Why do accomplished Runners do so poorly at MMA cardio?

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by -guerilla-, Apr 27, 2019.

  1. ChickenBrother

    ChickenBrother JCPENNEY $3.98 BELT

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    Bodyweight makes a huge difference for me, particularly after the first mile or so. Extra 10 lbs from doing squats and DL would increase my times by ~30 sec/mile.

    I've been running with a HR monitor for 20+ years and the data has been pretty consistent although pace has slowed. Sustainable pace went up from ~5:30 min/mile to probably >6:30 over the years over a 2-4 miles training run, but steady state HR has consistently been around 167 bpm. At race pace close to anaerobic threshold I'm around 175 bpm and that's been consistent for more than 20 years. My max HR in the 90's at age 21 pushing myself close to passing out, I could briefly hit 201 bpm. I used to run at least 2 - 3 times/week until 2 years ago and routinely maxed out @ 193 to 198 bpm at the end of my runs. As recently as Jan this year at age 44 I maxed 193 bpm at the end of 2 miles at race pace.
     
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  2. LoneLynx

    LoneLynx Purple Belt

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    My eland example wasn’t completely random, it was inspired by a book called The Old Way by Elizabeth Marshal Thomas. In the book she spends time with and studies hunter gatherer tribes in the Kalahari. In one of the early chapters she describes a traditional eland hunting method that involve simply outlasting the eland in a foot race. Elands don’t have the constitution for long distance running, they can run fast for short distances but eventually have to take a break and let their body temperature cool, if you chase them long enough eventually they’ll overheat and collapse. They could escape other predators like lions because they also run in short bursts, but humans with their endurance could often catch them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
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  3. ChickenBrother

    ChickenBrother JCPENNEY $3.98 BELT

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    The Tarahumara indigenous people of Mexico do the same in outrunning and hunting a deer, and I understand some native american tribes traditionally did the same. Even today there's an annual marathon in Wales with humans and horses competing against each other:



    Some years a human wins and others a horse wins. The horses are carrying a rider so not entirely a fair competition but illustrates just how good humans are at long distance running relative to wild animals.

    Even over shorter distances, I used to run with my healthy 2 yo labrador when I was a decent but low level HS cross-country runner. She'd keep up with me for one half mile lap around the block and then slog through a second lap before panting and being out of breath. I'd take her back home to drink water and flop down and rest, and I'd go back out alone and finish another 3 or 4 miles at the same pace.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
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  4. Ian Coe

    Ian Coe Silver Belt Professional Fighter

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    Yeah I can see why. When ring fit and no running, I did the bleep test when 21 and I got I think level 16 when I just couldn't get the leg turn over to keep up (also it is a skill lets face it that test). Breath was elevated but not gasping.
    I would routinely on a Thursday night (post AM squats 5x5 and 2000-2200) run a fast 3 ish miles (sub 18 min).
    I was pulling 20+ hours training a week and weighed 180-185 lbs.

    I started using a HR monitor in my mid 20s (so 2008) but then I was still ring fit (and about 187lbs), but started doing steady state runs due to the real world affecting the amount of ring and pad time I could get.
    Nowadays I run consistently and use a HR monitor to gauge exertion and fitness (pace).
    I also weigh nearly 200lbs and have a much higher volume of professional work. Also 36.

    I must admit, I don't do max out HR training. I regularly spiked into 170s during hill runs on a consistent 9% incline for 150-200m elevation gain....at that point I realise I'm not training to beast my time and route so slow the fuck down (and have another 7 miles on that route).

    edit to add; When I was on paternity leave from work I was upping my pace and running pretty much straight from getting up (what counts for sleep with a newborn). My pace was easily sub 7 min 45 per mile for 6 miles and HR sub 155 at times. Same BW, recovering from a pinged lower back (from hill running, specifically down hill Sunday and Squat Tuesday) so no lifting.
    It was surprising that was only 6 weeks ago and since being back at work my pace and HR are way down and up respectively.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  5. ChickenBrother

    ChickenBrother JCPENNEY $3.98 BELT

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    I hear you on the lack of sleep with a newborn.

