Training Program

Training Programs

On registration, you will receive an 8 week training program to help you with your preparation for Run Army.

The training program is designed to provide you with the guidance to train smartly and safely for either the 5 or 10km event. The program has been designed by Simon O’Regan, the Run Army Technical Advisor who is a Level 2 Athletics Coach and lifetime runner. 

Program Overview

The programs are aimed at completing the 5km and 10km event with some additional guidance included for those who may want to target a faster time for the 10km event.

5km – the 5km program is aimed at someone who is new to running or returning after a long absence.

You should be in generally good health and able to walk at a brisk pace for 45-60mins and able to run pain free for 10-15 mins with walk breaks if required.

10km – the beginner 10km program is aimed at someone who has been exercising regularly and able to run for approx. 20-25 mins at an easy pace.

There will be two 10km options, one aimed at finishing, and one aimed at running faster than you currently run. The advanced program is aimed at someone who has completed 5km and possibly 10km events previously and running 2-3 times a week for at least 30mins.

Key points to remember during your training

You should be injury free and in generally good health prior to starting the program. Anyone with pre-existing injuries/conditions or commencing exercise after a long absence should consult their GP before commencing this program.

Running slow and taking walk breaks is fine and expected depending on what level of fitness you start with.

More running is not always better. If you think you should be doing more, engage with a qualified coach or trainer to guide you.

Know that every day you lace up your shoes, you are committing to being better. Enjoy the journey and the rewards that come from training for and meeting goals.

The programs will have a mix of both time and distance. This is intentional – on days where time is prescribed, the distance covered is irrelevant and it is about being on your feet for the time prescribed.

Run slow to get fast. If you read this for the first time, it often does not make sense; however, most people stop running because they are always working hard. Most elite runners spend around 80% of their training running ‘slow’ and a focus on your journey should be a consistency over intensity in the first instance.

Listen to your body – if you are new to running or it has been sometime since regular running, expect some soreness and general fatigue whilst your body adapts. Sharp and consistent pain is not normal and should be reviewed by a health professional.

Be patient and don’t be too hard on yourself. You should see the program as an opportunity to enjoy your running.

Start the program with good footwear. Engage with a reputable shoe store if your runners are more than 9-12 months old or if you have not run in sometime.

There are several methods to measure the general intensity of your runs (how fast you run) – use the method most appropriate for your situation:

  • Talk test. Run at a pace where you can still talk with someone. This is applicable to all easy and long runs.
  • Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). A scale from 1 to 10 where 1 is walking and 10 is all out effort. Easy and long runs are completed around RPE 3 – 4 whilst intervals/tempo and fartlek workouts range from 5 to 9.
  • Heart rate. The Running Change program which is a pillar of Run Army utilises the Maffetone system: In its basic form, your easy and long runs are done at a heart rate of no higher than 180 – age. For example, for a 40-year-old this would equal 140 beats per minute (BPM) as the upper limit for your runs with the lower limited being 10 beats below, thus 130 – 140 BPM. This is more accurate if you own a heart rate chest strap as wrist monitors experience some variability. In the absence of a heart rate monitor, the talk test and RPE are effective methods for this program.
Easy runs
These runs are completed at a relaxed pace where the focus is on completing the distance/time without concern for the pace. As a guide these would be approximately 60-90 sec slower than you could hold for 5km. (RPE 3-4). If you own a heart rate monitor, then these runs would be at a heart rate no higher than 180-age. If the time or distance set is further than you can currently do, take 1-2min walk breaks every 5 – 10mins to make the time or distance prescribed.
Long runs
Not dissimilar to the easy run with the focus on building into a steady relaxed pace over the set distance/time. It is the distance that makes you tired rather than the speed at which you run. The focus is on getting the job done. Stay relaxed and if possible, do these runs on softer surfaces.
‘Speed play’ where you have periods of faster running interspersed with periods of walking or jogging to recover. These should not be sprints but will be at a prescribed pace or feel to make running at a set pace on the day of the event feel comfortable. This training can be unstructured, for example, run hard for 2-3 light poles followed by 1 easy. For this program, they will be time-based repetitions of a shorter duration.
Interval training
Periods of faster running with set rest periods. Slightly harder and sustained running for set periods at around 6 – 9 out of 10 effort. The pace will vary and be outlined with the weekly program. In some programs these intervals will be distance based, for example 5 x 1km. This program will use times as a guide with additional guidance on the effort/intensity.
Rest days
Depending on your fitness background, these may be opportunities to cross train (no impact cardio), go for a walk or strength train in the gym (if it is a part of your normal routine). It can also be a day of rest.
Warm up
For easy and long runs, start each session with 2-3mins walk, followed by 3-5mins easy jogging to allow the body to warm up. For tempo and fartlek sessions, follow the same routine, then conduct 4-5mins of range of motion drills (leg swings, high knee skips etc) and finish the warm up with 3-4 x 50m strides building up to, or just faster than the pace for the session.
Cool down
Spend 2-3mins easy jogging or walking and then conduct 3-5mins of static stretching for the legs and lower back.