T Nation

Running: How to Train for Longer Distances?


Basically right now im doing a push pull routine and running/swimming every weekday morning. Now Ive been doing alot of sprints like 10x40meter to 10x100 sprints. That brought my 2 mile down alot, now Im going to start getting ready for ruck marches and 5 mile runs. Any body know any track training schedules or something for the longer runs such as the 5 mile run?
right now ive been doing:
1 mile warm up
4x40 lunges
4x40 skips
4x100 build ups
4x100 sprints
then i do a couple miles more distance less speed oriented.

I would like to know from some runners especially track runners or military guys what you guys do for training and how to properly prepare for the 5 mile. (I have to at least be under 8 min per mile for the 5 miler run)

Tryna train smart, thanks for any info guys!


Each week:
1 tempo run (after warming up, 20 minutes at MAX effort, don't let up till it's over).
3 medium-distance runs (minimum). Try to include routes with hills.
1 long run (about 20-25% of your weekly running volume).

Each week add 10% to your weekly total volume. Every 4 weeks reduce total volume by 40% for the week, then back to business as usual the next.
This is a pretty basic running program. I used to do this while training for triathlons.


How much would be a medium- distance run for somebody who trains for 5k ?



This is really dependent on your running volume capacity. If you're just starting out then it might be shorter than the actual event, if you're an experienced runner it would probably be upward of that.
Say you run a total of x miles per week. You long day would be about .25x (maybe more). Depending on the number of medium days you run, they could be between .15x and .2x. The tempo run is for time rather than distance though so it's hard to add that into the calculation without knowing about how far you can get in 20 minutes.
About how many miles do you train per week?


At the moment I'm starting out from a scratch. So weekly miles are at 0. :wink:


Well in that case I would recommend getting out about 4-5 days a week and finding what your running capacity is like! See how many miles you're comfortable running at a time and weekly, and then you can add from there.


Thanks. What do you train for?


Nothing in particular. I lift weights now because I enjoy it. I used to compete in triathlons, cycling, running races, etc., but I lost my interest in endurance sports after a while.


Okay yea that sounds pretty easy to follow, its alot like swimming (when I swam) one distance day one technique/sprint day and the rest were a combo of everything. Ok and taper after every 4 weeks for a week.

Thanks alot!


when I ran distance for track I would incorporate hill sprints w/ a weight vest for speed and a lower time. dropped 50 seconds/1600 in the first couple weeks


[quote]Sharp4850 wrote:
Each week:
1 tempo run (after warming up, 20 minutes at MAX effort, don't let up till it's over).
3 medium-distance runs (minimum). Try to include routes with hills.
1 long run (about 20-25% of your weekly running volume).

For someone who doesn't run you need to better explain tempo running. Max Effort it may be, but not in the context of as fast as you can as long as you can. It depends from run to run.
If you're running two miles at tempo, aim for as fast as you can do THREE miles. It's working on moving your body at hypothetical race pace.

That being said, before doing any sort of speed work or fast running, build base. Spend one 4 to 6 weeks just running slowly and steadily, and increase each week or so. I'd also say aim for time not distance. If you set distances and start to break beforehand, then you'll be dragging for the remainder, to no benefit.

Sample Plan(for someone with basic running background)
Week 1: M:30 Min easy, T: 25 Min easy, W: 35-40Min easy, Th: 25 Min easy F: 30Min easy S:45 min(long day), Su:off

and slowly bring up your shorter days first, then longer days. Makes a world of difference.


For intervals, really look into a good program focused on what you want to compete in. If you're doing a 5k, 100m intervals and explosive sprints really won't give back maximum benefit. Invest in mile repeats, quarters on a track, tempo, fartlek, longer things.

I trained with Johnny Gray, the American 800m record holder, and he lived and died by longer intervals. Closing with a sprint doesn't mean shit if you're kicking from last place.



You're right, for some reason I was thinking of LT test running when I typed that.
I totally agree with aiming for time rather than distance for a great majority of runs.
Thanks for the input.


Back, are you training for ranger school? And what did your swim workouts look like while lowering your 2-mile? That's the only thing keeping me from a 300 APFT right now.


Yea im traainng for it just in case there might be a spot open after airborne, plus i got to run alot in airborne i guess.

