These Workouts Will Add Variety to Your Endurance and Leg Day Training

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(U.S. Army/Spc. Benjamin Tomlinson)

If you are looking for a way to add variety to your running, leg endurance and muscle stamina training days, check out calisthenics and cardio workouts that help you make running a little harder.

These are difficult when done in a single day, but as you progress, you can mix and match these workouts until you are ready to do the full column in a single day of activity (everything listed):

Squat Pyramid 1-10 with 100-Meter Run Warm-Up

This classic warm-up is a great way to get ready for the running and repetitions of leg exercises. Here is how this section looks:

• 1 squat, jog 100 meters (don't sprint) and mix in a few dynamic stretches, as desired, for 10-20 meters each set. • 2 squats, jog 100 meters and continue dynamic stretches. • 3 squats, jog 100 meters.

Keep going until you get to set 10. This totals 55 squats and 1,000 meters of jogging, mixed with dynamic stretches. If you feel warm after 5-6 sets, it is fine to move on to the rest of the workout -- especially if you feel 55 squats is more than you are capable of on your first attempt.

1- to 1.5-Mile Timed Run:

See what your fast-pace goal can be for one to 1.5 miles. This is a good 50% check for the three-mile timed running tests of the Marine Corps, two-mile runs for Army tests and a good mile to 1.5 miles for the actual test of the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.

Depending on your professional goals, assess where your pace is for 50% of your timed run distance. Do you think you can maintain that pace for the other 50% of the timed run event?

Resistance Running

This section is all about making running harder than it needs to be. This can be done with hills and stairs as mentioned below, but you also can add weight (rucking) or soft sand for additional running difficulty. Depending on the availability of hills, stairs or bleachers, you may want to opt for weight or sand. You can also max out the incline on a treadmill or elliptical machine to receive the same benefits.

Run hills, bleachers, stairs or the stairstepper with weight for 20 minutes. Rest or stretch as needed.

Run Intervals

In this next section, focus on running-pace goals for your timed runs at either 400- to 800-meter sets. See whether you can handle 1.5-2 miles of total distance, broken up in these intervals:

Repeat four times. • Run 800 meters at goal pace • Squats 20 • Lunges 20 per leg

The added leg calisthenics is for muscle stamina to work the legs while you rest your lungs. When working to run faster with timed run events, you will find the main challenge will be on your lungs and legs. Work them together with this type of leg and PT workouts for the results you seek.

After you complete the above sections, take some time to stretch and cool down. Often, a swim immediately after is an excellent way to cool down, especially in the summer. For recruits considering jobs that will involve diving and swimming, top off the above leg day with a swim with fin workout. This is not only recommended, but it should become the norm as you prepare your legs for the rigors of swimming with big SCUBA fins.

Top off your leg day with a swim with fins or ruck, followed by a quick mobility and flexibility cooldown. Depending on your career goals and current weaknesses, consider one of the following options to finish any leg day. Alternating from rucking to swimming with fins every other week is an option if you must prepare for both.

These can be done in separate workouts:

Navy goals: Top Off Leg Day with Swim with Fins

• Swim 500-meter warm-up or 10-minute tread

• Swim 1,500 meters (or more) with fins

Army or Marine Corps goals: Top Off Leg Day with Ruck

• Ruck three miles for time (practice paces for walk, power-walk, fast shuffle). This rucking drill is a good way to develop pacing strategies for longer distance rucking events. You may find that knowing your walking pace (15 minutes per mile), your power walking pace (13-14 minutes per mile) and your fast-paced shuffle (10-12 minutes per mile) will come in handy when you need to catch your breath, but still make time. Of course, picking up the pace is always needed to finish long rucks strong.

Mini-Mobility

This is a great way to cool down after a portion or all of the above workout sections. Take your time and do not skip the cooldown and stretch or massage section, as it can be a big difference in how you feel tomorrow.

Repeat two times. • Row, bike, elliptical or swim five minutes. • Foam roller and/or stretch five minutes.

 

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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