Sunday, April 10, 2011

Training smart: Conditioning for what you need to do on the mat, Part 1

For those of you who have asked how the book is coming, here are a couple of pages from the second chapter, the title of which is "Technique doesn't always beat strength"

Training smart means conditioning for what you need to do on the mat

There are two parts to training smart in that sentence “on the mat” and “what YOU need to do”. One is training for the specific abilities needed to be successful, like explosive bursts of strength and the ability to last at a rate of high intensity for eight minutes. The other is your personal style.

Some of the judo coaches we knew back in Japan said that running was good for catching a train but for judo you need to just do judo.  We respectfully disagree. Running sprints is excellent for developing power in your legs. Think of when you pivot into a throw, bend then straighten and toss your opponent through the air. Those are the exact muscles developed in sprints. Sprinting uphill is even better. The great thing about uphill sprints is that you can do them anywhere any time. If you don’t have the ability to train with challenging partners twice a day, every day, which, let’s face it, most of us don’t have that option, you can still get up before work and challenge yourself to beat your times running ten sprints up that hill. You can do sprints if your hand is injured and you can’t grip, or if you’ve torn ligaments in your elbow.  Training smart means never letting an opportunity to improve slip by you.

Should you run distances? That depends. Running two miles, which is more than the average match length, even with overtime, is probably the maximum you need to do. To maximize the benefit for your conditioning on the mat, you need to run that mile or two at a good pace, not just a comfortable jog. As far as longer distances, that depends on you. If you have to cut hard to make weight, then you’ll need to run more miles just to get the weight off.  Some competitors like to jog for longer distances; they find it relaxing. If you have to make weight and you enjoy running six miles on the trails through the woods or a jog through the park while listening to your favorite music on your iPod, then, by all means do it. That is a good way to make weight and reduce stress at the same time. Being too mentally stressed is one reason athletes might “choke” in a competition.

HOWEVER, don’t make the mistake about substituting that run for one of the practices when you do uphill sprints or run a hard mile. Training smart means training for the intensity level you will need in competition.

 The clock never lies

Keep a record of your running workouts that includes times, dates, distance and anything else you feel like writing. It’s so easy to lie to yourself and say you’ve been training harder and getting better. Some how, at the end of the week, that mile that it took you twelve minutes to run turns into two miles, and the five sprints you ran on Thursday you remember being eight, no ten, wasn’t it? The clock never lies. If you see in your record book that your time for running a mile has not gotten any better over the past year, that should tell you something. We’ll say this time and again in this book. Training smart means keeping records.

I'm trying to get the first three chapters revised enough to send on to a couple of kind people who offered to read them and give their input. I even skipped practice today to work on it. We are making progress. Jim couldn't think of any sarcastic comments to make about the latest revision. I can tell that pained him.

It's such a beautiful day, though, I am being forced to take a break and walk to the Promenade.


deangraziosi said...

That sounds a perfect match. It is very true, surviving in business is a judo of life for me. Nice article.
dean graziosi

Jason Struck, CSCS RKC said...

As a judoka, BJJ competitor and strength coach it is SO refreshing to hear someone of your influence state the TRUTH.

The international mat is less than 16m. Why you running?

Dr. AnnMaria said...

The international mat is less than 16 m. Why you running? I literally laughed out loud at that!

Margot Sathay, who was a great judo player, once told me that most of her running for judo was running to catch the train that took her to practice.

I DID run a lot, but partly it was just because I liked to run.