T Nation

Slow Training or Slow Running Straw Man

You always hear guys saying that long-slow distance running is bad, and that HIIT is better.

Here is my question: Of all of you who train hard, who in the hell does “slow training”? Do you know anyone good who does?

I ask because this straw man surfaced in a recent post on this forum. Some guy whose last name I can’t spell quoted someone saying: “there is no benefit to doing long slow training of any kind.”

Who does long slow training?

Certainly not fighters - at least none I’ve trained with in several disciplines.

I’m getting more than a little tired at the “slow training” or “aerobics” straw man.

Fighter who talk about running or doing road work aren’t doing power walking or watching Richard Simmons’ videos. Most are at least in 160 HR range. And they stay there for a long time. Most are doing sprints in between longer bouts of sustained effort but slower (but not slow!) running.

Oh, incidentally, elevating your heart rate and SUSTAINING that elevated heart rate is a fantastic way to condition yourself.

After all, while a round might only be five minutes, the fight could last from 15 to 25. And during that time, you might NEVER stop moving. (Unlike in a HIIT workout where you rest in between sets.)

I think the whole straw man is just a basic marketing ploy to make it look as if someone has a “new” idea.

If you want to show that you’re better than what else is out there, accurately represent what is out there. Stop trying to make us believe it’s either “Sweating to the Oldies” or “HIIT.”

It’s cause people are like…you know…idiots.

I’ve thought about this as well, everytime i hear a FIGHTER talk about road work, its usually sprints, jogging, shadowboxing, with some calisthenics mixed in.

Long distance cardio has a great benefit in the fortifying of your mind alone. I dont think it needs to be an everyday thing.

personally i found that what works also is to teach your body to recover faster (slow your heart rate and calm down) between bouts.

so do a 5min round at a higher heart rate 170 or so

rest for the 1 minute period and focus on breathing and calming yourself. there are plenty of meditative techniques to try out. Personally i like using key words to get back to a pre-set mindstate.

And then repeat for as many rounds as you’re fighting for.

Eventually cut that down to 30s rest and you’re good to go.

But I agree, for instance I love using tabata work but I’ve never once had to fight for 20s, rest 10s and fight for 20s. there are periods that slow down but never a complete stop rest type period.

a fight is continual stress. and few things stress your body as dynamically as running and fighting.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Here is my question: Of all of you who train hard, who in the hell does “slow training”? Do you know anyone good who does?

I ask because this straw man surfaced in a recent post on this forum. Some guy whose last name I can’t spell quoted someone saying: “there is no benefit to doing long slow training of any kind.”[/quote]

I don’t think it’s all that difficult to spell. C-o-l-u-c-c-i. Single L, double C. Most people switch those around. :wink:

To put the quote in full context: You’re referring to my interview with Alwyn Cosgrove, where Alwyn was talking about aerobic training.

(This is an excerpt of that actual section of the book.)
http://alwyncosgrove.com/ModShow/ShowPage/44265

[i]No Aerobic Training

Aerobic training is pretty much a total waste of time. There is nothing in any martial art that is done aerobically �?? it is done at high intensity, explosively and at full speed �?? usually without oxygen. Martial arts take place at the limits of the anaerobic threshold �?? there is no benefit to doing long slow training of any kind.[/i]

I know that the thought-process is still out there “multi-mile jogs are great for getting in shape. It helps to build my ‘wind’ and stamina.”

I see this faulty pattern of thinking occur with guys training in dojos, guys competing at lower (local) levels, as well as non-martial artists, so I don’t think it’s at all accurate to call it a straw man.

If you see it as a marketing gimmick, that’s up to you. It’s really just talking about inefficient training methods.

I can tell you for a fact that aerobic does do something. In fights i am rarely winded or i recover quickly even after intense boughts whereas the other guy is usually out of breath. Remember it’s your lungs and heart that become more efficient too.
If you’re willing to lift weights so your CNS and muscle improve, why not do the same but for heart and lungs?
Your body has two basic systems: aerobic and anaerobic. You should train both at equal intensities. You want to be well rounded? Then work both systems.

I find for me personally, I have better wind/stamina when I’m doing 1-2 3-mile runs a week. In that week I’m also mixing in anaerobic conditioning and my actual MA classes; and I keep my rest periods short (60 seconds) when lifting. So I’m training both.

It all boils down to preference, really. If you don’t like to run/jog, then don’t do it. I enjoy it, changes things up for me and I do keep a brisk pace when I run.

Xen touched on something, too, in that these forms of conditioning are all great for you mentally. Pushing yourself through a specific barrier can only serve to help you in class or in a tournament/fight.

Hell it just teaches you how to breathe when you’re fatigued too. that alone is worth putting in a few miles a week.

Wow, this is awkward a thread started about how nobody actually thinks you should do long runs and such. Then a bunch of guys are like “actually…” lol. I myself am shifting more into runs as good weather has now arrived.
Unless I misread the posts.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
I know that the thought-process is still out there “multi-mile jogs are great for getting in shape. It helps to build my ‘wind’ and stamina.”

I see this faulty pattern of thinking occur with guys training in dojos, guys competing at lower (local) levels, as well as non-martial artists, so I don’t think it’s at all accurate to call it a straw man.

If you see it as a marketing gimmick, that’s up to you. It’s really just talking about inefficient training methods.[/quote]

Just read what you wrote - more straw men. “Lower level” guys, etc.

