The image of a boxer bouncing through the shadows and fog at the break of dawn is synonymous with the sport. Traditional roadwork is standard for any fighter who has any intention of being able to go the distance. While typical roadwork is a fundamental part of training, there are a few other options that a fighter can employ to give him the ability to last round after round.
One of the more basic additions to your common running program is sprinting. Adding in intervals and short bursts of all-out sprinting into the regular pace of your roadwork routine better prepares you for the ups and downs you will face in the ring. A fight is seldom fought at a steady, consistent pace and intensity level. That's why it's better to mix up the methodical pace of your run with unpredictable and intense sprints periodically throughout. Interval training also isn't just about incorporating sprints into a run. A fantastic adaptation on an interval routine is incorporating natural body movements periodically. For instance, after every three minutes of running, stop and do a natural body movement exercise; like push-ups, squat jumps, forward lunges or nearly any type of high-intensity exercise. This helps vary the intensity, adds cardiovascular demands and mixes up the attack on your system.
Another twist on the classic approach to jogging is doing an about-face. Because so much of his arsenal and attack relied on his backward defensive movement, Muhammad Ali was a big proponent of running backwards. Even if you are a forward-motion, aggressive fighter, there will be times when you'll be forced to give ground and retreat a little. If you've conditioned yourself to take a few backward steps on the road, it will help if you have to face the same circumstances in the ring. Running backwards increases your dexterity, works different muscle groups, is more difficult on your cardiovascular system and muscular strength and requires more coordination. You've probably seen fighters who can't fight backing-up and you don't want to be one of them.
You can also add in some cardiovascular fitness equipment to mix up your attack and provide variety. Mini trampolines, bikes, ellipticals, rowing machines; all provide fantastic cardiovascular benefits and are highly beneficial supplements to your running routine.
Finally, choose determination over distance. Running at a faster pace is more important than running long distances. Cross-country treks will not adequately prepare you for the ebb and flow of boxing. You have to mix up your routine to more accurately mimic what you encounter in the ring. When it comes to cardiovascular training for boxing, variety and intensity will win out over being able to run a marathon. Slow and steady may win the race, but fast and intentional is victorious in battle.
As a fighter, once you gas out everything else starts to fall apart from there. When fatigue creeps in, your technique starts to fall apart, your mind starts to focus on just trying to get through the minutes of each round and your punch output diminishes. It is one of the most vulnerable feelings a fighter can face in the ring, so incorporate some variety into your cardio routine. Hit the road and hit it hard so you won't hit the wall.