Tactical Fitness with Stew Smith: Warming up to the PFT

Marine run

Hey Stew,

My name is Ian. I'm enlisting in the USMC and I'm trying to get ready for the three mile PFT run. I've run it before in 22:00 but I can't consistently. How can I get it so that I'm more comfortable running three miles? I'm not worried about speed yet, just having my body comfortable with the three mile run.


Running is all about progressing logically and not just jumping into long distance running where you may have left off years ago. Many first-time runners do too much, too soon, too fast, run a 10 miler and wonder why they get injured. So take your current running miles per week and add 10-15% to the distance or total time you are spending each week. 

This is a typical progression BUT you have to listen to your body. Stretch well, learn how to use a foam roller, self-massage, and rest when needed. Build up your 1.5 – 2 mile runs, and soon that will grow into a fast three mile timed run.

See related articles on running foundation, running faster, and recovering from running:

Running Foundation – Prepare for USMC Running Test

Foam Roller – How to Use a Foam Roller (Shins, ITB, Legs, Hips)

Running Fast – PFT Running Workout Article

Stew Smith works as a presenter / editorial board with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).  There are also over 800 articles on Military.com Fitness Forum focusing 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

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