Old Forum My uninformed views on running

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Rob Lawrence

Level 3 Valued Member
Ten years ago I was a 100% strength-focused guy and hated running. I picked up a taste for running while boxing. Boxers aren't very good runners. They mostly do slow LSD, and even as LSD it's slow. Some boxers run sprints and intervals. While some trainers would applaud this as an example of "developing strength and power," I totally disagree. It doesn't develop your punching power and it develops an energy profile that has little or nothing to do with boxing. It also exhausts you and takes forever to recover from. If a smart boxer avoids LSD, they're more likely doing something like fartlek, not sprints.

When I started running, I ran in flat Adidas Sambas like a good party member. I also trained myself to run on the balls of my feet. Americans who pound their heels and wear padded shoes always looked ridiculous and unathletic to me. I had about a month of soreness while I got used to running that way. A few years later I felt pretty validated when the barefoot running movement came into vogue and I read "Born to Run."

I learned a few things about running during my boxing period. First, it gets you out of your house and gives you some peace and quiet, which when you have three kids is no small deal. Second, it develops your feet and ankles and your ability to form a base of relaxed power, particularly if you do it the "Born to Run" way. When I bruised my trainer through his headgear with a left hook (he was so happy about it - quite an odd sight) I knew I was onto something. I learned to "sit down on my punches" without sacrificing mobility. I totally credit this style of running, as well as footwork drills, for those improvements.

Now I'm back to strength but I like running too much to quit. So yes, I'm doing LSD. I think many people see muscular sprinters, confuse cause/effect at multiple levels, and conclude that if you want to be a muscular runner, you should sprint. I'm not so sure that's correct. Those people are genetic freaks first of all, and they're young. They are looked after and recover well. They only sprint. A lot of the weight they put up in the squat etc. is due to who they are to begin with, and the speed-strength they manifest in all athletic activities.

I put up an article about a month ago about strength training and distance running - look for it. The basic principles were indeed, do slow LSD, get plenty of time to recover, and eat enough carbs to fuel your recovery (which I'm doing despite various paleo starch-avoidance experiments). This makes sense to me and so far I am getting stronger and running 3-5 miles three times a week with no feeling of exhaustion or weakness.

I labeled this post with the caveat "uninformed" and stand by that. I am not that wise in the ways of exercise science. In my personal experience the above is working for me, so for the moment I make no broader arguments.


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Certified Instructor
Very insightful, Rob!

LSD running has its place in almost anyone's regime—as long as it is done in moderation (see Easy Strength for details).


Level 5 Valued Member
Yes I too do some LD running and I do it on the balls of my feet. Sometimes I throw in sprints but not for very long distances.


Level 5 Valued Member
I'm a former endurance runner & cyclist and I follow a very similar program to what's described in the "Victor" section of Easy Strength.  That portion of the text got me back out on the trails and helped me realize that 'strength and endurance need not be mutually exclusive'.  Using that low HR method and strength training I completed a few longer (>25km) trail races last year with no ill effects.

Once you have a good base you can add some hill sprints to sharpen your fitness or leg strength if need be but I get the most bang from the consistent jogs.  As a father of 3 I too find it a nice mental break to escape outdoors and clear my mind.

Now to get that one armed chin and CoC #2.5 gripper!




Level 3 Valued Member
Its certainly a complex issue to say the least. I read the article you put up. It had many good principles that could help one balance the differing energy systems and strength and endurance. The bottom line the human body will adapt to the energy system that it uses the most. Once you start getting high level at endurance style running, where your really trying improve your times and your running 5minute miles youll be using alot of energy and pushing your body to extremes, thinkin distances over 10k or above, the demands and the biochemical adaptations will likely start to impede strength gains. Thats likely why you wont see a guy whos an elite distance runner and an elite power lifter all at once. Plus we tend to stick what we are good at. Thats why its no surprise many power guys can be highly fast twitch and many endurance guys are highly slow twitch.

Generally most high levels runners mix there runs, but usually have one session dedicated to speed work where they do intervals and really push the body and get them lactate acid levels rising so they can gain some tolerance to it.

Think of a boxing match generally the heart rate is very high. Theres a mix of aerobic and anaerobic metabolism, but generally often in a boxing match or fight it can be usually largeley anaerobic with high heartbeat and high lacate acid levels. One may argue then that intervals runs of of say a couple of minutes hard reachin 85% to 95% max reflect the conditions of the boxing match more and have more carryover and are more specific to the conditions of a boxing match.

Think High rep swings and high rep snatchs. I believe these conditions reflect the conditions in an actual boxing match better. The high intensity style cardio.

But ye one cant beat doin a nice relaxing 60 -65 percent max heartbeat releaxing run and just emptying the mind and letting go. Not having to focus on technique or anything else it can be wonderful. Plus if your doin a few heavy strength sessions or other high intensity skill work doin interval runs on top will likely be to much.

It all comes down to how intelligently you design your program, but if you think your gonna be an eluet distance runner and an elite power Lifter or Power runner ( sprinter) its not likely gonna happen.


Level 3 Valued Member
( Continued)

Its likely though one can gain the relevant aerobic/anaerobic fitness gains by actual pad and sparring drills at the gym. Someone whos doin two or three intense in Boxing/ Muay thai sessions as you say Rob wouldnt be very wise to do two intense interval runs as well. Though I do believe these runs reflect the conditions of a boxing/Muay thai fight better if one was to obtain the blood lactate concentartions of fighters and would help build this specific high cardio endurance that can handle and tolerate and quicly remove the lactate acid.

Again supporting why High rep snatchs and swing s can be great conditioning tools for fighters and resemble the conditons somewhat closely.

