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Running - getting better

Running, unlike lifting, isn't a tough one to grasp. However, if you are really trying to cut some time, I might have a few tips for you.

I ran track for a few years. I wasn't the fastest guy that has come through here I am sure, but I have run sub-5 minute miles and done pretty well on my 5k runs. I went to the state championships for the 800 meter run and the 4x800 meter. Qualifications finished.

Run more. Obvious. This is what most people do. However, run in different environments. Strengthening the tiny muscles all around the foot and ankle are great and could possibly prevent injuries in the future. Different environments mean asphalt roads, tracks if you can, the treadmill if you must, grass or even sand at times. They are all very different and will subtly work you differently.

Run longer. Throw in longer runs sometimes. I assume that many people will run 1.5 miles every time and be done. While training for the PRT is good, keep in mind that you WILL be going to OCS and you most likely WILL be running farther than 1.5 miles at a time. Getting your body comfortable with running a longer distance, say a 5k (3.2 miles), makes it easier to run 1.5 miles. If you can run 3 miles at 7 minute pace, you can bet that running 1.5 miles at 6:30 pace will feel a lot easier.

Run faster. Occasionally throwing in some faster but shorter runs can help your body get used to those speeds, which can really help your time. This is probably more necessary for people who are close to the cutoff times, but can help out those who are close to getting max scores as well (though they might not need the help). Much like running longer, running faster over time makes it easier to run at that speed. Here is an example: I normally run my miles at 7 minute pace. I can do this no problem and forever. If I occasionally run one mile at 6:15 pace, it will slowly get easier. The first time, it might feel like I am sprinting the whole thing. But eventually, it will feel normal, and you can keep going.

Get off the treadmill. Treadmills are great for us lazy folks. However, they do have a weakness; you are not pushing yourself forward so much as keeping yourself in place. Why does this matter? Well, if you train exclusively on a treadmill, you are not working your body in quite the same way. Also, it is important to learn to gauge your speed. In my prime, I was able to note when my speed dropped from a 5:15 pace to a 5:17 pace during training. However, after not running for years, I had no idea what a 7 minute mile pace felt like in comparison to an 8 minute mile pace. Real life doesn't have LED lights telling you how fast you are running and when you slow down.

Work those abs. Hopefully, you should be doing this anyway, but the core is very important when you are running. When you are not winded, form isn't a huge deal, but when you are exhausted (and I am sure we all will be in OCS), it gets sloppy, wasting energy. A stronger core keeps you more vertical which can keep your pace more fluid. When tired, you may notice your head flapping around or feel like it is harder to keep it upright. This slows you down.

Have good form. I'm a form snob when it comes to running. I sometimes see other people and can't help but laugh. You ever watch girls (usually the girly girls) running? Yeah, that isn't good form. Arms should move straight forward, not flap around crazily or daintily. As is natural, your opposite arm should move in conjunction with your leg (I sure hope everyone is doing this). Finally, use a stride that feels comfortable. We have a tendency when getting tired to lengthen our stride, thinking it is speeding us up. It isn't. Sprinters achieve maximum speed by churning their legs faster, not lengthening their stride. Think of your legs as a piston in a car. The more pumps, the faster you go. This isn't to say slam your feet into the ground, either. If you can, have a runner help you.

So, to recap, run more, longer, faster and outside occasionally. If you really want to, work on your form a little and get those abs stronger. I hope this helps even one person get a little better!


Well-Known Member
I'm stuck in the slump where I'm waiting until I turn 25 next year and I get to slow down 45 seconds on my run for a good-low. Tough life.


Garmin Forerunner 305 will tell you the pace in real life along with other details.


Maybe I should just focus on the minimum standards then. Danielsw25 how do you judge your stride and tempo while running?


I wouldn't be worried if I could run that fast, that's a 7:45/mile pace not prt pace, I should be more specific next time


Now with even more awesome!
I've been a distance runner since high school, and I've been amazed at how much better I've gotten since I bought a pair of Fivefingers KSO's. They take a little getting used to because they work a lot of muscles you don't stress in regular shoes, but they really work. I alternate my training days between them and my Adidas and I have really noticed a difference in speed, form, and sheer size of my calves.