Boxing is a sport that requires its athletes to train hard and train constantly. Endurance, fortitude, and consistency are essential for a fighter to survive round after round in the ring. One aspect of boxing training that hasn’t changed over the years is long-distance running. But why do boxers run long distance?

Boxers run long distance because it is an essential part of boxing training. It helps build cardiovascular endurance and corrects any muscular asymmetry and imbalance that may develop due to boxing. Running also helps improve flexibility and prevent injuries. 

Read on to know more about why long-distance and other types of running are so good for boxers. I’ll also talk about how boxers run, the other cardiovascular training methods they use, and how that compares to running.

The Benefits of Distance Running for Boxers

A critical physical ability that all boxers need to develop is cardiovascular endurance. 

They need to be able to move quickly and hold power in their punches through all the rounds of their fight. A great way of training the body’s capacity for endurance is to run. 

On its own, long-distance running builds strength in the muscles of the heart and the legs. Building up your heart muscle encourages blood flow and allows the body to be engaged in a rigorous activity for more extended periods of time. 

Running also helps by developing flexibility in the muscles of the legs and the feet. This flexibility is also part of endurance because it allows the boxer to move fast without risking injury. 

Boxing is a sport that requires a great deal of mental strength as well. Boxers need to be able to keep their presence of mind and push fatigue away. Long-distance running helps with this as well.

Overall, running ensures the resilience of the boxer in the ring. 

How Do Boxers Run?

While long-distance running has been part of boxing training for almost as long as the sport has been around, interval training has its place as well. 

Combining Interval Training and Long Distance Running

Alternating between long-distance or “recovery” runs and speed training through intervals is essential. Consistently training only in one way can overstress the muscles and result in injury. 

Additionally, it is important that all the training for boxers is functional in that it supports the needs of their sport. Amateur boxers need more interval training rather than long-distance running because amateur bouts are typically shorter than professional ones. 

You can manipulate your work and rest times to mimic the conditions of the fight. It also helps the amateur boxer get used to the intensity required. 

While this aspect of interval training is helpful for professional boxers, they also find long-distance running an essential part of their routine. 

Professional boxers have fights that can go on as long as an hour or more. They need to be able to sustain speed and power through this time and delay fatigue. 

The best method of training for this is long-distance running. 

However, even long-distance running isn’t just about the mileage when it comes to how professional boxers train. Most boxers throw in a few sprints in between their long runs to mimic the demands of their sport. 

Combining interval training with long-distance running lets boxers develop their overall stats of heart rate, breathing, and recovery by pushing the cardiovascular system. 

Routine and Frequency

Developing a routine for “roadwork” is an essential aspect of any discipline boxer’s training. 

On average, boxers must run 3-5 times a week and increase their distance/working time as they get closer to an upcoming fight. 

Typically, boxers intersperse interval training with a day of long-distance recovery runs at least 2-3 times a week. Training injuries before a fight are prevalent and utterly disastrous in the long run for professionals who want a long career. 

A consistent routine of long-distance running helps prevent injuries. It enables the boxer to recover from intense training while keeping the muscles warm and active. Running plays an essential role in overall movement and mobility training as well because it improves muscle flexibility. 

If you run early in the morning, you’ll have the entire afternoon and evening for further training at the gym. 

Interval training, on the other hand, can be spread out throughout the day. This way, the training can be done when fresh and when tired to cultivate different kinds of cardiovascular and mental endurance. 

Interval training is also advised about 2-3 times a week for optimal results. 

Famous Boxers and Their Mileage

Most boxers run about an average of 4-5 miles (6.43-8.04 km) daily. Here is a list of some of the most popular boxers and their roadwork routines for context. 


Boxer
Mileage
Tim Bradley8 – 12 (12.8-19.3 km)
Salvador Sanchez9 – 10 (14.5-16 km)
Lamont Peterson8 – 12 (12.8-19.3 km)
Floyd Mayweather6 – 8 (9.6-12.8 km)
Arthur Abraham6 – 7 (9.6-11.2 km)
Manny Pac6 (9.6 km)
Joe Calzaghe 6 (9.6 km)
Paul Williams5 (8 km)
Bernard Hopkins3 – 6 (4.8-9.6 km)

Other Cardio Training and How They Compare to Running

Apart from running, boxers can also practice jumping rope, swimming, and biking to improve their overall cardiovascular capacity. Jumping rope/skipping works exceptionally well for interval training. 

On the other hand, swimming is easier on the joints and helps build overall muscle strength without risk of injury. 

But overall, running is recommended to boxers over any other kind of activity. It combines the most critical areas of training for boxers, which are leg strength, lung capacity, and overall endurance. 

Running engages more muscles than any other kind of cardiovascular exercise and even helps with bone density. Since running itself is a weight-bearing exercise, it helps boxers train to constantly move on their feet for all the rounds of a fight without faltering. 

Final Thoughts

Long-distance running is an essential element of traditional boxing training that still has value today. “Roadwork” is vital for building overall endurance, both of the body and the mind. Running helps boxers fight longer and harder without tiring by building up their muscular and respiratory capacities and reducing recovery time.