Something that seems to crop up again and again is whether or not pre-PRMC it is worth training in boots. It’s a tough one. If the question is whether or not I trained in boots prior to my PRMC and then prior to RM training after securing my place; the answer is yes, I did. That doesn’t mean that everyone should; in fact, I’d advise everyone to be more cautious than simply buying a pair of boots and setting off on runs. I don’t really touch on this subject too much in my Pass The PRMC ebook, so I thought a blog post would make sense.
My guess is, that a number of potential PRMC candidates have done something like CCF, ACF, Marine Cadets or the like and therefore own a pair of military style boots. If that’s the case, then as long as they are well fitting, broken in and comfortable, there is no real harm in performing the odd gentle run in them. Whether or not you will be allowed to wear them on the assault course or endurance course is another thing. My advice is not to even try. One, you want to remain the grey man. Asking about your boots and if you can wear them will immediately draw attention to you. Two, boots used to have to have a heel block for bottom field. This may or may not still be the case. Either way, if you use what you are issued, you can’t go wrong. Also, you’ll trash the Corps boots not your own. And believe me, you will trash them!
If you do decide to try a few runs in your own boots, make sure you lace them up properly. Not too tight that it cuts blood off to your toes, but equally not too loose that your foot slides about which will give you blisters. Don’t wear sports socks, school socks or football socks; spend a fiver on some decent walking socks and wear them. Aim to do some off road as well as road running. Too much on the road could cause injuries. Trainers have shock absorbers built in. Boots don’t. Shock from concrete without time to adapt could cause Achilles, knee or other injuries. Hence I said at the beginning; once a week only.
At the end of the day, you all want to do as well as possible on your PRMC. That was my thought process when training on Hampstead Heath in boots with a small daysack, even heading into the ponds to fully submerge my boots to get used to running with wet, heavy boots. However, you don’t NEED to do any of that. What needs training is your CV system and your mind. Training frequently, follow my training programme and try to push yourself as hard as you can as often as you can. That way, even if your PRMC was in a wetsuit and flippers with a gas mark, you’d still just crack on and do it. Even if you’d never trained like that before. That’s what is expected of a Royal Marine; to adapt and overcome and be able to succeed no matter what is asked of him. That is what your training team want to see above all else.
To those of you that don’t own any boots, who have most likely never worn military boots. Don’t worry about it. You don’t need to go and buy some. Just perform the training programme I have designed in trainers and work as hard as you can. When you arrive for your PRMC you’ll be asked your shoe size, given a pair of boots and I guarantee 100% that you’ll forget all about them once they are on your feet. You’ll be concentrating on doing what your told and getting your arse around the assault course or endurance course as quick as you can. You could be wearing flip flops for all you will care at that point.