Running can be a beautiful, peaceful experience or it can be an exercise in torture. For everyone, it is a different experience of love or hate, but for boxers and those learning to box, there is no getting around running.
Boxing is driven off conditioning, and one of the top ways to condition your body is learning to run. Roadwork for boxers traditionally consists of long distances that cover mile after mile, but modern roadwork is a bit different. It covers miles as well, but in between those miles are sprints, backpedals, shuffling left and right, and movements from the ring, like rolling and slipping. The ultimate goal of roadwork for boxers is to develop conditioning for all aspects of boxing, not just for mental focus and cardiovascular strength.
One of the biggest challenges to turning running into a habit is motivation—it makes no difference whether you hate it or love it. You have to find something that motivates you to get out and get your feet on the road. Your motivation can be as simple as competing against yourself, or it can be as complex as reaching an ultimate goal.
The only true goal in each run is to cover the same ground, just a little bit faster. It doesn’t matter what your first timed run turns out to be, you just need to be a little faster the next time. Of course, this won’t last forever; you can’t expect to keep getting better every time you cover the same course. But when you’re first starting out, this mode of challenge will keep you focused.
How Roadwork Helps Boxers
Running amps your boxing up tremendously by helping you develop better breathing patterns, ensuring you feel more energized and less winded because your lungs and legs will be stronger and more conditioned. The strength in your legs also helps you improve your footwork while throwing punches and makes it easier to step forward, backwards, and shuffle side-to-side.
Sample Roadwork Session for Boxers
To help you get started, here is a sample roadwork session geared towards boxers, so you can stop worrying about creating a routine and start moving your body.
- Start jogging at a comfortable pace and continue for 20 minutes. You should not be dying or struggling to breathe.
- For the next 20 minutes, run at your base pace for 5 minutes, switch to a different movement pattern for 60 seconds, then return to your base pace for 5 minutes. Go through a shuffle, backpedal, skip, and roll.
- Once you finish each movement pattern, stop and rest for 5 minutes.
- Now, jog back to your starting point at any pace. It doesn’t matter how long it takes.
After you’ve completed a round of this boxer’s running routine, you should have reached about 4 miles of running. Next time, challenge yourself to make your return trip a little bit faster and see how much time you can shave off while going the same distance. Before you know it, you’ll start to see improvement and you’ll feel more and more comfortable running.
See you in the ring!