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Ramp Up Your Running Program

Ramp Up Your Running Program

The Different Levels of Running

With the weather getting nicer around the country, people seeking to start a running program and getting motivated to do so. But motivation can quickly turn painful if you do TOO much TOO soon. Below are a few charts for you to build up to a 5K run/walk to a Marathon over the course of several weeks depending on your present ability. My personal rule for clients who request training plans for running for long races is to take your time and build up to nearly 25-30 miles a week before you really start concerning yourself with improving your performance in the long run like a half marathon or marathon. This alone can take anywhere from 10-15 weeks depending upon your present running level. The standard rule of ramping up your running is adding 10-15% of distance per week.

The first TEN weeks are designed for a beginning runner or one who is recovering from an injury as seen in the chart below:

Running Plan I - Build up to a 5K run!

Beginner Running Chart

People seeking to start an exercise plan and need to lose 20 lbs:(always start run workout with a quick 5:00 walk / light leg stretch). I highly recommend the RUN / WALK method as you are learning to run.

Each run workout is to be done THREE times a week:

Week 1 Walk 20-30 minutes / stretching entire body daily(monitor weight loss*)
Week 2 Run 1:00 / Walk 1-2:00 for 20-30 minutes
Week 3 Run 1:00 / Walk 1:00 for 30 minutes (listen body as injuries occur this week**)
Week 4 3 Sets of Run 1:30 / Walk 1:30 | 3 Sets of Run 2:00 / Walk 1:00
Week 5 3 Sets of Run 2:30 / Walk 1:00 | 3 Sets of Run 2:00 / Walk 30 seconds
Week 6 4 Sets of Run 3:00 / Walk 1:30
Week 7 Run 1 mile / try non-stop / walk 1 mile fast
Week 8 Run / walk combo 2.5 miles(from weeks 8-10 ᅡヨ try to run as much as you can)
Week 9 Run / walk combo 2.75 miles
Week 10 Run / walk combo 3 miles

Running Plan II - Intermediate Runners - Build up to a 10K run:

After starting a running plan, often people get injured after continuing past the 3 mile run point. Add some non impact aerobic options in the plan of the week to help alleviate future pains. Check out related running articles here.

Wk Mon Tues Weds Thurs Friday Sat
1 1-2 mile Bike or swim 1-2 mile Bike or swim 1-2 miles 1-2 miles
2 2-3 miles Bike or swim 2-3 miles Bike or swim 2-3 miles 2-3 miles
3 3 miles Bike or swim 3 miles 3 miles 3 miles 3 miles
4 2 miles 3 miles off 4 miles 4 miles 5 miles
5 2-3 miles 6 miles off 4-5 miles off 6 miles
6 3 miles 4 miles 5 miles off off 10 k

The following nine weeks will take you to a level where you can seriously start to train for a 10 miler, half marathon or marathon without risk of serious injury. Just climbing to this level of running could cause tendonitis and other joint pains due to the harshness of running on the body. (FACT - 30-60% of all runners get injured every year - Runner's World). It is NOT recommended to start Running Plan III until you can perform week six from the Running Plan II.

Wk Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 4 miles 5 miles off 3 miles 4 miles 6 miles off
2 5 miles 4 miles off 6 miles 4 miles 6 miles off
3 5 miles 4 miles off 6 miles 4 miles 6 miles off
4 6 miles 4 miles off 6 miles 4 miles 6 miles off
5 7 miles 4 miles off 6 miles 4 miles 7 miles off
6 8 miles 4 miles off 6 miles 4 miles 8 miles off
7 8 miles 4 miles off 7 miles off 9 miles off
8 8 miles 4 miles off 8 miles off 10 miles off
9 9 miles 4 miles off 8 miles off 10-13 miles
EVENT
 

*Work on speed and goal pace during above workout (minutes/mile).
** ON Tuesday and Friday add in leg workouts with short runs to total a 4  mile workout:

Option #1 Option #2 Option #3
Run 1 mile warmup
Repeat 8 times
Run 1/4 at goal pace
rest with 10 squats
and 10 lunges / leg
Run 1 mile cooldown / stretch
Run 1 mile at goal pace
Repeat 4 times
Run 1/2 mile at goal pace
rest with 20 squats
10 / lunges per leg
Run 1 mile cooldown
Run or bike 5 minutes
Repeat 4-6 times
Run or bike 5 minutes
Leg press - 10-20 reps
Wood chopper Squats 20
1/2 squats - 20
WC Lunges 10/leg
side step squats - 20

Once you have the foundation of running thirty miles per week under your belt, you are now ready to train at your goal mile time and distance for a faster marathon. Usually Saturday and Sunday make the best days for your longer run so Monday and Friday will be off days in order to recover and prepare. The chart below is a 12 week plan for a Marathon:

12 week running plan for better marathon performance - very advanced runners:

Wk Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 off 8 miles 5 miles 6 miles off 6 miles 6 miles
2 off 8 miles 6 miles 6 miles off 7 miles 7 miles
3 off 9 miles 6 miles 6 miles off 8 miles 8 miles
4 off 9 miles 6 miles 6 miles off 10 miles 6 miles
5 off 10 miles 6 miles 6 miles off 12 miles 6 miles
6 off 11 miles 6 miles 6 miles off 14 miles 6 miles
7 off 12 miles 6 miles 6 miles off 16 miles 6 miles
8 off 12 miles 6 miles 6 miles off 18 miles 6 miles
9 off 12 miles 6 miles 6 miles off 19 miles 6 miles
10 off 10 miles 6 miles 6 miles off 20 miles 6 miles
11 off 8 miles 6 miles 6 miles off 10 miles 6 miles
12 off 6 miles 6 miles off off 2 miles marathon

Goal Paces:

10:00 / mile = approx. 4.5 hours
9:00 / mile = approx. 4 hours
8:00 / mile = approx. 3.5 hours
7:00 / mile = approx. 3 hours
6:00 / mile = approx. 2.5 hours

These workouts are recommended running programs that have worked in the past for many people, but they may not be right for you. Check with your doctor prior to starting any exercise routine (especially running) or you may find yourself reading the articles in the StewSmith.com Archives about Lower Back or Knee Injuries.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at stew@stewsmith.com.

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