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Ask Stew: Running Weekends

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Out of all the emails I receive, the most common ones are definitely about running. This includes how to progress, how to get faster, how to run longer without stopping, and how to avoid injury. All of these topics are common issues we either have or have had over the years with running. Whether you are a sprinter trying to run a "long distance" 1.5 mile timed run, or you are a beginner to fitness and trying to run your first mile non-stop, these common issues will never go away. Here is a unique question about running while only having a limited time to train during the week / weekends:

Stew, I read a lot about your workouts for fitness preparation. My question is, with my wife and my work & family schedule Monday thru Friday, the only time that I can really dedicate to running is the weekend (Saturday & Sunday). I am training to enter the police academy and I have about 3.5 to 4 months to prepare. The standards as far as running 300 meter run in 62.1 seconds and 1.5 mile run in 13.15. Is it possible to achieve these standards if I only can dedicate time to running on the weekends?

Brandon - Great question. YES, you can, but you may not have that great of a foundation for the daily runs required at your police academy. This could lead to injuries. However, if you are not overweight, have good running form, and are not susceptible to lower extremity injuries, your chances are better at being able to get through the runs at your academy. Focus on your pace to reach both goals when you run. Check out this running article: Need for Speed – do what you can.

It is unlikely you will be running 20+ miles per week at your academy, but you may run daily even if just going to and from different training evolutions. So is daily running necessary? No, BUT if you can get in a few days during the week of even 15 minutes of running (before work or after work) it will help with the running foundation more. With the long days of summer (sunlight from 5am-9am) in most places of the U.S., this is the perfect time to get a little extra credit running under your belt. Just consider it building a base of cardio that will allow you to keep the miles short but fast.

I find that if I take too many days away from cardio training (run, bike, swim, etc.) it is like I am starting all over again. You can take a week off of strength training and typically come back stronger. But if you take a week off from running, (for me) it is like I have never run before.

It is possible to get through your training program with running only a few days a week, but your risk future injury if you have other issues you are dealing with (weight, poor running form, etc.).

Here are some more articles that can help:

Learn how to Roam Roll to help with post running / leg PT soreness
Foam Roller – How to Use a Foam Roller (Shins, ITB, Legs, Hips)
Running Form – Find a Way That Works For You
Stretch Well / Work the Core too
A fun running article – You Might Be a Runner If…

Good luck and thanks for serving your community.
Stew

Related Topics

Stew Smith Fitness Running and Cardio

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Contributor

Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on Military.com's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

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