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Guide to Kickstart Race Training

If you've been considering participating in a race this year, don't worry - you still have time to train for your best time. Even if you do not currently run much, as long as you get some sort of regular exercise, this 1 month guide can help you get your training started.

It is intended for individuals who are healthy and physically capable of high intensity exercise

This plan is the first half of an 8 week program designed to improve a 5-10K time. It is intended for individuals who are healthy and physically capable of high intensity exercise. It is ideal for those of you that are already accustomed to regular exercise and would like to kickstart a training program to run your best 5k or 10k. If you are training for an obstacle course race supplement this plan with our weekly workout plans.

The Backstory

The plan was originally created for my son to prepare for his cross country season. I later updated it when another family member needed to train for a top tier PFT score to qualify for Marine Corps Officer Candidate School. Just to give you an idea of what that means and what Adam needs to be able to do...

The Marine Physical Fitness Test is a standard test that measures the battle readiness of each Marine. The PFT includes pull ups, crunches, and a 3 mile run and is assessed on a points system. The maximum score for each event is 100. To achieve a perfect score a Marine would need to perform 20 pull ups, 105 crunches in 2 minutes, and a 3 mile run in 18 minutes. Adam would need a score of 260 to qualify for OCS. Since the run is his weaker category, he is using this plan along with strength workouts to train for his test. His goal is to perform 18 pull ups, 105 crunches, and 22:30 run time. I predict that he will meet or even exceed this goal.

To learn more about Marine Corps Officer Candidate School visit

Key Terms

The following are terms you will need to know before beginning. This will help you understand how to execute the program properly.

Race Pace - The average pace of your last 5 or 10k race (min/mile). If you have never participated in a race or it was a VERY long time ago, go for a 5k run before beginning the program to determine your time. Race yourself! You will need to reference this time during your training - make sure to record it somewhere.

Easy Run - Think comfortably, challenging... Runs at a moderate pace, for distance. The goal is to complete the miles - not push for time.

Fartlek - Swedish for "speed play". A distance run that alternates moderate to hard efforts, with easy recovery periods throughout. Short, fast bursts followed by easy effort running to recover. Keep it unstructured and free-flowing - variate the pace and time. Make it fun by targeting markers for the hard efforts - run at full effort to the corner, a tree, the stop sign... then recover and mix it up.

Cross Train Workout - A combination of exercises to work various parts of the body. It may include running; however, running should not be the basis of the workout. A specific activity (i.e. all the running you will be doing) will work certain muscle groups repeatedly. Your cross training workout should aim to correct this imbalance. Examples are cycling or spin class, strength training, HIIT workouts, swimming, barre workout, yoga... just to name a few.

Recover Workout - A moderate to high intensity, LOW-IMPACT workout. A workout that allows you to continue strength and/or cardio-respiratory training while also allowing your body to recover from any soreness you may be experiencing. No high impact exercises such as plyometric movement - basically no jumping. Examples are yoga, pilates, swimming, cycling. Get a muscle burn and your heart up, BUT be sure to give your joints this day off.

Contact us if you are interested in getting the 2nd month of this training program. Capax Fitness offers customized plans to accommodate your individual needs and goals. And if you are not already a member, please join (it's free) so you can tell us how your race went in the comments below. Happy running!

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