By MSG (Ret.) Howard “Mad Max” Mullen

Running is the Fitness Core

In Special Operations Forces, running is the backbone of an operator’s fitness program. Running comes to the point that it becomes second nature—a part of an operator’s lifestyle. Physical training (PT) is conducted five days per week, regardless of weather conditions—rain, shine, sleet, or snow. PT is conducted in both a garrison or field environment—even on the top of an aircraft carrier deck.

Leading the Way

Special Operations Forces are out in the elements leading the way. In every elite unit, running is necessary for complete cardiovascular endurance. There are an unlimited number of running programs and related exercises that you can perform, such as jogging, aerobics, wind sprints, terrain runs, interval training, running stairs or stadium bleachers. There is a number of good resistance training equipment on the market such as sprint parachutes. Running can be performed both outdoors and indoors on a treadmill or gym track.

Beginning a Running Program

If you are looking to form a good conditioning base (starting point) to build up and progress to the next level of fitness, I suggest you begin by jogging a half-mile (.80 km) a day for time, and then increase your running to a short term goal of two miles (3.21 km) in 14 minutes. The U.S. Army running standard is 8–9 minute miles in plus or minus 30 seconds. So here is a sample run workout program you can try out. Remember: before starting any workout regime, always consult with a physician, warm up, and stretch your muscles well.

Sample Running Program

Here is running workout that you can try at your own pace. Don’t burn yourself out on the first run, save some energy for the following day’s smoke session. OK, let’s get started on your first seven-day program and don’t forget to check back next week for Week Two. This should smoke your bags. Good luck and see you next week at the finish line.

Run and Sprint:

Day One: 1-mile run (1.6 km), 5 minute rest, then 4 x 100 meter sprints with 30 seconds rest between sprints.

Day Two: 5-mile run (8 km), 2.5 minute rest, then 4 x 200 meter sprints with 30 seconds rest between sprints.

Day Three: 400 meter run and 2 minute rest, then 8 x 200 meter sprints with 1 minute rest between each.

Day Four: 2-mile run.

Day Five: 1-mile run for time.

Day Six: .5-mile jog (light run), then .5-mile run (faster pace).

Day Seven: 8 x 100 meter sprints with 30 seconds rest between each.

If you have a workout you would like to share, feel free to post it in the comment section. Until next time—Live hard or die trying.

Yours, the Mad Max

Next week: Days 8–14

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