T Nation

Running and Cardio


Hello guys!

Just a quick question : how many times and how long do you have to run to improve your cardio?

Rich Franklin for instance runs 5 times a week but only 20min each time with also some sprints. Is this better than running 2 times a week for an hour or more?


what are your goals?

if you want to run a marathon, run long distances.

if you want to be good at sprinting, run sprints.

what does "improve your cardio" mean?

if you provide a definition of your understanding of the term "cardio" we can help you more.

as you have posted this in the combat forum, i will assume you want to improve conditioning for fights. give more details on what you want and you will get a more detailed response.


(You mentioned Rich Franklin so I assume your doing this for MMA or Wrestling)

Ok before you get the wrong information and this becomes a bad thread this is the most logical way to look at it and most wrestling/mma/kickboxing coachs view it the same way.

Will you ever fight someone for a hour ? the answer I hope is no.

The longest you will ever fight someone is for 25 mins, 5 rounds of 5 minutes, with breaks every 5 minutes, i.e your cardio should reflect the same.

Tireflips for 5 minutes, 1-2 minutes rest
Interval training 5 minutes of heavy bag punch/kick outs, 5-10 minutes of jumping rope
Underwater laps in a pool, swim the length on a breath, rest for a minute and repeat
If you have access to a rock wall, 5 minutes of climbing, 5-10 minutes of jumping rope

If you conditioned enough all of these examples with the exception of the swimming can be down with a nose clamp and snorkel.

The logic behind this is that fighting/wrestling is anerobic and not aerobic, and before you ask, Yes a high amount of anerobic activity does carry over to aerobic activity but the reverse does not happen.

Another alternative or addition to cardio training for a fighter is not breathing thru a set, make the environment your doing the set in extremely anerobic.

Hope this helps


"OK, before you get people talking that don't agree with me, read this so I seem smarter."


lol, there's no real "other way" aerobic does not translate to anerobic so the methods I posted are what work. And you know as well as I do that alot of idiots will sit here and say run for 1 hour, from experience from wrestling and BJJ, I can honestly say it does not transfer over.


lol x2



Thanks for your input but I don't agree with that. Actually I thought the same before then I changed my mind when I experienced different ways of training. I am an amateur MMA fighter by the way, training 12 hours a week in the evening.

Fighting is not anaerobic as you're going to fight for more than a few seconds (usually). I used to train with the "Hammer down endurance" protocol of Chad and it was a big mistake for me as I didn't train my ''overall gas tank''. It's hard to explain (especially because my mothertongue is french not english! lol!) but it's a general feeling. According to me the best way to work on your fighting conditionning is still running. I know some articles say otherwise but my experience tells me that nothing can beat running yet. I hate to run so it sucks but I'm going to do what I have to! lol!

An other thing you have to take into account is that training session can be very long. Running also helps for that (staying "fresh" as long as you can and so working 'properly' on your skills the longest you can).


I suggest you wait for the guy to say what sport he does before you go on about it.

While wrestling and BJJ feature working against someone physically for an allotted time (and I can see this training being very relevant to that), boxing, kickboxing, and other striking sports... well for them I wouldn't knock roadwork.

I have seen fighters who prepared for fights by using this strongman style of training (i.e. tire flipping, slegehammer, etc.) and it didn't seem to preserve their endurance all that well. The examples I can think of off the top of my head are Kelly Pavlik in prep for the BHop fight and DLH prepping for the Pacman fight.

I just don't think that I would rely exclusively on that for conditioning.


And this is not me being "old school" again either. It's what I see as being the most effective way as proven by generations upon generations of fighters. Even the trainers that do use strongman methods or or aim more for the anaerobic zone (Jack Loew, Nacho whatever his last name is) still have their fighters incorporate a lot of running.


I read about Fedor's training and the guy runs A LOOOOOOOOT !! Same thing for Karelin ! This doesn't prove anything of course but after trying different methods I have to say that nothing beats running. Now I need to know what's best : how long and how many times per week?


I'm not knocking roadwork all together, but the guys at Xyience (now Warriors Training Center), Coutures gym as well as Laimons the location near the Industrial district in Vegas, as well from what I've heard from a friend who trained at Master Toddys, all do anerobic conditioning. Roadwork shouldn't be ignored but making it your staple is going to kick your ass especially, if your fighting a guy who you have to go all out against.

