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Stew’s Favorites: Solstice Running Plan

Leg exercise.

As many of the readers know, I use a method of periodization that evolves with the seasons. Some have called it the Solstice Running Plan, while I tend to just like changing my workouts every quarter (12–13 weeks) so not to burn out with any one type of exercise. For instance, each change of season brings in something new and gradually fades something out:

Spring (March — May): Progressive running build up as well as shift from winter weights to higher rep calisthenics, taper from longer swimming workouts, with shift in speed /​ agility training.

Summer (June — September): Peak build up of miles running, high rep calisthenics, high speed on swimming, only bodyweight exercise to include fireman carries, crawls, log PT, etc…(Almost no weights — focus is PFT testing scores)

Fall (September — November): Drop high rep calisthenics, introduce weight training, increase swimming distance /​ rucking, reduce running mileage over 12 weeks and focus on faster paced shorter runs.

Winter (November — February): Nearly all weight training with only heavy calisthenics (pullups /​ dips /​ fireman carries) arranged in heavy weight, fewer reps workouts. Reduced running, more non impact cardio options like swimming, rowing, biking, etc. Still some running — fast paced short runs.

During the Spring /​ Fall transitions when we are at our equinox in the calendar system, we also are at what we call the 50–50 zone. We even out the workouts with a mix of half weights, half calisthenics, moderate cardio methods depending on what your focus is (swim /​ run or ruck testing). See what we did today!

50–50 Workout:

Warm up Run 10 minutes
(Push, Pull, Leg, Full (weights /​ cals))

Repeat 5 times:
Push exercise (weights) — 10–15 reps
Pushups — max 1 min
Pullups — max reps
Pulling exercise (weights) 10–15 reps
Squats — 1 minute
Squats or Leg Press 9weights) 10–15 reps
Hang Clean 10–15
Burpees 1 min
Cardio of your choice 5 minutes

Run 1.5 –2 miles timed
or Swim 500m any stroke timed

This has been a method of training I have been using and writing about for over 15 years now. Taking this method of training into my mid-​​forties has kept me healthy, strong, in good cardio condition — enough to still hang with 20 yr old Spec Ops candidates preparing for various selection programs. Try changing your program up every 12 weeks or so and see how you enjoy the results. Many of my books feature this to include Maximum Fitness, Navy SEAL Weight Training Workout, and my new book out next month Tactical Fitness.

Related Topics

Stew Smith Tactical Fitness Military Workouts Swimming Weight Training Running and Cardio

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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's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

Latest Fitness Books: Navy SEAL Weight Training and Tactical Fitness