July 26, 2017In Royal Marines, TrainingBy Sean Lerwill5 Minutes

Military and Running go hand in hand

One of the common themes across most military application processes is the ability to run. Military preparation, running is most likely involved! We’d expect that for infantry and elite or special forces, but even non-combat roles require a certain level of fitness and surprisingly or not, a running test usually formulates part of this. The bottom line is that the military and running go hand in hand, it doesn’t seem to matter what the country or the service!

Military Running Training

The running needed for a military entry process or for the yearly fitness tests can usually be put into three distinct categories:

  1. Interval style
  2. Short distance
  3. Long distance

Take the Royal Marines: the Potential Royal Marines Course (PRMC) or Potential Officer Course (POC) requires a Bleep Test, a 3mile run, with 1.5miles as a best effort and a 5/6mile endurance course in the mud and wet. Therefore, training needs to encompass both speed and distance.

Cross Training

One of the best ways to ensure you are ready for whatever a military force throws at you is to train a little of everything. Ensure you have compared all bases by training for everything. Running wise, this means ensuring you are aerobically (endurance) fit for long distance and anaerobically (stamina) fit for shorter distance.

Long distance

I would therefore recommend training at a slower pace, perhaps at a set heart rate and over weeks/months increasing the distance. Similar to how a marathon runner trains. Perhaps starting with 2-3miles and adding half a mile each week or every few sessions. Taking this up to 7-10miles max.

Middle Distance

Sean Lerwill runningFor shorter distances, such as the 3miles with 1.5miles best effort, practice this specific test once a week or once every fortnight. To train for it, break it down into manageable chunks and train these faster than the test itself to help improve anaerobic threshold and your mental strength. 1.5miles is 2400metres, so try doing 800metre runs with 3-4mins rest in between. After a few weeks of these, try lowering the rest to 2-3mins but keeping the 800metre speed the same. After another 3 weeks try lowering the rest to 1-2mins, again, keep the speed the same. And so on. Eventually you should be able to run all three 800 metre legs back to back at near full speed you did them separately at 3months before.


Fitness improvements in general are about progression. Don’t go straight for what it is you want to achieve, you’ll fail. Look at achieving 20 pull-ups as an example. Many people can get up to that, but very few can do it on first attempt. You must progressively challenge the body over weeks and months to build up to it. Running is the same. Give the body time and a sensible progressive plan to enable it to adapt to and eventually achieve what you desire.


Don’t forget that recovery is just as important as training itself. Without feeding and fuelling the body it cannot repair and it cannot perform. Ensure your nutrition is on point to get the most out of your training and see the results you want. For all my nutrition advice, get yourself The Ration Pack Diet.


If you are looking at joining the Royal Marines, then the above information may help. However, you really want the in-depth version specific to Royal Marines training, my Pass The PRMC guide. This contains everything you need to pass your PRMC, all you need to do is follow it.