Wednesday, May 11, 2011

When Conditioning Takes Away from Time on the Mat

Let's get this one out of the way right now - there is no reason ever you should skip judo, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, grappling, whatever your sport is , so that you can do a weight-training, running or other conditioning workout. That's just plain stupid.

The whole purpose for your running and strength training is to get better at A SPORT so why would you not go to practice in that sport? That's kind of like skipping a job interview because you were taking a class to work on your interviewing skills.

Yesterday, Lex Fridman, who is very, very NOT stupid (check out his blog if you don't believe me) posted a comment about running.

Jim and I discussed this at length and I wrote a very long response in the comments section of the blog which somehow did not get saved. I think maybe my computer re-started to install updates while I was off taking pictures of the workout at Results Personal Training (awesome place, by the way).  I needed to get some pictures of different exercises for illustrations for "the book" and I may have run out the door without saving. )-:

ANYWAY ... I decided to post his comment and our answers here because I think Lex's point is one that a lot of people raise, which is how to maximize your conditioning without impacting your time on the mat.

Lex said that he had been running the last month and, with two mat sessions a day, he was really feeling it in the last several rounds of randori.

First of all ... if your running is interfering with your randori something is wrong. We don't know you, but we speculated that one of these may be true:
  1. You are running too soon before practice. Normally we space practices four hours or more apart. For example, when I was competing, I would get up at 5:30 a.m. (I still shudder at the memory), run, go to work, lift weights at noon and then go to judo at 7:00 or 8:00 p.m.  If you're in good condition, you should have recovered after a rest of several hours.
  2. You're doing too much in your running work out. The in-season training program I posted yesterday only includes a two-mile run (3 or 4 if you need to cut weight), three days a week. Three other days of the week, the program includes wind sprints. Personally, I would run six or eight miles some days at lunch but that is certainly not necessary and I know Jim never did that nor Ronda (she hates to run). I love running, and having a sedentary job as an engineer back then, it was nice to get some exercise in the middle of the day and clear my mind. HOWEVER, I never ran those six- or eight-mile runs on the days I had a lot of randori planned for the evening. During the in-season period, when you're doing a lot of randori, you really SHOULDN'T be doing a lot of running or super-hard conditioning. Not knowing you well, we kind of suspect that your problem is that you are running either too much or too hard. You don't need to run a four-minute mile or 40 wind sprints. That's for the out-of-season training.
  3. Maybe you just recently added running as part of your workout ? In that case, if you aren't used to it, it's just a matter of getting in better condition. Run slower or a shorter distance, say one mile, or fewer sprints. Gradually increase the pace and the distance.
 After we'd talked about this for a while, Jim called me back and said,
"You know, he could just run AFTER practice."

Uh, yeah.


Lex said...

Thanks for the great post. You know you've made it when Dr. AnnMaria knows who you are. I'm going to rub this in Will Dampier's face ;-)

I'll try your work out from the previous post and write a blog entry about it ;-)

I think this discussion about running actually applies to the concerns I've heard from others I train with. It extends beyond running. In fact, what was an even bigger problem for me was lifting. Squats, deadlifts, olympic lifts, military press, bench, etc or even a heavy kettlebell workout...

Your advice about spacing workouts is absolutely right. I think 3-5 hours is perfect, especially with a little nap in-between. The problem for me, that I didn't describe, wasn't so much physical, as in overtraining or muscles just being too warn out. It was/is mental. Like you, I'm an engineer, PhD, going into academia, and so basically all I do is research and train. It's work that wears me out, and puts that thought in my head of "Why are you doing this? Why are you training so hard? Don't you realize how silly your goal of winning some silly little tournament is?" I'm not sure why running takes me to that place. Perhaps it's the solitary aspect of it, or perhaps it is indeed because I push the pace too much.

Anyway, sorry for the long comment, and again thank you for the post. No matter what, I think you're very right that training right and for a long time is just too damn hard for most people. The harder I work, the more fully I admire your accomplishments and your Ronda's.

BJJ Judo said...

I started cracking up as soon as I read this...

First of all ... if your running is interfering with your randori something is wrong. We don't know you, but we speculated that one of these may be true:

1.You are running too soon before practice.

For those of you that dont know Lex he runs TOO practice (or at least he used to). I think she has you nailed Lex :)

Dr. AnnMaria said...

BJJ Judo - that is too funny!

Lex- Yes , I agree with you it's probably a bigger problem for people who do a lot of weight and all of the same points apply