For those of you reading this wondering what on Earth a PJFT or PRMC is, the PRMC is the Potential Royal Marines course; the 3 day course anyone wanting to join the Marine has to attend and pass. Find out more in my Pass the PRMC ebook. The PJFT is the Pre Joining Fitness Test, something that didn’t exist when I joined but these days is a pre-requisite to attending a PRMC. The PJFT is essentially a buffer to stop people who will fail the PRMC on fitness before they are even put under pressure (mental and physical) on a PRMC.
In my day, a Naval Officer would look you up and down and ask if you can do any press-ups and pull-ups; as long as you seemed confident, you were loaded to a POC/PRMC. These days however, one of the requirements is to run 1.5miles in 10minutes on a treadmill. This may sound easy, but for many it’s a real stumbling block, especially if running isn’t your forte. The thing with running on a treadmill if you aren’t used to it, is practice. Specificity is something I talk about a lot; if you want to be good at something, train that thing. Don’t train chest press if you want to be good at press-ups, do press-ups! If you want to be good at running on a treadmill, train on a treadmill.
There are a few things that can help:
Run on the treadmill at a speed you think you can do the 1.5mile run at and count how many steps you take in a minute on one foot or the other. i.e. count how many times your right foot hits the floor in 1 minute. If it’s under 80, I recommend you try to shorten your step and therefore increase your cadence. In my Running Manual I describe how most professional runners are midfoot strikers rather than heel strikers. To be a midfoot striker you will naturally take shorter steps and thus have a higher cadence. Heel striking is actually our natural break (think about running downhill) so if you are hill striking you could be losing momentum with each step. Many pro runners have a cadence between 84-88. To speed yours up, you can get a metronome app on a smart phone and try to match it, or simply try to take shorter steps as you run on the treadmill.
Interval training is a great tool to not only increase fitness, but also gain confidence at running more quickly. For example, take the speed you want to be able to run your 1.5mile PJFT at. Add 1.0km/hr and run at that for 1min on 30seconds off (off can be stood on the sides of the treadmill or slow it to speed 8-10km/hr and jog). Repeat this 10 times so you have run for 10mins at that higher speed. Once you are happy with that, you can either increase that speed again (maybe add another 1.0km/hr) or you can give yourself less rest between minutes: 20seconds or even 15seconds.
Although my Pass the PRMC ebook is designed for passing the PRMC and the training programme is for the PRMC tests, the training programme could just as easily be for the PJFT. All you need to do is follow all the running training on a treadmill, thus making it specific and giving you practice and confidence at running as you will for the test.