For swimming, I just swim with a competitive swim team, since i was on a national team couple years ago i dont really worry about that. but this is basically my swim workout weekly:
Warm Up: 600 eeasy
2x 100 sprint
2x 50 sprint
6-10x200 pulling
20x100 kick

then main set (depending on the day):
Mon: distance 8x100,7x200,6x300,5x400,4x500,3x600..and on and on
Tuesday:10x 100 10x200 20x50
Wed:Technique 10x200 100 fast, 50 sprint, 50 drill

Warm down:
just swim at least a easy 300-600 it helps eliviate soreness

This is something what im doing now, but I do this with a competitive swim team. For someone that is just beginning swimming just cut the sets and yards in half.

And yea for the two mile I did alot of intreval, sprint, and mile sets (1 fast 1 easy 2 fast 1 easy etc.etc.)

@The Marathon Man
can you further explain mile repeats, quarters on a track etc. I have a track to my disposal every morning and kinda winging the workouts so it be nice to see some kind of proven and structured sets or something new.

And would you say doing intreval and mile repeats, wtc in the morning and doing the timed runs in the evening. or would that be too much training?


I think at first just stick to one a day, but eventually two a days are good.

For intervals, depending on the type of race you want to do, try and hit intervals at a little faster than you would want to run a race in. It'll make sense in a minute.
For example, if you wanted to run a 30 minute 5k(time used for convenience), you would try and hit intervals for, say, miles, at faster than you would do them in the race. If each mile in the race has to be 10 minutes, run 4 or 5 repeats of a mile, with 1/4 mile-1/2mile jog in between, at 9 minutes a mile. It teaches the body the faster pace.
With this kind of planning, the shorter the interval, the faster it should be in proportion to your goal race time. If you're running half mile repeats, go for 4 minutes or 3:45(8 minute mile paces).

If you'd like, post your goals for upcoming events or fitness in general, and I can write some workouts tailored to your goals.

But in essence track intervals are epushing your body to the lactic threshold limits, so as to push those limits further.
In terms of winging workouts, my coach loved symmetry.
10x150 (50m jog)
8x300 (100m jog)
10x150 (50mjog)
things like that, he loved to make everything symmetrical. Part of his logic-which may or may not have been flawed- was that all your 150s should be run the same. If he gave us a pace, we would hold that pace. If he had left us at the 300s and finished there, It would be hard to gauge how tired we were. But the second set of 150s would slow down, and allow him to decide when we were too beat to continue.


Well, I`ve been running 6 times per week for 45-55 mins. I can cover about 5km in 40 mins. Where I run it's all hills. How long would be my long day run? 25 per cent of 5x5km is 4.1 km ?!? Or is it 25 per cent from 6x5km????



Back, I know you want to do well at Ranger school and overall fitness is important, but focus on the activity you will be doing the most: rucking. The run is just one tiny portion of the overall physical assessment, as long as you can beat that 40 minute clock for the 5 miler, you'll do just fine. Nobody cares whether you came in 1st or 200th, as long as you beat the clock!

That being said, I'll tell you what I did. Hill sprints, FARTLEK's, interval sprints on a track and a "test" all out effort 5 miler every monday. Ran it in 31:30 at Ranger.

What I wished I had done more of: RUCK. period. I did a ruck once a week for six months prior and even though I was prepared, I wasn't. Getting used to 85-120 pound ruck on your back for 14-20 hours a day isn't easy. I'm not saying go overboard and shove that much weight in your ruck, but you should focus on 2-3 ruckmarches a week ranging from 35lbs-65lbs and rarely throw in anything above that. Should prepare you nicely.

Physically if you prepare well and keep in mind what you'll be doing the most of, focus on that area, you'll be good to go. Ranger school was challenging, but nothing you can't do. The mental aspect is what gets people. A lot of weak minds out there, so remember while you're doing all this physical toughening, that the mental aspect is just as important.

Have fun at jump school, it's chest candy and fun!

Take care!


repetitive hill/stair sprints :wink:) only pain tolerance is a limit!


Thanks for all the info guys. Im definetly adjusting my workout right now to work smarter and harder rather than just harder.

wdrinkwa: thanks alot for the info. Yea ive been stressing the run so much, mainly cuz im still gaining weight right now and am able to increase my pushup, pull-ups and situps but my runs been laggin so ive been trying to get it up to par again, focusing on that, totally forgot about rucking! I must have heard it a million times but damn i need to get on that! haha thanks alot man lots of good info! and yea honestly from what ive heard jump school sounds like fun, cant wait!