Boxing is an incredibly tough sport and having the proper conditioning in training can be the difference between winning and losing a bout. The perseverance and mental fortitude required from a successful fighter can be used to create a powerful training regime which will pay off in the ring. Intense and consistent training at the gym is extremely important; however, many boxers are neglecting to incorporate different forms of running and are therefore missing out on numerous benefits. To prevent the physical and psychological barriers of a new running regime from overcoming you it’s important to remember the innumerable benefits that running will have on a boxer. I’ll attempt to give justice to these benefits below.
The nature of boxing as a fast paced, high impact sport means that regular interval training will help develop your body to engage in bursts of speed and strength. High intensity sprints are categorised as an anaerobic activity just like boxing and if done correctly, they are the most beneficial type of running for a boxer. Interval training can be based on a specific time or distance per interval but the important thing is that you put every ounce of energy into each interval just like you would when throwing a combination in the ring. Sprinting intervals will force your body to use energy sources inside your muscles as your body’s demand for oxygen exceeds the amount of oxygen available. This effect is similar to intense rounds of skipping (jump rope) but the cardiovascular benefits are to a greater degree. Interval training is quite simple but its benefits will be highly apparent to both professional and amateur boxers. Boxers who take some time each week to fit in three interval training sessions will quickly set themselves above the rest of the pack in their sport.
For professional boxers, there are variations on how to practice intervals which will allow them to reap even greater benefits. Elite athletes in many sports increase their anaerobic potential dramatically by training intervals using a method known as pyramid intervals. Each sprint within a pyramid routine is characterised by 100% intensity followed by a brief rest period. It’s imperative to keep rest periods short, but make sure that you give yourself enough time to recover so that you can run at full speed in the following interval. The routine is referred to as a pyramid because you begin the routine by running a relatively short distance, gradually increase the distances, and finish by completing a final shorter distance interval.
The confidence gained through running
After long periods of time practicing both interval and long distance running you will purge your body of unnecessary weight, build metal and physical strength and endurance, develop short twitch fibres throughout your body and consequently, feel more comfortable and confident as a boxer. Confidence is perhaps one of the most important things to have in the ring and confidence in your own abilities may well be the defining factor which allows you to defeat a more skilled or bigger opponent.
Developing a boxing physique
Personally, my initial weight prior to running was 100 kilograms but after three weeks of running almost every day I discovered I had lost nearly 2 kilograms. This might not sound like a lot but to a professional or amateur boxer, losing even a small amount of weight can make a big difference in their stamina in the ring and it can even mean you shift down to another weight range (this can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on the boxer). Carrying around useless weight will slow you down and hamper your progress as a boxer.
Long distance running will help create a determined mindset committed to winning no matter what. Long distance running increases your aerobic capacity in counter to the anaerobic advantages of interval training. Practicing regular long distance running will result in the creation of lean muscle throughout your body and a physique optimised for quick and disciplined combinations in the ring as well as increasing your ability to keep fighting long after your opponent tires from exhaustion.
One crucial benefit of running is that you can incorporate different types of workouts into a run. Running inclines and carrying extra weight using a weight vest will increase your overall fitness as well as developing, speed, mental tenacity and overall power. Continued development of these aspects through running and other forms of training will result in a holistic and powerful mental and physical attitude in relation to boxing.
Boxing can be quite a solitary sport apart from the endless array of nutritionists and development staff. Running can expose you to a uniquely dedicated subculture. Sharing your own reasons for taking up running with other people and listening to their aspirations can be an immensely valuable experience and will remind professionals and amateurs alike of your reasons for boxing and what you want to achieve from the sport. The physical aspects and benefits of running are extremely important but you will never win in the ring unless your head is screwed on the right away. Making friends and creating a support network through running might be just the thing you need to inspire you to deliver a knockout blow.
This particular benefit is geared towards amateur boxers because a professional boxer will likely be well versed in the art of nutrition. However, if you are incorporating running into a training routine you will find that the amount of calories you are burning increases dramatically. This will force you to seriously consider what you are putting in your mouth. You’ll become familiar with the terms macro-consumption and protein to weight ratio while the contents of the pantry get increasingly green and lean. The battle in the kitchen can be just as important as training for a boxer.
I really can’t understate the benefits that incorporating running in a training routine can have on a boxer. Immense discipline, self-confidence and a feeling of accomplishment are among the things that have stuck with me. Boxing is an explosive, ballistic sport and the best way to prepare for the sport is through training in a way, which mimics the demands that you will encounter inside the ring.