    Makes sense that your HR was down and pace up when you weren't lifting. I've always lifted in conjunction with running and noticed I felt tighter and "pumped up" for a few days after lifting. This translated into my steady state HR being a few bpm higher on runs. I noticed the same effect during grappling competitions (although I didn't have the HR data to confirm). So I made it a point to not lift the week before a race or a grappling tournament and I felt more loose during competition. I did the same for the few boxing matches I had.

    I think running also induces specific adaptations from your cardio system. If I'm running less than once a week, my steady state HR is around 170 and I can hit mid to high 190's if I sprint redline it at the end of my run. But when I've been in good running shape, running >4 times/week, steady state HR goes down to around 161 (at slightly faster pace) and I can't max higher than 190 at the end. Curiously when I'm in good running shape I feel my legs give out before my cardio system does - my legs start feeling heavy, filling with lactic acid and just won't turnover fast enough to get my HR higher than 190 (which is well past my anaerobic threshold of around 180)

    A few other things that affect HR - I've found that when I'm sick or didn't get much sleep, my resting HR is elevated. Lying down resting in a healthy state, my HR is 50. But if I'm sick or pulled an all nighter, RHR is around 60. My RHR is also elevated around 10 bpm for 3 or 4 hours after my workout, even after cooling down.
     
  6. SmackerooJack

    SmackerooJack Prince of Dukes Double Yellow Card

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    I weigh ~200 and run 8 miles a day. I generally outlast everyone I roll with, even when I do the running before jiu-jitsu. It's also 111 where I live today, and running in that heat has made me a lot tougher than I was when I kept inside when it was hot and didn't like to run because it was hard.

    Can't say for MMA, I don't do MMA. But running has definitely helped me for BJJ. When I lose, it's not because I'm tired. That helps me learn more efficiently, so I think running is overall a good use of time for someone who is training martial arts.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  7. Grozer

    Grozer White Belt

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    MMA cardio carries over to running really well. I did nothing but roll for 6 months and then started running. i was able to keep running as long as I wanted, the only limitation is shins, feet, etc, not used to running.
    Definitely does not work the other way around. Had a buddy who ran 10ks daily and he could barely get through the warmup shrimping in bjj class.
     
  8. SmackerooJack

    SmackerooJack Prince of Dukes Double Yellow Card

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    That's wild. I believe it, but I wonder why. Are these runs challenging for him?
     
  9. ChickenBrother

    ChickenBrother JCPENNEY $3.98 BELT

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    That's like saying I can do pull ups for as long as I want, the only limitation is my arms and back get tired.

    If you're saying you could do sub 6:30 minute miles for more than 3 miles having only trained MMA cardio, that would be very impressive and I would buy your argument.

    But getting your legs and feet accustomed to impact on a hard surface is IMO the biggest adaptation your body has to make for distance running, NOT cardio as long as you're otherwise in good shape. In my case, if I've been doing other exercises but haven't run in a long time, I can easily do 1 or 2 miles at respectable pace, but my calves start going numb, my legs get pumped up, and I have to either slow down or build up over time again to do longer runs.

    Over very long distances like a marathon, the hardest part by far is getting your legs used to taking that pounding for hours. A respectable 4 hour marathon breaks down to 9:10 minute/mile pace or 6.5 mph, a very manageable jog for most people. But any hobbyist who's ran a marathon knows that after around 3 hours running, even if you're going very slowly, your legs, feet and shins are burning.
     
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  10. SandisLL

    SandisLL Blue Belt

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    There for grappling for example different muscles usually are more used than for running so good runner not always might be good wrestler or striker.
     
  11. flikerstance

    flikerstance floridaman Double Yellow Card

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    i agree with this but at one time running did help increase my grappling cardio but it was cause i wasnt that great inshape once you get to a certain level yeah it no longer helps i feel

    guys at sbg and att tell me that rowing machines work the very best for 1 tool as u can go fast with it or slow

    for anaerobic i love push sleds sprinting versaclimber
     
  12. Ian Coe

    Ian Coe Silver Belt Professional Fighter

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    Agreed. I always found when ring fit my legs were always the limiting factor for me. Could blast out a simple combo one kick, combo two kick etc up to ten and back down to 1 then change legs, but couldn't keep my legs turning over to exhaust my cardio capacity.
    Running hills at the moment it feels the other way around (especially after being off them for a few weeks).

