How to Make the Fall Transition from Long Runs to a Shorter, Faster Pace

Army soldiers participate in a commemorative run.
U.S. Army soldiers, 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, participate in a commemorative run during the 236th U.S. Army birthday celebration at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq, June 14, 2011. (Pfc. Ryan Hallgarth/U.S. Army photo)

Every year for the past 20 years, I have been arranging workouts so that every quarter (or season) has a different focus from the previous quarter. For instance, this summer was high mileage (30-40/week) of running and swimming and higher repetition of calisthenics.

Now we transition out of the higher miles and go into shorter but faster intervals. Here is a workout we did as we cut the miles by nearly 40% to 50% but increased the speed by nearly one to two minutes per mile. It is still leg day, mixed with running and swimming.

PFT running prep:

Warmup with squat pyramid: One to 10 squats with a 25-meter jog/dynamic stretches in between.

Run one mile fast; push your max pace.

Repeat for 20 minutes: hills, intervals, bleachers, shuttle runs or sprints of a quarter- to half-mile distances with minimal rest (one minute per set max)

Run one mile of intervals: 100 meters fast/50 meters easy (nonstop)

Spec ops prep swimming:

Swim 500 meters without fins warmup

Swim with fins 1,500 meters (side or free)

Tread water five minutes: no hands with fins or not/stretch

Take five minutes and do all dynamic stretches done prior to running in chest-deep water.

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. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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