As far as Fedor, if I remember correctly he trains using alot of Systema principles which automatically implies that his calisthenics, weight training, and plyrometrics are all stressing a huge amount of lactic acid threshold which Anaerobic activity is primary for.

Prime example, do a squat with your BW and take 40 seconds squatting down and 40 seconds coming up, moving slowly as possible.


Here we go again
my opinion is the ONLY way to train.
and my mediocre results are the BEST way to train.
why do people with the least experience have the least good stuff to say?

Most pros. run plenty. Most real fight trainers encourage this. If not make road work mandatory.
3 to 5 miles RUNS not jogs, and sprints hills etc. Some people do more.

college wrestling- its very common to run big runs in the am and sprints/hills stairs in the pm
sometimes both at once. We happened to do it 5 to 6x a week 10 miles a day takes about an hour.
some competitors friends I had ran less some did two x or three x runs a day .
Boxers do it too, most put in serious road work 5x a week or more.

anyone who says grappling or fighting is stop and go has not competed against anyone- worth a shit
go roll spar etc with someone who gives a shit, will kick your ass nonstop and you will see what I am talking about.

the truth about running longer runs is its good for giving the metabolism a boost, its a relatively easy skill for someone to do with out equipment or much training.keeping weight in check, keeping the body loose, and really for regrouping in your head.

anyone saying big runs are bad, is reading too much on the milo strength and conditioning news letters.



you did not just use sherdog as a reference.
get a clue dude.


lol, I'm not saying its the only way. I'm saying that anerobic condition should take precedence over aerobic because Anaerobic is what your doing the whole time your fighting. As far as roadwork goes, if you got at it for 30 minutes at a run, so 4-5 miles (which you pointed out as the distance) is all you need. I said 1 hour runs are bogus and don't contribute towards the overall goal, and yes I am speaking from experience, and recent experience too. Your a fighter not a marathon runner


Your Profile says Former College jock.... FORMER. Pike off bro, the info I'm spitting out comes directly from either A)ATT, B)GQ coaches I've met or trained with in the past, and C)Strength and condition coaches that still actively train, try new methods, and "reengineer" old ones as it were.

If your going to keep your god complex you can take your "glory days" of college and shove them up your ass.


I didn't mean to start any problem here... If people have good results with anaerobic trainings like the Hammer down endurance protocol, well good for them! I just didn't. I tried many things and I get better results with running, that's it!

Maybe there is true in both ways : aerobic training when you're not preparing for a fight (so you can do longer trainings, work on your skills longer for instance, that's the most important thing for me) and anaerobic training a few weeks before a fight. I'm just saying...

Did anybody here try different ways of running? Shorter runs? Longer runs? Frequency?


kmcnyc's posts in this thread are destroying you. they will continue to do so.

tap out son.


You didn't start anything. This is just boiling over.

To answer your question- I had the best results mixing the both of them. Runs of a couple miles done constantly, with sprints intermingled. Do 4 50 yard sprints, then 4 100 yarders, etc. Work yourself up to it. If you can run hills, do that too. It's tough as fuck but great for you.

I would mix them liberally.

Most trainers would say- run every morning. If I was prepping for a fight, that's likely what I would do. This way, you'll get a mix of all types that should keep you from getting winded.


You didnt start a problem, KMC just has a god stigma and think's his glory days still count for shit in today's. I'm going to start calling him Al Bundy,

As far as runs, I've heard alot of good stuff about trail running in the woods because it stresses alot coordination, if your around a beach then use the sand. Try to stay away from doing most of your roadwork on pavement for joint/shin health.

The intervals I use twice a week are a 1 min sprint, 3-4 min paced run, 1 min jog and repeat. Now as far as strides go, I know if your stride is too short you'll develop shin splints (developed them when I went thru basic training a while back) and if your doing it more than 2 times a week buy at least 2 pairs of shoes that are strictly for roadwork so that the low spots are consistent to running and not walking to eliminate any training deficiency/injuries that come up from having a screwed up peer of shoots.

(edited after Irish posted)

Apparently we got ran by coachs who used the same brown training clipboard.


Those two last answers helps a lot! Thanks guys!