No Run, No Fight
Maybe you’ve heard this saying before, no run, no fight. I personally don’t consider it a saying; it’s a fact.
So many iconic scenes from boxing and martial arts movies are of the solitary fighter running on the side of the road for a reason. If you want to take your training to the next level, whether that’s fighting or for your next shorts test, consider adding running to your fitness schedule.
Now that it’s spring and we can only really go outside for essentials or fresh air, why not go for a jog? I have to remind you to keep your 6ft physical distancing on point if you’re running. You are traveling at a faster pace than other pedestrians and bear more responsibility for keeping your distance. It’s also recommended to wear a face-covering; if you’re keeping a good pace, you’re probably mouth breathing!
If you’ve taken a class, you already know what an intense cardiovascular workout Muay Thai is. There are lots of ways to get your extra cardio in but running is the method of choice for Muay Thai. Swimming, rowing machines, and biking are fine options but you want to build up endurance not only in your lungs and heart but in your legs as well. The repeated impact of running builds bone density in your feet, shins, and legs. You’re on your feet when you’re doing Muay Thai and so you want a cardio workout that complements this. Running builds mental endurance and toughness too. When you’re tired out on the road running alone without your Kru or your teammates to encourage you, you find the determination within yourself to push hard and complete your run. Developing the ability to push past mental and physical exhaustion is invaluable for Muay Thai.
So let’s get started!
First, you’ll need a good pair of running shoes. Luckily there are still many options for online ordering if you don’t have a pair. If you’re looking to support a local Toronto business, Black Toe Running is a great choice. If you are budgeting, most major retailers (i.e. Footlocker, Sportchek) have large clearance sections.
A common problem I’m seeing with new runners recently is that they are dressing too heavily in early spring weather to be comfortable when running. You build quite a bit of body heat when you’re jogging and don’t need as much clothing as you’d think.
I’ve suggested some guidelines below:
Now that you’re dressed, you aren’t going to head out the door just yet. Especially when you are first starting and running is an unfamiliar movement for your body, you should take some time for joint mobility before you head out on a run. Neck rotations, shoulder rotations, hip circles, and ankle rotations should all be done on each side at least 10 times each. Jumping jacks, alternating knees to your chest, and squats can also help activate your muscles before a run. I like to walk for a couple of blocks before I start my run, especially if it’s early in the day and I haven’t been moving much yet.
For your first run, plan a route between 2.5-5km. Apps like Nike Run Club or Under Armour’s Map My Run have mapped out local routes you can follow, plus they can help you track your progress. Having a planned route when you run is essential, especially when you’re starting out. You’re more likely to get tired and give up without an endpoint to strive for. Find a route you like and complete it no matter what – don’t be discouraged if you need to take walking breaks the first few runs you attempt. You should take walking breaks as needed if you feel burning or cramping in your lungs/chest or that familiar sear of lactic acid building up in your legs.
Limit walking breaks to 1-2 minutes and avoid them entirely if you can. When first incorporating running into your schedule, plan to run 3x a week. It makes a great warm-up for Muay Thai class if you’re looking to combine workouts. When you’re finished your run, take a few moments to stretch at a minimum your quadriceps and hip flexors. Your hip flexors especially can get tight with the repetitive motions of both Muay Thai and running.
With the weather getting warmer and the lockdown continuing, hopefully, you find this guide helpful. Remember to keep your distance, warm up properly, pick a running route, and stick to it. The lockdown offers a great opportunity to build your discipline and running is the best choice to complement your Muay Thai practice while keeping safe and healthy.