T Nation

Endurance Training

Does anybody know how to train endurance for running, fast? I’m going into the army soon and need to train my endurance up.

Do you have an endurance fitness base at all? If not the most effective way to train it, is simply to practice running the distance you need to run and improve it. If you have an endurance base and want to get faster, there are two things you can do. First off, this is assuming you are training 5-6 times a week for endurance. Designate 1 or 2 days for pure speed work. Do a couple 10 s sprints, 20 s sprints and 30 second sprints. Jog at a slow pace (or walk) between sprints for 2 - 3 minutes. This will develop pure speed. The more important and, in the short term, more effective thing is doing intervals. Determine the distance and pace you will have to maintain for the distance. If this is for a 1-2 mile trial, do 400 repeats. You need to do the repeats at a pace which is 20% faster than the pace for your trial. Jog between the intervals at a comfortable pace (don’t walk) for 2 times the work interval. For longer trials, do 800 repeats. The same principal applies, take the pace for a 5 mi run, for example, and increase the pace by 20 % and that is what you run the 800s at. The rest interval (jogging) should be equal to the work interval. This is a pretty basic approach, but it will be effective without being too complicated. Remember only do the sprint or interval workouts 2 times per week. You can do sprints on Tue and Intervals on Wed with Thur and Fri easy runs and then intervals on Sat and Sun longer easy run. Don’t do two interval days back to back. You want to get fit, but the body needs to recuperate to become faster. On the easy days, run at a comfortable pace to enable active recovery. Hope this help. Good luck.

Also, try, when working out, to have little to no rest between sets; if your going intense (positive failure) and using no rest you’ll get in shape quick.

Joe, I’m in the military as well, and I know exactly your concern. You should be a little worried…

You didn’t specify how you’re going into the army, your age, current condition, etc… and we would need to know these things if you really want some specific help. Are you a young guy going to the military academy? Are you enlisting and going straight to boot camp? ROTC? What’s the deal? Post some more info and I’ll help you out.

I was in the Marine Corps. When I joined I couldn’t run long distance at all. I was in the delayed entry program and had several months to prepare for boot camp. My recruiter met with me every other day and had me run 1 1/2 miles. I lost 14 pounds and I was in excellent shape. But you’re in the Amy, er, Army, which has no comaraderie, so you’re on your own. The only thing you are to your Army recruiter is a star on his board. So, you’re going to have to train on your own which is much harder. I was in top shape for boot camp because whenever I stopped putting 110% of my effort into the run, I had a recruiter screaming at me and embarrasing me in the public park where we met for the run every other day.

But I wouldn’t worry, the Army is co-ed. I’m sure you’ll be able to keep up with the girls in Basic. Sorry, I simply couldn’t resist busting your balls for joining the Amy, er, Army. Semper Fidelis, Jason Baran

Thanks for your replies, guys. I’m going into the army because its compulsory conscription here in my country. I would seriously like to enjoy my life, but it seems I have to move to another country to do that. I’m 20 this year, and I used to weightlift 1 and a half years back. I’m starting again this last few weeks. My weight is probably very low, around 140lbs(I’ve been slacking). If I don’t get into shape quickly, I will have to go in early and go through a physical training phase. If I do, I would be going in a few months later.

Okay Joe, given that the hooyah didn’t give you any real advice, here’s what you do…

I would still like some more specifics… ie how fast are you now in a standard test, let’s say the 2 mile run? And even more important I need to know exactly how long you have before you enter into the army. (Give me the worst case scenario and we’ll use that.) I also don’t know what country you’re from or how they structure the physical training in their army.

So, I’ll try to help you out the best I can with the limited knowledge of you that I have. We’ll use “marine corps standards” as our guidelines, and I’m going to assume that you have 12 weeks to get ready.

5 mile runs, three times per week is the norm for marines. So our goal will be to maximize performance on this 5 mile run. First you need to establish a “goal pace.” For hypothetical reasons I’ll assume a 7 minute mile pace would be acceptable, and will certainly get you through the initial stages of your training. This would give you a 35 minute total time for a five mile run. I’m also going to assume you have the objective of gaining some lean body mass for both aesthetic reasons and so you’ll be able to keep up with the bodyweight exercises (ie push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, dips…). You don’t want to go into the army looking like a total wuss with no upper body strength, and if you focus completely on running that’s what would happen. So as I see it you have two alternate and sometimes conflicting goals here. You’ll also need to build up your tolerance to running very frequently, as you’ll probably be running almost every day in your initial training. So get yourself a watch to time your intervals and adhere to the training guidelines below.

Here’s you running schedule… PERFORM EACH OF THESE RUNNING WORKOUTS ONLY ONCE PER WEEK UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, PREFERABLY ON SUNDAY, WHICH WILL BE AS FAR AWAY FROM YOUR WEIGHT TRAINING WORKOUTS AS POSSIBLE. TAKE AS MUCH REST AS YOU NEED IN BETWEEN INTERVALS TO ALLOW FULL RECOVERY. IE YOU SHOULDN’T BE TIRED WHEN YOU RESUME THE NEXT “SET” OF RUNNING.

Week 1 and Week 2:
-1/2 mile runs at target pace (3:30) ten times.


Week 3 and Week 4:
-3/4 mile runs at target pace (5:15) 6 times.


Week 5 and Week 6:
-1 mile runs at target pace (7 minutes) 5 times.


Week 7 and Week 8:
-3 miles at target pace (21 minutes). PERFORM THIS TWICE PER WEEK. (Wednesday and Sunday would be good.)


Week 9 and Week 10:
-4 miles at target pace (28 minutes). PERFORM THIS TWICE PER WEEK. (Wednesday and Sunday)


Week 11 and Week 12:
-5 miles at target pace (35 minutes). PERFORM THIS TWICE PER WEEK. (Wednesday and Sunday)

For weight training, work out four times per week, following any sensible periodized program. However, ensure that your volume and intensity for the lower body are adjusted accordingly to account for all the running you’ll be doing. Try these “prescriptions.” Don’t worry that there is no direct isolation arm work. Concentrate on the big lifts for now. Once you get some muscle on you, add in alternate exercises to reflect your weaknesses.

Sunday: running workout


Monday: shoulders (military press), scapula depression (chin ups) Volume: 10 sets


Tuesday: hip dominant legs (deadlift) Volume: 6 sets


Wednesday: Off, or running workout in the latter stages


Thursday: chest (bench press), scapula retraction (rows) Volume: 10 sets


Friday: quad dominant legs (squat) Volume: 6 sets


Saturday: off

Keep me posted on how you do!