Yes running sucks, and the only way to get better at it is to keep on running. You don’t need to run 10 miles a day each day to get better and you don’t need to run daily to get better. Start where you can and again, set realistic goals. Keep in mind that during boot camp, there are no PT runs that are farther than three miles. And your runs will begin at 1.5 miles and will be a steady pace and will increase to 3 miles. At the end of boot camp you do one run that is about 4 miles or so, but this is a battalion sized run and it is very slow.
If you struggle with 1 mile, then don’t worry about longer distances for now until you perfect one mile. A good run pace for boot camp is to be able to run 30 minutes non-stop REGARDLESS of distance. Boot camp runs are based off of the “30“ minute run time. Once you can run 30 minutes non stop with ease, you then can increase your time and try running set distances such as 2, 3 miles.
Run outside whenever you can preferably on hard pavement. The PFT/IST wont be on a treadmill, so any gains made on the treadmill can’t be compared to the real deal. Just try to run every other day, switch it up, some days longer distances, some days try to run short distances but faster, find what works for you and master it. And remember, if you run 1.5 miles in 10 minutes, this does not mean you will run 3 miles in 20 minutes. It is very hard to maintain the same pace for 3 miles. If you want a 3 mile time for yourself, the only way to do this is to actually run 3 miles and not by doubling your IST run time. An average USMC 3 mile run PFT time is between 20-22 minutes. Those times should be your first goal.
One of the most common questions asked in regards to running is this: How far should I be able to run before boot camp? The answer is simple. Once you can run 3 miles in under 22 minutes or so, you are free to run as far as you want. The longer distances you can run, the more confident you’ll get.
I understand the main focus before boot camp is being able to run 1.5 miles, but you need to understand that in the Marines and during boot camp you are tested on 3 mile runs and not 1.5 miles. So it wouldn’t hurt you to take some PFT’s while in the DEP.
I also understand we are all tough guys/gals. But if you are injured while running or injure your body and can’t run, it is very important you don’t try to be a macho man and exercise through the pain. Being hurt is a part of life, even in the Marines. If you have a legit injury, you want to let it heal because if you run on it, you are taking a huge risk in further injuring yourself and possibly doing permanent damage which will result in you not making it into the Marines. Yes, be tough, but also be smart. And I’m not talking about typical soreness and aches and pains. I’m talking about things such as sprained knees or ankles. Injuries like these must be healed and must be respected.
And as always, do not forget to drink plenty of water, especially the days before you go on your runs. This includes during cold and inclement weather.
Important tips about running:
- Be sure to wear good running shoes.
- Don’t forget to hydrate, even when it is cold and or rainy.
- Try to include uphill runs when possible.
- There is no need to run long distances or for hours.This doesn’t mean to avoid doing these things, but just understand they are not necessary.
- Mix in some sprints of no more than 100 yards into your routine.
- Mix in some indian runs when possible.
- Don’t forget to rest your body to allow for it to recover.
- Don’t run with added weights. Not necessary and not wise.
- Average 3 mile run time for Marines is about 20-22 minutes. This should be your first goal and once met, you can move on.
- Be sure to breathe properly and have good run form. Be relaxed when running. Breathe in through your nose and out of your mouth.
- If you are getting shin splints, let them heal to avoid severe damage such as stress fractures.
- If you are a beginner runner, be patient and do not over do it when starting your routine.
Be sure to read through the comments for some advice and tips about running from your peers. And if you have anything to add, feel free to do so.