Dude, I personally know how many TOP (as in UFC champions and competitors) train. Running has a place in most of their training.

But, again, no one is talking about “aerobics” or “slow running” here. Where are these guys out running 12 minute mile jogs? I sure don’t know any.

Long runs suck. Completely pointless.

Ask every boxer who’s ever lived, past or present.

Wait a second…

also, excellent way to pick up milfs.

takes off shirt and jogs while they go pick up their kids

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:

Fighter who talk about running or doing road work aren’t doing power walking or watching Richard Simmons’ videos. Most are at least in 160 HR range. And they stay there for a long time. Most are doing sprints in between longer bouts of sustained effort but slower (but not slow!) running.
[/quote]

You’re playing semantics here, specifically the “slower (but not slow!)” bit. There’s no rule that says that if you’re training at 160 bpm you’re not running slowly. There’s no rule that says that if you’re running a 7 min mile you’re not running slowly.

“slow” is relative to the individual. If you’re running at less than, I dunno, 90%? maaaaaybe 80%? of your top speed then you’re jogging/running slowly, whatever you wanna call it. And if you’re running for any real kind of distance or time, then you wont be keeping up with 90% of your best speed.

^overall purpose/point of the thread still rings true though.

what professional fighter does NOT do some form of long distance cardio at the very least to keep their weight down?

[quote]Xen Nova wrote:
^overall purpose/point of the thread still rings true though.

what professional fighter does NOT do some form of long distance cardio at the very least to keep their weight down?[/quote]

It’s possibel that I’m misunderstanding him here, but I DONT think that the point of the thread was “come on, every fighter does it.” His point was “why is this even discussed when no top pro fighter is doing anything slow”

Two points.

  1. Everyone who is anyone does steady state work. Do we really think those guys are just fools who don’t know any better? Are we to believe that people who don’t train let alone compete in MMA know better? If so, why? Because they said so? Because they self-published a book or wrote an Internet article?

  2. Straw man. No one is doing “slow runs” or “aerobics.” If you want to say, “Don’t do Richard Simmons jogs,” fine. But no one who advocates running ever said that.

Bottom line: If you think what people are currently doing is wrong, it’s on you to: 1) Prove why it’s wrong and; 2) Do so without creating straw men. That is, accurately represent what is being done.

FWIW, today I did a round of Tabatas, then 10 minutes of “slow” biking (heart rate was in 160 to 170 range and RPMs were over 100, so it sure as hell didn’t seem slow to me) and then another round of Tabatas.

So I think both steady state and HIIT type workouts are valuable.

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
Long runs suck. Completely pointless.

Ask every boxer who’s ever lived, past or present.

Wait a second…[/quote]

Those guys were successful IN SPITE of not because of their training.

How do I know this, you ask?

I just do.

Likewise, Bill Gates is a billionaire IN SPITE of his lack of having any business sense.

i think what he means by ‘slow’ is the girl you see walking on a treadmill that can still talk on her cell phone

or homeboy on the recumbent bike that is riding and reading the newspaper.

a fighter has a different mindset. most successful fighters are the kind of guy that you have to tone down when they train or they’ll go overboard and kill themself in one session and be unable to move the next day.

so when they have a “slow jog/run” they’re really moving and while its not 100% sprint they’re still putting some serious work in.

So the way that its often described in articles as “slow running” is a negative image of something that actually has positive effects

and thats what i have taken from the thread.

i do believe the authors are correct that there is

an overemphasis on it
more specific ways to develop conditioning
and that it is too often reccomended

but to say you don’t need to ever do it is just silly.

bill gates having business sense or those boxers successful in spite of their training is all debatable. And just subject of conjecture.

Until there is a successful fighter who DOESN’T then i think the debate it is based purely in fantasy and what works on paper. I’ll go with experience in my own personal training over any paper trainer.

I bought into the whole “grappling/fighting is stop and go.” Then I trained with some wrestlers. Anyone who thinks someone won’t be on your ass for five minute straight minutes hasn’t been around the block and talks out of his ass. Just grapple with some wrestlers for five minutes and then talk to me about all of the “frequent bouts of inactivity.”

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
FightinIrish26 wrote:
Long runs suck. Completely pointless.

Ask every boxer who’s ever lived, past or present.

Wait a second…

Those guys were successful IN SPITE of not because of their training.

How do I know this, you ask?

I just do.

Likewise, Bill Gates is a billionaire IN SPITE of his lack of having any business sense. [/quote]

Hahahhha.

I was waiting to see if someone would say that.

It truly drives me insane when people say that people did it IN SPITE of their training.

In truth, not everyone is a Muhammud Ali or Floyd Mayweather- aka, gifted natural athlete.

Motherfuckers like Micky Ward or Ricky Hatton, who lack(ed) alot of natural talent, made up for it by outtraining their opponents…

and yes, long runs were part of that.

Call me crazy, but if long distance runs sucked that much, I’m sure they’d have stopped doing them.

But until Floyd “Mr. I run ten miles a day when in training” Mayweather gets gassed during a fight and decides to do barbell complexes 24/7, then maybe I’ll lend it some credibility.

Until then…

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
FightinIrish26 wrote:
until Floyd “Mr. I run ten miles a day when in training” Mayweather gets gassed during a fight and decides to do barbell complexes 24/7, then maybe I’ll lend it some credibility.

Until then…[/quote]

Well Played