The Best Running Program for Boxers

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We’ve all seen that iconic training scenes from Rocky where Sly is running through the streets of Philly…. Or frolicking in the sand with Apollo Creed in Rocky III.

Rocky GIF | Gfycat

But, distance running and running general has copped a bit of a bad wrap recently with a lot of boxing trainers. In this article, we’ll look at why running for boxers and how you can get started.

Is Running Good for Boxing?

Sorry to all of those who thought they could get away without doing roadwork; running is an excellent form of training for boxers. In fact, Canelo Alvarez runs six days a week! Running gives you a sound base level of fitness and helps you work with a raised heart rate.

Running for boxing is an aerobic training and conditioning exercise, meaning it improves strength, speed, and aerobic fitness.

However, you shouldn’t just go out for a few jogs and assume it’ll translate straight to the ring. Boxing is fundamentally a high-intensity and explosive activity – more on the anaerobic and anaerobic recovery side with an aerobic base throughout. Distance running doesn’t replicate the intensity of a boxing training session or match, but running still plays a role in wholistic training for fighters.

How Many Days a Week Should a Boxer Run?

Most boxers should look to run three to five times a week. However, don’t look to go straight out of the blocks and jump into a five-day running program that you’re not ready for. Running fitness is entirely different from any other type of fitness.

Can Boxers Run on a Treadmill?

A treadmill can be an excellent tool for boxers looking to start running. You can run in rain, hail, or shine and have complete control over the pace and intensity of your workout.

Treadmill running is also a lot easier on the joints over the long term. However, if you’re looking at using a treadmill, make sure you adjust the elevation on your matching to 1 or 2%. The extra percent covers wind resistance of running outdoors, along with helping tone muscle.

You can also buy treadmills for a reasonable price these days too, so long gone are the $2k investments just so you can go for a run indoors!

Sample Running Program For Boxers

Running programs come in all shapes and sizes. However, for boxers, thee are some intricacies that you should consider. The guys at Precision Striking have made a great video on what to add to your running program.

Regardless, when you’re training, it’s good to keep track of your heart rate as much as possible. That’ll give you a good idea of your rate of exhaustion.

You can use a heart-rate-monitor if you like, or you can simply check your pulse to get a rough estimate.

Looking to check your heart-rate? Look at our best fitness trackers to improve your workout. 

It’s also important to remember to wear the right shoes when running, so you can avoid injury.

Boxing Running Plan For New Runners

The most basic kind of running you’re going to do in your program is base running, which is sort of like your standard distance run. Like we mentioned earlier, this isn’t the best thing by itself, but it does help for your base level of fitness. For example, if you can’t run for an hour, you’re going to struggle in a boxing workout at the gym.

Look to slowly build-up your running fitness, and as shown in the video, use a shuffle, backpedal, punches, lateral movement, and pivots. This will incorporate some boxing-style activities into your run.

Don’t worry if the run is hard at the start. The fitter you get, the easier it’ll become.

Intermediate Boxing Running Plan

Once you can go 30-60 minutes comfortably, you’ll need to add some anaerobic threshold training into the mix. Basically, that is going to take place at 70 to 85% of your max heart rate.

Aim to mix in interval running at your anaerobic threshold. You should look to make these intervals about as long as boxing round – so two or three minutes, then have a short rest in between “rounds”.

Start your training with a warm-up then use a mix of two-minute intervals. The more you run, the more fit you’ll get, and the more rounds you’ll be able to do.

Keep in mind that these rounds aren’t a sprint. You need a pace that you can maintain for three minutes.

Boxing Running Program for Advanced Runners

Once you’ve got a sound level of fitness, you’ll be able to go harder for longer and maintain a strong pace. When that happens, you should look to include VO2-max runs, where you’re trying to get your body to utilize as much oxygen as possible.

These intervals will be more challenging than your threshold training and will look to last around 45-seconds per interval. This is key for boxing training as the fitness needed in the ring is somewhere between a sprint and a long burst of exercise.

Aim for intervals of 30-45 seconds on with a two-minute rest period in between. As you get better at it, look to play around with the rest periods and keep your body guessing. Your rests shouldn’t get any less than thirty-seconds, though.

Again, look to include your boxing movements into parts of your road training too – but not your sprints. You could have a 20-minute session where you’re running through your boxing movements and another thirty-minute interval session. Add a warm-up and cool-down to that session, and you’ll undoubtedly be feeling it in the morning.

Final Thoughts

Running can play an important part of a boxer’s training routine. Make sure you plan the right workout for your success.


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