Boxing Roadwork Running Routine for Beginners

Running can be a beautiful, peaceful experience or it can be an exercise in torture in the form of a grudge match with your body and mind. For everyone, it is a different experience of love or hate, but for boxers in training and those learning to box, there is no getting around running as one of the best ways to get your heart rate up.

Boxing is driven off conditioning, and one of the top ways to condition your body is learning to run. Roadwork for boxers traditionally consisted of long distances that cover mile after mile of aerobic training, but modern boxing roadwork is a bit different. It covers miles as well, but in between those miles are various forms of interval training, including 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 aerobic conditioning for all aspects of boxing, not just for mental focus and cardiovascular strength.

Staying Motivated

One of the biggest challenges in turning running and boxing roadwork 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 when conducting boxing roadwork 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. You will achieve a lower resting heart rate and increased endurance through this form of aerobic training. 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.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Energy Training

Roadwork for boxers helps improve both your anaerobic energy system and your aerobic energy system. By combining aerobic fitness with high-intensity interval training, you'll not only see an increase in endurance, but also in speed and recovery. This will carry over to your gym training sessions, whether that includes working the heavy bag for a while or engaging in some good old-fashioned sparring.

Roadwork isn't just for boxers, but for fighters in various sports. You'll see it occur frequently in fighting and martial arts styles like Brazilian Ju-jitsu, muay thai, and MMA training overall. Incorporating aerobic training and anaerobic training is the key to a fantastic workout.

Sample Roadwork Session for Boxers

To help you get started, here is a sample boxing roadwork session geared toward fighters, so you can stop worrying about creating a routine and start moving your body.

De-conditioned and New Runners

Whether you're new to boxing training entirely or it's been a while since you've gone for a run, you may not be where you want to be for steady-state running for boxing cross-training. By incorporating both running and walking intervals, you will build your endurance and be able to move onto the next session in no time.

  • Start jogging at a comfortable pace and continue for 2 minutes. You should not be dying or struggling to breathe. Your goal here is to get your heart rate up.
  • For the next 15-20 minutes, run at your base pace for 2 minutes before switching to a different movement pattern for 60 seconds. Go through a shuffle, backpedal, skip, sprints, and a roll. This will incorporate high intensity interval training into your road work.
  • Once you finish each movement pattern, rest for 5 minutes. Continue moving at a walking pace to during this five minute interval, to allow your heart rate to get back to a steady pace without giving your muscle fibers a chance to seize up.
  • Now, jog back to your starting point at any pace. It doesn’t matter how long it takes.
  • Progression: The next time you complete roadwork for boxing training, try to adjust your intervals slightly. Work your way up to a five minute jog. Push your boxing roadwork session to 20 minute intervals. See if you can make the rest periods between the high-intensity training spurts a bit shorter.

Conditioned Runners

  • Start jogging at a comfortable pace and continue for 20 minutes. You should not be dying or struggling to breathe. Your goal here is to get your heart rate up.
  • 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. This will incorporate high intensity interval training into your road work.
  • Once you finish each movement pattern, stop and rest for 5 minutes. Continue moving at a walking pace to during this five minute interval, to allow your heart rate to get back to a steady pace without giving your muscle fibers a chance to seize up.
  • Now, jog back to your starting point at any pace. It doesn’t matter how long it takes.
  • Progression: The next time you complete roadwork for boxing training, try to adjust your intervals slightly. See if you can make the rest periods between the high-intensity training spurts a bit shorter.

After you’ve completed a conditioned runner's 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.

For those days that you can't get in some boxing roadwork for beginners, try to add some plyometric training and jump rope interval training to your workout.

See you in the ring at your next Gloveworx session!

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