The importance of distance running for pitchers ranks pretty high especially for pitchers throwing multiple innings within outings. The length of the run should be anywhere from 20-30 minutes long, or 20 poles following the game THAT day or the following day. You want to get enough in to get your heart pumping and good blood flow. Distance running helps in a variety of ways that will give the pitcher an edge over his opponents who may not be following suit. Lets have a look at my list:
1. Build endurance
2. Build leg strength
3. Relieves stress
4. Pushes lactic acid out from where it would normally settle after pitching. (acid flush)
5. Acid flush aids in recovery time and can prevent soreness after pitching.
Not sold yet? Do a standard trial run. Monitor soreness without running and with running. Stretching and throwing the following day will be able to tell you the most about your soreness. You should also be more aware of your soreness. Sometimes I’ll ask young pitchers where they get sore in there arm from pitching and they don’t know. It is good to find out where you are getting sore, find the spots, and that can help your pitching coach determine if certain parts of your motion may be straining, and then can be adjusted.
Ultimately when it comes down to it, if you are a pitcher, and you want to play for a long time in this game and don’t have a good running routine AT LEAST starting in high school, then you are in for a rude awakening at some point whether it be arm soreness, or making it to the higher levels of baseball where running is a mandated routine due to all of the benefits listed above. (i.e. College and Professional) There needs to be more young players who are able to hold themselves accountable on how they prepare and train for the game of baseball. Baseball is not a show up and play sport, especially for pitchers and especially in this day and age. It requires a consistent regiment that should be viewed as fun if you truly love the game and love pitching. There are no excuses for getting your work in if you have set high goals.