Boxing – Are We Serious?
Yes, sort of. Not so much in terms of really giving you a boost to your marathon or ultra marathon PB’s, but more so as a really fun way to participate in another sport without doing anything detrimental to your running program. In addition, boxing can address areas of your fitness that running often cannot, and again, this can be without negatively impacting your running.
Similar to what we mentioned in are previous cross-training post about football, boxing is also very affordable, especially when you are already paying for other sports or sports equipment. In this case, all you really need are a decent pair of boxing gloves, which you can find almost anywhere. For a good overview of different types of boxing gloves, and even pink boxing gloves, we find Tomato Can Champ to be a good resource, particularly for beginner boxers.
Don’t let the professional boxers on TV fool you. Boxing is one of the best workout ever, and can be extremely challenging. Of course, if you are an ultra marathon runner you will have above average stamina, but you will likely still be very surprised about how quickly you become fatigued during a boxing workout. Moreover, running is one of the best supplemental training methods for boxers, so they tie together quite nicely.
One thing that boxing can offer that running sometimes cannot is extremely effective muscle strength training. A typical boxing workout will involve a multitude of workouts that end up targeting every functional muscle group. This, coupled with the high intensity cardiovascular workout, allows the participant to cut weight while still building muscle.
Furthermore, many long distance runners are hesitant to participate in muscle strengthening program over the fear of losing flexibility, gaining weight, and distracting themselves from their normal training. However, with boxing, the majority of resistance training is done under your own body weight, and especially as a recreational boxer, you don’t have to touch a weight if you don’t want to.
Boxing is really good in this sense. Since they operate on a weight class system, they always try to keep weight down while attempting to improve strength. This means they focus way more on technique and cardiovascular training, rather than simply putting on weight to increase absolute strength.
A Fun Challenge
In our opinion, boxing offers a fun challenge that is unfamiliar to many individuals. Although it’s tough, you’ll learn about a new sport and new training techniques, and you’ll be able to push yourself in slightly different ways than usual. One thing many people struggle with when starting out boxing is mental toughness and just getting through that workout. As an ultra distance runner, you already know what it takes to grind it out and complete an incredibly difficult task, so you may already have a leg up!
Boxing is often thought of as a dangerous sport. This may the case if you are fighting people who do it for a living, but as a recreational boxer who is there purely for training purposes, the sport is as safe as any other. Even if you do advance your skills to the point where you are int he ring sparring, this is always in an extremely controlled environment where the goal is to work together and learn techniques, rather than try to attack the opponent with the goal of knocking them out.
At the end of the day, boxing represents a unique supplement to your running program. It may not be for everyone, but it is something we recommend trying out if you are seriously interested. There;s boxing clubs in most cities and towns, and often times they are more than happy for you to drop by and check out the scene.