Complex issue that is impeded by many variables, so theres no universal yess answer.

Rob Lawrence

Level 3 Valued Member
Russell, thanks. Truth is, as a management consultant I frequently see people overstepping their bounds and their knowledge with disastrous results. It's made me cautious in certain respects. But it's also made me confident in my own experiential knowledge, insofar as it applies to me. You will see Pavel invoking Steve Baccari a lot ... he's a similar thinker with even less ornamentation and that's why he is so on point.


Level 5 Valued Member
Can someone point me to the article? I didn't see it in the Articles section.

I agree with Elite times / lifts but for us average guys it's a good option. I can still break 40min in a 10k at 43 and 190lbs and I'm stoked with that.  I was never Elite anyways.  To go faster I'd drop weight and flirt with old injuries so it's of limited benefit.



Level 2 Valued Member
I think there's a point here about how you actually define 'LSD'. I guess a lifter's definition will be different from a runner's! In my marathon running days, I basically followed Greg McMillan's thinking in that a "long slow run" should be at least 1hr 45 mins, and ideally over 2 hours. The aim being as follows: [quote from http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/articlePages/article/2] "With long runs during a marathon program, you are trying to accomplish two distinct purposes. On the one hand, you are trying to maximize your ability to burn fat and spare your limited muscle carbohydrate (glycogen) stores as well as improving your leg strength and resistance to fatigue (both physical fatigue and mental fatigue). You are also trying to teach your body to better handle lowered blood glucose levels. On the other hand, you are trying to become more economical at your marathon race pace (learning to burn less fuel for a given pace) along with testing out your race equipment and nutritional plan. You also want to give the mind a taste of the focus and determination that will be required in the latter stages of the marathon itself."

Typically I aimed for 2¼ hrs once/week when not racing, which would be 18 miles @ my LSD pace. I'm not running these days, aiming instead to make up a perceived strength shortfall (and intend to stay with it until I reach at least 36kg C&P - half bodyweight) and don't honestly think that sort of running is compatible with my strength training. So as Pavel says, in moderation - but personally I wouldn't call 3-5 miles 'LSD'. "Easy running", sure, but not 'long'!

Steve Freides

Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
RobertS, I think calling anything over an hour a "long" run is a fine, simple place to draw the line.

I think a lot of folks take their mid-week runs in the 30-50 minute range and then go for 2 hours on the weekend.

Just my opinion.



Level 7 Valued Member
"I think many people see muscular sprinters, confuse cause/effect at multiple levels, and conclude that if you want to be a muscular runner, you should sprint. I’m not so sure that’s correct."

Thanks for not confusing causation with correlation. And from what I've read about sprint training, sprinters don't train using "intervals." It is more like a strength workout. They sprint, then rest several minutes (3-5 min, sound familiar?), then go again. This is very different from intervals where you go fast, rest only 30-60 seconds, then repeat.


Level 3 Valued Member
The interval is designed for the Run in question and the energy system that is being used.

Sprinters and middle distance runners may do and distance runners may do intervals but the intervals will be designed for the energy system in question.

An 100metre sprinter is using th ATP/PCR energy system. The fuel being used for muscle concentraction is phosphocreatine.

With a middle distance or a distance runner the energy system is often Anaerobic breakdown of glucose. Different energy system.

Therefore the intervals are designed for the energy system that is being taxed.The point being the training is based on the energy system and an intervals can be anything from 10 seconds at 95percent effort or 2 minutes at 85percent effort or max heartbeat.

Lactic acid tolerance training reps may 2 minutes workin at 85 to 90percent capacity. Usually witth a 2.5- 5 minute rest then repeat the intrevals building up to between 4 and 6 times.

A sprinter traiing the phosphate sysem will maybe work at 95percent maybe run hard to build on the start of the sprint may run hard for 6 seconds. Longer intervals would be required between hard sprints to make sure that the energy system being used was phospocreatine not anaerobic breakdown of glucose.

Same with power training weight lifting the aim is to adapt the neuromusular and use the phosphocreatine energy system giving plenty of time to recover so one doesnt full into anaerobic metabolism.

So them term interval is Vague and can be applied and designed to what is needed.



Level 1 Valued Member
As an athlete who has focused for decades on going as hard as i can for a few seconds, i have to quote Meg Ryan in Joe and the Volcano,


"i have no response to that".


Good to se you posting again.


Level 7 Valued Member
As for the what shoes to wear, I have come to the conclusion that it ain't the shoes, it's the technique. Avoid heel striking, land on the forefoot/midfoot underneath your center of mass and you have good running form. This method is the method taught by POSE and Chi Running. Minimalist shoes and barefoot running enforce this technique because heel striking without a lot of cushioning will get very painful very fast. But if a person has the patience to learn and adapt to the non-heel strike running method, the shoes do not matter. I like regular running shoes with all the cushioning "just in case." But I run using something in between POSE and Chi Running.


Level 4 Valued Member
Big yes on barefoot/flat shoes.  Pavel was way ahead.

Still proposing a dumbed-down bro version of energy pathways.  Strength followed by intervals is good, keep endurance separate.  Yes?


Level 3 Valued Member
Thanks, Aaron to write clearly how the energy systems works. My English is not good enough to post on a lot of topics and don't have time to rely on books or translators. Yes, the term interval is Vague.
Same for running, sprinting or barefoot, all good, if you don't have any musculoskeletal disorder, barefoot is good, if you like to run barefoot, and not on concrete.
Now, running, sprinting are considered as " high impact exercises ", so, most of the time, it is better to wear adapted running shoes, a podiatrist is for me the best to tell, if I need shoes or not to run or sprint. I am not talking about kettlebells training or Martial Arts, where barefoot IS the best.
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