    I've always lifted and trained. In fact my log which could deleted in 2006/7 for being more than 2 years old started off with lifting (and kick boxing, but we won't discuss those days) before I ventured into Muay Thai.
     
  13. Ian Coe

    Ian Coe Silver Belt Professional Fighter

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    Not to quote you again but;

    I've only run a single marathon (last year when 35 and easily over 200 lbs) but I can attest to the above.
    Unfortunately for me my training runs were by myself and around 7 min 40 for 6/7 milers and 8 min 30 for my 15-16 milers (HR sub 160). My marathon proper was with the wife, 6 weeks pregnant, who hadn't run more than 13 miles before (and that was a 15 mile route).
    Even by the end, based on distance, the legs were achy and CV not 'really' taxed.
    Then again, it took 5 hours and 50 minutes and I was on track for 3 hr 30 if dropped a bit of time in the latter 8-9 miles.
     
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  14. Ian Coe

    Ian Coe Silver Belt Professional Fighter

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    There's a bit of gear of gear I wish I had access to when younger/enough room to put one now.
     
  15. -guerilla-

    -guerilla- Founder of the Louisville fight club est..1993

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    All thats great

    Not as great as grappling

    But great
     
  16. ChickenBrother

    ChickenBrother JCPENNEY $3.98 BELT

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    For me, sprinting hills or stairs is hands down the most taxing exercise to maintain HR past anaerobic threshold. It's one of few exercises I've done (other than flat sprinting) where I can sustain HR over ~185 until my legs give out. Versaclimber is tough too but the lack of repetitive impact makes it less taxing for me. In principle rowing is better - if your form is good enough to go balls out without gassing in 2 minutes like I do. It's basically repetitive deadlifts so probably tops for pure cardio. Supposedly some Olympic rowers can maintain close to max HR for >1 minute which is incredible.

    Same. Did my only marathon years ago at 28 around 165 lbs in good shape for 5K/10K with longest training run for the 3 months prior being 6 miles. I thought 7:30 min/miles were a joke and was shooting for 3:15 marathon - was on pace for that up to halfway point before reality set in. I couldn't feel my legs after around 20 miles and finished 3:49 but last few miles were pure hell. Got humbled and passed by fat slow runners chugging along at 8:30 min/miles, who had done proper long slow distance training to build up to marathon distance.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
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  17. ocean size

    ocean size Black Belt

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    Just because runners don't have grappling cardio doesn't mean running cant help a grapplers cardio.
     
  18. KnightTemplar

    KnightTemplar Ebony Belt Platinum Member

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    I've been doing LISS for about five months. Emphasis on the Slow and Steady part. I was on holiday for a couple of weeks and wanted to try something new, so substituted hill sprints. Although they were tough, the fitness I'd built up through months of LISS meant I was able to keep my pace up to a reasonable level and got a great workout.

    The downside was shin splints. I felt OK during the sprints, but half an hour after stopping I was limping around the house. Specificity is king.
     
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  19. ChickenBrother

    ChickenBrother JCPENNEY $3.98 BELT

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    I got bad shin splints when I first started running and I think it's common when you suddenly increase the repeated impact on your legs, as you would if you did hill sprints for the first time, for more than a few days in a row.

    Common remedy is be sure to stretch shins (by leaning against wall while turning top of foot toward ground and rolling over tops of toes) and calves really well before and after runs. I'd also recommend the most cushioned shoes you can find, which reduces the impact and helped me.

    Alternately and somewhat counterintuitively, you could try running barefoot or in minimalist shoes, which I also tried. You will find that running in regular running shoes causes you to strike with your heel first, which increases the shock and creates the need for cushioning. Running barefoot, you can't do this without tearing your feet apart, so you naturally run on the balls of your feet with a shorter stride (and a little slower pace). It works your calves more but reduces impact on your shins because you don't have shock going straight up through your heels.
     
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  20. Laza cds mma

    Laza cds mma Blue Belt

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    Didn't Fedor always run like 10 miles a day , he never got tired during his fights.
     

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