Running is definitely a good complementary activity to any Martial Art. However, there are a few ways in which we can make the most out of it and get better results in combat sport performance. In order to achieve this, we need to think about how to recreate the situation of a fight when running.

When we fight, or when we do a session with the pads, the rhythm is not constant. In fact, it changes often. There are moments in which we wait, think, defend and study; others in which we attack with everything we have. A fluctuating pace where the heart rate is changing rapidly and continuously.

This is why, instead of running at a gentle and steady pace, we can implement a few challenging habits to our runs. Here is a list of tricks we can adapt to upgrade a normal run to a combat sport one:

1. Sprints

Sprinting is one of the most effective techniques to simulate the situation of a fight. Sprints will alter your heart rate a lot and will push you beyond your limits. There are several different ways of doing sprints such as repeats and strides. This interval training challenges and improves your breath resistance. Sprints are tough, but the benefits they bring are huge. Try it yourself and you will experience how much they affect your performance.

2. Elevation Climb

Including an elevation climb while running will not only help us develop strength in our legs, it will increase our power and also affect our endurance. It definitely increases our skills of working in an aerobic phase. Much more than a normal run, sprinting helps us manage our energy level better. From a psychological point of view it’s great because both our body and our mind are pushed to face bigger efforts than usual. Something I do and find quite useful is to combine the previous point with this one. I find a nice steep hill and do a series of sprints.

3. Varying Elevation Patterns

Not only running uphill, but also changing elevation patterns often will benefit our combat sport performance. Running on a terrain where we will face several uphill and downhill, in different orders, will produce a constant change in our heart rate. This is a great way to recreate the situation of a fight. Sometimes we speed up keeping a quick pace and sometimes we slow down preserving energy.

4. Running Against The Wind

The first times I used to run in Brighton, I hated it because of the wind. I had never experienced such a strong wind before. After some time though, I realised that running against the wind is similar to running uphill. It requires a bigger effort than a normal run. It feels like you are running against an invisible power and something is pulling you back. I have noticed that my performance improves when I’m running on a non-windy day. This kind of training leads us to develop more power and endurance.

These are 4 simple ways to upgrade your Combat Sport performance when running. As I mentioned earlier, an additional possibility is to combine some of these options. For example, if you are combining sprints and uphill, why not try it also against the wind. This will be exhausting as much as rewarding. Try these little tricks out a few times and tell me if you notice any improvement in your performance!