If you have ever seen an image of a boxer training, you’ve probably seen them running early in the morning. Aside from practicing at the ring, running is one of the most common forms of training boxers undergo – and most of them do so early in the morning. But why?

Boxers run early in the morning because running on an empty stomach can help boost the number of calories their body burns during the day. Since most fighters run for weight control and increase their stamina, running in the morning can be highly beneficial.

The rest of this article will look at the importance of running early in the morning in more detail. It will also look at why running is essential for boxers and a workout for running new fighters can follow.

The Importance of Running Early in the Morning

The thought of waking up early in the morning to work out can be exhausting. After all, you ideally want to get as much sleep as possible before you have to go to work. 

Boxers are no different. However, serious fighters understand that running early in the morning is crucial for an effective workout session. There are several reasons why early morning runs can benefit boxers, from sleeping better to enjoying the best morning view. 

Better Sleep Quality at Night

Studies have long reported that working out early in the morning leads to better sleep quality at night. Below are 2 studies that showed how morning exercises can benefit one’s sleep.

  • A 2014 study compared sleep quality in people who worked out at 7am, 1pm, and 7pm. The study found people working out at 7am had the best sleep quality.
  • A 2012 study found people who ran in the morning every day for three weeks reported improved sleep quality.

More Effective Weight Management

Running on an empty stomach means that you are burning fat rather than carbohydrates. In fact, you can see weight management benefits throughout the day.

A 2012 study found that people who exercised earlier in the morning were less likely to consume unnecessary calories throughout the day than those who did not.

This benefit is one of the major reasons that boxers run early in the morning, as it is a significant advantage when it comes to controlling their weight. There are, of course, conditioning benefits boxers can also take advantage of. However, you can have many of these benefits no matter the time of day that a person runs.

Mental Health Benefits

Early morning runs can help reduce anxiety and help your brain “toughen up” due to constant exposure to the stress of running in the morning. Other benefits include an improvement in mental health problems like clinical depression.  

More Privacy and Ease of Run

If you’ve ever run early in the morning, you’ve probably noticed that your usual route is less crowded. Additionally, it can be easier to run without worrying you’re going to bump into someone. This benefit is just as important to professional athletes as it is to you. 

Furthermore, since they’re usually running long distances, making the corrections to avoid people can be challenging, which they avoid in the morning.

Another significant benefit that the lack of people in the morning can have is a lack of attention. Many big-name boxers are well-known celebrities, and there is always a risk that they will be stopped by fans, admirers, and autograph-hunters, thus disrupting their training.

Additionally, some people, especially women, may feel safer when running in the morning instead of running in the evening or at night.

Inspiring Morning Views

Aside from being more convenient and healthier to run in the morning, early morning exercise sessions also offer great views. This is especially true if you run at dawn, as you get the option to see the sunrise. 

Furthermore, many morning runners note that the weather is cooler earlier in the day than in the evening. This makes it easier for them to complete their workout without feeling overheated or wanting to quit partway through.

The Importance of Running for Boxers

Running is a crucial part of training for many boxers and is known as “roadwork” in boxing parlance. Some of the best-known fighters have noted the importance of roadwork in helping improve their performance.

Champion boxer Joe Frazier once said it was the most important part of a boxer’s training. He also said it helps ensure they have the endurance to get through 12 rounds of a match.

The primary reason that running is important for boxers is that it helps boost the functioning of the cardiovascular system. Running helps:

  • Increase lung capacity
  • Minimize the heart’s workload 
  • Lower a person’s resting pulse rate
  • Improves blood circulation 
  • Reduces levels of blood fat and increases levels of HDL (or “good”) cholesterol
  • Reduces the production of adrenaline and cortisol, which are both stress hormones
  • Increases the volume of blood in the body

Aside from benefiting heart health, running also helps boxers develop muscles in the legs. This, in turn, ensures that they can stay light on their toes while in a match and helps ensure they have the endurance necessary to get through a match. 

Running Outdoors vs. Running on a Treadmill

Treadmills allow boxers the advantage of running on a predictable and forgiving surface. Additionally, most treadmills have some give to them, making it easier to maintain a steady pace. 

Another advantage of treadmills is that you can set the preferred speed on a machine, which can help you boost your running speed. Treadmills are a great option for boxers who cannot run outside for any reason. They are also a good idea in places where the weather makes running outside difficult.

However, where possible, it’s always advisable for boxers to run outdoors. Doing so forces them to adapt to the natural elements and changing weather, which can often help build their mental fortitude. 

People running outside are responsible for carrying their own body weight. They need to structure their runs keeping in mind the fact that they will have to run from their home and back to their home. For example, if you run one mile (1.6 km) from your home, you will also have to be conscious of the fact that you have to run the same distance to return home.

Ideal Running Frequency 

The World Boxing Association recommends that boxers run about five times a week for approximately 2-3 hours each day. 

However, many trainers recommend tailoring how often you run to your goals. For example, if a scheduled fight is coming up soon, you may want to increase the time and distance you run each day. Additionally, you may find it beneficial to tailor your running schedule to how long an upcoming match will be. Shorter matches will require less training, while 12 round bouts will need more.

At the same time, boxers need to take their own limitations into account. If you are new to running, it’s important to start slowly and pace yourself, as beginning with a training program that is too intense can result in overuse injuries.

Additionally, boxers need to build in time in their schedules to warm up and cool down before and after a run. This doesn’t have to be too long – approximately 10 minutes before and after a run should do the trick, though you may have to extend this period depending on how long each session lasts.

Types of Runs for Boxers

There are various types of runs that boxers can experiment with, depending on their training needs. These include:

  • Distance Runs: These help build endurance, and the length of the run is more important than speed.
  • Sprints: Short, high-intensity runs that stimulate the action of throwing punches rapidly during a fight. Ideally, a training program should incorporate short sprints along with longer jogs. Boxers should sprint as part of their training at least two times a week.
  • Backward Runs: Helps build the calf muscles and allows boxers to improve their footwork and practice throwing punches while moving backward during a match. Treadmills are easiest for backward runs.
  • Sled Runs: Involves pushing a sled loaded with weights. Great for building power in your legs.
  • Shuttle Runs: Involve running rapidly between a set of markers placed at equal distances. Great for improving conditioning and for boosting the strength of leg movement and flexibility.

Recommended Workout Plan for Boxers

Trainer Alvin Davie recommends the following workout for boxers looking to incorporate running into their workouts:

  • Jog for 3 minutes, keeping a medium pace.
  • Run for 20 minutes at an average pace, ensuring the pace is steady for the whole 20 minutes.
  • Sprint for 10 seconds at the top of each minute for the next 10 minutes (this essentially means ten short sprints in the next 10 minutes).

Additionally, he recommends increasing your run time in every subsequent workout and slowly reducing the intervals between sprints (from 1 minute to 45 seconds).

Conclusion

Running is a key part of building up endurance for boxers and helping them get through all 12 rounds of a boxing match without feeling too tired. This makes it essential for professional boxers to include runs as part of their training at least three to five times a week.

While boxers can run at any time of the day, many prefer to do so in the morning. There are numerous reasons behind this, including:

  • Improvement in sleep quality
  • Better help with weight management
  • Running is more comfortable in the morning.
  • Early morning runs can have mental health benefits.

Sources

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