Q: I'm presently in the Army Reserves and for the PT (Physical Training) Test, we have to do as many pushups and situps as we can in 2 minutes. I do pretty well in both of those areas, but after doing the situps and then running, my legs tighten up within the first quarter mile. I'm 37 years old and the maximum amount of time that I have to run is 18:18. I regularly run on the treadmill for 3 miles at a 10:00 minute pace. But it's not fast enough to pass. What can I do to get my running down to no more than a 8:00 minute mile?
A: Before you attempt any program to improve your pace, you need to understand a couple of things: First, a good "base level" of running is important before attempting to increase performance by a structured "speed work" program. Since I am not sure about your overall fitness level, I am hesitant to structure a specific program for you. While it is true that some of your base level can be established from other good endurance-related activities, such as swimming, biking and basketball and yes, running on a treadmill, for the amount of improvement you are seeking, I would feel better if you had more than treadmill running and did not have the "leg tightening" symptoms after such a short distance.
Having said that, I don't believe a 9:09 per mile goal over two miles is not an unreasonable target if you have run at a 10:00 minute pace for three miles. So how can you get there? I suggest you buy a copy of "Jeff Galloway's Book On Running." This is the first book I ever bought on running and has helped a lot of people just like you reach their goals. I too, started running when I was 37 years old. The book gave me all the advice I needed to get me started. Good luck. The Rage
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