A Simple and Effective Running Program for Tactical Athletes

November 26, 2017

   If you’re a soldier, security contractor, policeman or firefighter you have to endure some type of physical fitness test. A common feature of these tests is a timed run. Contractors will usually do 1.5 miles, Army, 2 miles, Marines, 3 miles. This usually means 3-4 days a week you’ll hit the road and put in anywhere from 2-6 miles each day. This isn’t a huge amount of mileage over the week when compared to your competitive runners, but it still adds up. In my opinion this is overkill. Especially when you need time and energy to put into your strength training and job duties.

 

   What follows is a minimalist approach to not just passing, but doing well on your required runs. Let it be known, however, that doing well on a 2-mile run doesn’t mean you possess the necessary conditioning to do your job well. That’s a lengthy article in itself. The purpose of this post is to help you get the best run time as fast as possible, and with the least amount of mileage.

First, a little background.

 

   I hate running. I mean I really hate it. I don't understand why anyone would voluntarily run any distance longer than a mile, unless they’re being chased by something. And even then, if you're going to die tired you might as well die tired from fighting.

 

   I've never considered myself a good runner either. Possibly why I dislike it so much. As a solider I would usually run a 14-minute 2 mile. If we were back in garrison for a while and doing PT on a regular basis I could get it down to 13:30. In my 6 years as a soldier I think I ran a sub 13-minute 2 miler, twice.

 

   When I became a contractor I had to run 1.5 miles as part of the physical fitness test. At first I would do what I always did; run 3-4 days a week for a distance of 1.5-2.5 miles. That worked alright, but I really didn’t like the toll all that mileage put on my strength. It’s really hard to keep your squat and deadlift up when you have to run that frequently. I did a little reading on how some professional runners would break up their competition run into shorter intervals and then run those intervals at or near the desired pace for the full event. I decided to take this method and loosely apply it to my situation.

An overview of the plan.

 

Run twice a week with each run spaced as evenly apart as possible.

Run 1 – Several intervals equaling the tested distance. Nearly complete rest between intervals

Run 2 – The tested distance

 

That’s it. Really, that’s it.

The plan in action.

 

Let’s say you’re a contractor who has to run 1.5 miles. Here’s a 5-week breakdown of what your running program would look like.

 

 

WEEK 1

Monday

¼ mile “sprints” x 6, ~3-5 minute rest periods

Thursday

1.5 mile run as fast as possible

WEEK 2

Monday

1/3 mile “sprints” x 5, ~3-5 minutes rest

Thursday

1.5 mile run as fast as possible

WEEK 3

Monday

½ mile run x 4, ~3-5 minutes rest

Thursday

1.5 mile run as fast as possible

WEEK 4

Monday

¾ mile run x 2, ~3-5 minutes rest

Thursday

1.5 mile run as fast as possible

WEEK 5

Monday

1 mile run x 2, ~5 minutes rest

Thursday

1.5 mile run as fast as possible

 

   The first time I used this method it took my run time from about 12:30, down to 10 minutes and I only went to week 4 of the program. Not bad considering I had recently gone from 180 to 195 pounds and only ran 8 times in a 4 week period, totaling 12 miles. During this period I still maintained 3 days a week of heavy barbell training with little interference affect. I was also 31 years old when I did this.

 

   I used this method several more times over a couple of years with similar results. I gained another 10 pounds and managed to keep the run time around 10:30.

   This program can be repeated as many times as you want. Just keep track of your times and try to beat them.

 

   At some point you may wish to or need to add an additional conditioning day. Keeping with the minimalist approach I would recommend pulling a lightly loaded sled or pushing a prowler for about ¼ - ½ mile. Keep track of your time and the weight on the prowler or sled.

3-day program

 

 

WEEK 1

Monday

¼ mile “sprints” x 6, ~3-5 minutes rest

Wednesday

¼ - ½ mile sled pull, rest as needed

Saturday

1.5 mile run as fast as possible

WEEK 2

Monday

1/3 mile “sprints” x 5, ~3-5 minutes rest

Wednesday

¼ - ½ mile sled pull, rest as needed

Saturday

1.5 mile run as fast as possible

WEEK 3

Monday

½ mile run x 4, ~3-5 minutes rest

Wednesday

¼ - ½ mile sled pull, rest as needed

Saturday

1.5 mile run as fast as possible

WEEK 4

Monday

¾ mile run x 2, ~3-5 minutes rest

Wednesday

¼ - ½ mile sled pull, rest as needed

Saturday

1.5 mile run as fast as possible

WEEK 5

Monday

1 mile run x 2, ~5 minutes rest

Wednesday

¼ - ½ mile sled pull, rest as needed

Saturday

1.5 mile run as fast as possible

   If you don’t have access to a sled or prowler, a rower or assault bike can be useful. I like to use work/rest periods of 15 seconds fast and 45 seconds slow for a total of 10-15 intervals. If you get good enough that 15 intervals is no longer very challenging, shift the work/rest periods to 20 seconds fast and 40 seconds slow.

 

About the Author:

 

Scott is a Starting Strength Coach, USA Powerlifting Coach, Westside Barbell Strength Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer, and competitive powerlifter.

 

Scott’s best competition lifts are a 540 lb. squat, 392 lb. bench press, and 606 lb. deadlift in the 231 lb. men’s open weight class.

 

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Featured Posts

How Much Do You Want It?

November 20, 2017

1/2
Please reload

Recent Posts

November 28, 2018

November 28, 2018

November 24, 2017

November 24, 2017

November 20, 2017

Please reload

Archive
Please reload

Search By Tags