Attack Your Two-Mile - Workouts That Work
Service members are always trying to improve something that they are doing.
We’re determined and am sure, if we aren’t, there has been an NCO or Officer who has helped bring that quality out of us.
Running is a great sport. Far too many people sell themselves short when it comes to running.
I am not fast enough. I don’t have enough talent. Well, I never have been a good runner. Who is telling you that?
No one can overpower you or what you can do as a runner, but you. I bring this up because these are common statements I continually here from Soldiers.
I have a platoon sergeant who is on my team who told me the other day, “Sir, I am starting to like this running thing”.
He is 51 years old and is running like he is 20. This guy wants it and that is the difference. He is making the choice to get better.
He wasn’t enjoying himself in the early stages of the training I had him doing, but now,having spent weeks being forced to run more than he was used to, is enjoying running far more.
He not only is enjoying it, but is getting faster because of it. The 2-mile run is the standard in the Army. The Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps have their own run distances, whether 2 miles, 5 miles or more. The two-mile section of our PT test is a big hurdle for some people.
It is a hurdle that can be conquered.
My encouragement to you is this. Don’t underestimate yourself. The biggest hurdle in becoming a better runner and seeing real results is learning to be consistent. It doesn’t mean run 2 miles one day, take 5 days off, run a mile, take a day off.
What I mean is making a plan and holding yourself accountable to seeing it through. I want to attach a few key workouts that you can start doing on a weekly basis that will make a significant difference in your two-mile run.
The results from these workouts will not be seen initially but will pay dividends over time provided you take them seriously enough.
That being said, I won’t lie to you and say it is going to be easy, because early on in your build up a relaxed 2-mile run, let alone an all-out 2-mile, like during your PT test, will seem like your coming under attack by the enemy.
You’ll be sweating and your heart rate will be through the roof. Give it time, be patient and I promise you, results will show. You will drop weight, the pace you once were struggling with will feel like an afterthought.
#1 1-mile warm up, 2 2-mile run on the track sprinting the straightaways, jogging the corners, 1-mile cool down
This is a pretty simple workout that I have my deployment team doing. You don’t have to sprint all-out on the straightaways. I normally would, but early on you can just do what we, in the running world, call ‘strides’. You gradually build into the sprint where your at top speed for only about the last 20 meters.
It is similar to a fartlek workout where your speeding up and slowing down. The key is to learn to accelerate when you are fatigued and teaching your body not to stay in a relaxed state. You will not get any rest in the two-mile run during your PT test so take this seriously.
It will be hard at first and quite possibly, you may not be able to finish it. You may have to walk early on, but as long as your attempting it and you stick with it over time, you will see results.
You have to be patient, the more you practice this the faster your sprinting will be and the less rest you will be giving yourself. This is the secret, maintaining intensity but lessening your rest period. Keep in mind that you will be running much faster than your two-mile pace and that is key.
#2 2-mile warm up, 5, 100 meter sprints all-out, 2-2-lap jog recovery, 5, 100 meter sprints all-out, 1-mile cool down
This workout may not seem like a lot and overall, it is a short session but real results come from it. The most important thing about this workout is that you are running at top end speed, far faster than your goal two-mile race pace.
I am not a sprinter but sprints, especially for a shorter race like the two-mile, can drastically assist you in dropping significant time off your run time. The idea is to give very little rest between the 100 meter repetitions.
You have to condition your body to adapt to running at or far above the pace you want to hold for your two-mile PT test.
The first few weeks of doing this workout you can give yourself full rest, but as you get fitter what do you think the idea is? Decreasing the rest periods. The first couple weeks you may need 2 minutes rest between each 100 meter repetition, four weeks down the road you may be ready to go after 30 seconds.
Fitness comes that quick but don’t expect it to be that easy early on in your build up. One of the non-commissioned officers on my deployment team had a beautiful quote the other morning while doing this.
I feel like a dump truck racing a bunch of ferrari’s
I am looking forward to seeing him improve as we move into future workouts.
#3 1-mile warm up, 15x1min/hard, 1 minute easy, 1-mile cool down.
The construction of this workout is simple. You pick up the pace for a minute, jog a minute and repeat 15 times, 1-mile cool down. The whole idea with fartlek running is teaching your body to speed up when it is tired, to get out of your set pace.
In addition, when you think you have nothing left and you are forced to speed up despite that feeling, you are now learning the secret of running fast for longer period of time. Fast runners are fast because they have taught themselves to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up.
You teach your body to do this by running fast, running easy will not bring forth this type of physiological adaptation. You are recruiting more muscle fibers by training fast.
The more that are being used, the more economical or effective you will be running.
The importance of consistency cannot be stressed enough. These workouts will not take effect until 21 days down the road. It takes your body approximately 21 days to adapt to any stress you place on it. What do I mean? The benefits of the workouts you do today won’t truly manifest until weeks down the road.
Lastly, I want to feel you in on a little secret that I hardly see any Soldiers doing that would take at least 20 seconds off your two-mile run time without doing much at all. Go out to your local running store and get a pair of road racing flats to run your two-mile run in.
Soldiers! Listen to me, drop the training shoes on your two-mile run!
Soldiers are out doing their PT test with training shoes on their feet. Why does this work? Training shoes weigh anywhere from 9 to 14 ounces (some heavier), whereas a pair of racing flats can weight as little as 4 ounces. You do the math.
You can run much faster with a pair of lighter shoes on your feet so go out and get a pair of racing flats. If you do not have a running speciality shop near your area go online and get a pair.
Runningwarehouse.com is a great place to order racing flats. Click on ‘road racing’ on the left sidebar and this will take you to a page filled with road racing flats.
Now stick to the plan and go drop some time off your two-mile run time. Keep hustling.
About Stew Smith
Stew Smith CSCS is a former Navy SEAL Fitness author specializing in military and law enforcement fitness books, ebooks, DVDs, and programming. Check out the new Military Fitness Center for the latest in fitness video, articles, ebooks and products to assist you with getting physically ready for military life.