the Physical Demands of Elite Rugby Union Using Global Positioning System Tracking Software (PDF 210kB). It first appeared in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and was authored by Brian Cunniffe, Wayne Proctor, Julien S. Barker and Bruce Davies.

Distance covered in designated speed zones

Distance (m) within speed zone Back (1st half; 2nd half) Forward
Standing and walking: 0-6km/h 2802 (1247; 1314) 2,409 (1,124; 1,110)
Jogging: 6-12km/h 1956 (794; 1054) 1,856 (722; 948)
Cruising: 12-14km/h 673 (332; 330) 746 (310; 362)
Striding: 14-18km/h 978 (532; 439) 1,011 (479; 481)
High-intensity running: 18-20km/h 292 (172; 120) 342 (138; 177)
Sprinting: >20km/h 524 (241; 283) 313 (157; 159)

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