Run Fight Run

Train your way to a victim-proof physique with this intense, operator-inspired workout from the new SEAL-authored book “100 Deadly Skills.”

By Eric Velazquez, NSCA-CSCS | November 2, 2015

For special forces operators, being dangerous it’s a job requirement. For these clandestine warriors, the typical day at the office is marked by close quarters skirmishes, sprints to cover and hand-to-hand tussles with less-than-cooperative insurgents. But contrary to popular belief, their ranks aren’t populated solely by alpha males – operators come in all shapes and sizes. Proper training is the decisive factor in determining their survivability in the field. And while they tend to be tight-lipped on tactical prep, their physical prep is something of an open book. Literally.

In “100 Deadly Skills,” Clint Emerson outlines some of the life-saving tactics – such as escaping from a trunk and theft-proofing your hotel room – that he used over his 20-year career as a Navy SEAL. Among them was a workout he called “Run Fight Run,” an intense, unforgiving routine that replicates real-world scenarios that he has encountered as a “Violent Nomad.”

[VIOLENT NOMAD: A term used to describe special operators’ disregard for international boarders and their bias for swift, brutal action.]

“Repeatedly lifting a pair of dumbbells doesn’t translate into the ability to defeat an assailant in hand-to-hand combat after an arduous chase over rugged terrain,” he says. “So Violent Nomad training prizes real-world combat and self-defense techniques over muscle-building reps.”

Emerson’s “Run Fight Run” isn’t dissimilar from some CrossFit workouts or home-based circuits – just a smidge more violent. With frantic bouts of strikes mixed in with long sprints, this workout builds serious endurance. It demands a high power output over time periods that may seem unconventional to most gym rats but highly relevant to operators or anyone in a self-defense situation. Even though it is short, you can expect to burn hundreds of calories, both during and after this sweat session.

The only equipment required – beyond a set of gloves to protect your knuckles – is a heavy bag. Don’t have one? Emerson would highly recommend getting your hands on one.

“Designed for striking, it is versatile enough to be used for squats, deadlifts, carrying and presses,” he says. “It can also be thrown and struck on the ground, which is where most fights end up.”

Ready to infuse a little violence into your next workout?

Exercise/Activity Time/Distance
Hanging Heavy Bag Strikes 1 Minute
Sprint 1/2 Mile
Grounded Heavy Bag Strikes 1 Minute
Sprint 1/2 Mile
Heavy Bag Bear Hug Carry 1 Minute
Sprint 1/2 Mile

Do not rest between exercises. Rest 1-2 minutes after completing the entire circuit. Work up to 2-3 total circuits.

Clint Emerson, retired Navy SEAL, spent 20 years conducting special ops all over the world while attached to SEAL Team Three, the National Security Agency (NSA) and Seal Team Six. 

Excerpted from 100 DEADLY SKILLS: The SEAL Operative's Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation by Clint Emerson. Copyright © 2015 by Clint Emerson. Used by permission of Touchstone, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.




About the Author

Eric Velazquez, NSCA-CPT

Eric Velazquez, NSCA-CPT

Eric Velazquez, CSCS, is a veteran health and fitness writer and editor. Over the years, he has carved a niche int he realm of participatory fitness journalism, often putting himself through the paces of the programs he writes about. Notably, he trained for 12 weeks with professional boxers, spent six weeks immersed in the world of CrossFit and went hand-to-hand with (and against) mixed martial artists from Spike TV's The Ultimate Fighter. Velazquez lives in Southern California with his wife and two daughters.