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Other/Mixed Aerobic Training Question

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)
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Hey everyone!

This is my first post on the forum but I've had the pleasure of going to a Strongfirst event (Kettlebell course) last year in my home city of Sydney, Australia. I'm a novice/white belt BJJ competitor who is now balancing BJJ and boxing with some S&C fit in where I can.

Over the past 6 months or so, I've implemented some of the brief instructions for aerobic training given in S&S plus Pavel's advice from his JRE episode -
So far I'm quite happy with my results and I really love long distance running, but I am a little bit unsure on how I should progress further. The last run that I went on was at quite a slow jogging pace, but I ran uninterrupted for 90 minutes and was able to hold a conversation or even hum/sing for the vast majority of that time (I test myself intermittently as I run alone).

My question is, do I simply keep going on progessively longer runs while obeying the talk test, or is it time for some more high intensity cardio? I have program hopped quite a bit this year in terms of strength training (mostly due to prexisting injuries flaring up) but I am currently re-implementing Simple and Sinister as my strength work so will be doing swings 2-3 times per week moving forward. My skill training is currently 2-3 BJJ sessions plus around 2 boxing sessions.

Sorry for the long post but wanted to provide enough info, I appreciate any advice anyone has :)

Kind regards,

Hey Brandon... welcome to SF...

At some point you might want to decide on what your goals are. Whilst people can do many things concurrently, only a rare few reach any real level of proficiency in multiple things. But that’s just fine as well. Plenty of folks are content with not specializing in something specific.

But it can be hard to fit it all in. Many of us here find S&S to be a great compliment to other activities including martial arts.

Regarding your running... is it how much do you need (and why) or is it how much you want. 90min is a decent ‘long’ run for most folks, but may be woefully short for an ultra-runner. What adaptations are you seeking?

If you have already 2-3 BJJ sessions + 2 boxing, it is already a great volume if you are really 'engaged' during the course.

As @offwidth said, what do you want ? Being a better figther ? Being a better runner ? At some point progression on one side may mean a plateau or regression on the other side.

At the beginning, you will progress on both side though.

Usually, aerobic activity for fighter is not that long, about 45 minutes, 2-3 times a week for the average guy. This is used for 2 main purposes:
- active recovery
- 'building the engine' (a good aerobic base, which is crucial to build any kind of interval training on it afterwards)

Kind regards,

Thanks for the responses @offwidth and @pet' !

My goal is definitely to be a better fighter, enjoying the cardio was just a happy/unexpected side effect (think it's the meditative side of it that I really like).

I like pet''s recommendation of capping the runs at about 45 minutes, I've heard some other coaches recommend the same and it makes a lot of sense from a recovery standpoint. Am I interpretting Pavel's recommendations correctly in saying that I should be able to hold a conversation at any point during the run?



capping the runs at about 45 minutes, I've heard some other coaches recommend the same and it makes a lot of sense from a recovery standpoint
My boxing teacher, who is at national level recommends that as well. He always specifies that if one really wants to be a good fighter, one has to especially train for it.

There are several very good things about a strong engine:
- as you said, the practice per se is sort of meditation
- this is a very good active recovery from the session
- it allows you to recover better during the practice (between rounds, during the fight per se (alternate fight sequences / positioning sequences)
- it is a long lasting results : once you get it, maintenance is "easy" (assuming you are not a competitive runner, of course)

Am I interpretting Pavel's recommendations correctly in saying that I should be able to hold a conversation at any point during the run?
You can do that. If you run alone, then nasal breathing will force you to work on the aerobic pathway (which is what you want in this case).

Kind regards,

Most research has shown that aerobic benefits accrue over quite the long time frame, so theoretically you could keep doing long and slow and keep improving. I'd add two comments tho:

1. Are you seeing monthly improvements? If you repeat a work out Day 1 of each month, are you seeing an improvement? If not, can you see why not? (Frequently - work stress, didn't sleep well, drank too much that weekend, etc.) If you are seeing improvements ... why add something or change?

2. Tempo work is great! Run a little faster than what you are (e.g. can no longer nasal breath) once a week. You could do these straight (e.g. 30 min run above nasal breathing threshold) or as intervals (10 min above, 5 min below, 10 min above, 5 min below, etc.).

If you look at Andrew Reads Walk/Run 2.0, he says for 6 months, build up to and maintain 2x 45-60 min runs and a 90 min weekend run, with the last 20-30 min (of the weekend run) at a higher pace. After running for about a year, he suggests adding an interval session:

1-2 kilometer warm-up, including five sets of 100-meter faster efforts, building up through each
3-5 one-kilometer efforts at above race pace, with 1-2 minutes of easy jogging in between
1-2 kilometer cool-down

Personally, I would not start aiming for longer runs in your specific situation, but I would continue monitoring for improvements. If you track training heart rate or resting heart rate, these are great for feedback - you ran the same distance in 90 min but your HR was lower, or your resting HR went from 65 to 60; both cases, what you're doing is working. I wouldn't add things (longer runs, more sessions, or intervals) until I saw a plateau that wasn't explainable (I've been eating like crap, I've been drinking too much, my BJJ has been super exhausting, I haven't slept well because my 6 mo old keeps waking up at 3AM, etc.).
Appreciate the info and ideas @Coyotl :)

From a progress standpoint, I've noticed that my pace hasn't really improved that much but I can run the same distances at around the same time as when I started but they feel a hell of a lot easier. At the (slow jog) pace I run at I can basically run till I can't stand the fatigue in my legs without noticing a change in my breathing.

@pet' I agree with you 100% on the benefits, I didn't really consider the active recovery aspect though, that's a really good point.

One of the things I noticed when coming back to BJJ after the covid break was the extra aerobic work definitely improved my work capacity, it felt way easier to do double classes (approx. 2x 1hr classes back to back) and I didn't lose momentum as much towards the end of each session.
Exactly what @Coyotl said above...

@BJMifsud ... what Pavel is referring to about carrying on a conversation is a type of ’ventilatory marker’. (As is nasal breathing) These types of markers are a good indication that one is training at or below their AeT. This being the goal of LED locomotive training. Combining a good HRM and the breathing indicators will be the optimal way to ensure you are in the right HR zones.
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