Running Prior to Navy Boot Camp

An airman runs through a puddle. U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Carlin Leslie

Preparing for the running prior to attending Navy boot camp goes without saying — you should be doing it, and often. This is especially true if your future goals potentially include units that require follow-on training programs with tougher standards. You need to be well prepared BEFORE you start day one at Boot Camp. Here is a very common question I receive, this time from a future Navy member who has a few months to prepare his body for boot camp and beyond:

Now I'm running 1.5 miles. Got 12:52. How long to get it down to 11:00? During the 8 weeks at navy boot camp, assuming I went in with an 11:00 time, what do you estimate my time would be at the end? Do you have any running plans for the 1.5 run?

Going to boot camp being able to easily get 11 minutes or under is a good goal, but you can also set your standards higher, as the human body can do much more. My recommendation is to build up your speed progressively and work on your goal pace time for the next month. See this related article on dropping mile pace: Drop Mile Pace from 8-9 minute mile pace to 7-8 minute mile pace.

I do have 1.5 mile running plans, but they are pretty challenging and may require you to do the above 4-5 week plan before jumping into this one: 1.5-2 mile PFT Running Plan. Do not think boot camp is going to get you in shape or faster. You need to be in shape before boot camp. People who rely on the military to "whip them in shape" are setting themselves up for failure, injury do to overuse, and may be unable to complete the training. Overuse injuries are common with people who show up deconditioned to run. What is overuse to you may be a warmup to others in your Boot Camp class.

Here are some other ideas for you to build up your running. Give yourself time doing this running training. If you have never run before, this can take several months. If you have a decent foundation of running 4-5 times a week, it may only take 4-6 weeks to reach your goals.

Beginner Running Plan – This article can get you started with a moderate level (not for those who do not run already) and build you up to longer distances and a faster pace.

Becoming a Stronger Runner – Written by former Navy HM and now Orthopedist Mike Cassatt and creator of the Special Ops Running Plan (not for beginners)

Also consider swimming. Swimming will be tested during boot camp. Not knowing how to swim while in the Navy is potentially dangerous and will cause more time spent in the pool with instructors than you will have time for while attending boot camp. You do not have to be a competitive swimmer, just competent in the water and know how to tread.

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