1.5 mile run tome

Hi I've been training to join the army for some months now, I have to do my 1.5 mile run in 14 minutes or under. 14.40 has been my best I struggle with my breathing I start breathing heavy and quickly. I have been doing sprints, intervals and longs runs but so far it hasn't got me where I need to be. I am on my last chance now I have 3 months to get my run time down. I was thinking that maybe It was a sign of me being unfit and instead of just running I should be working on all round fitness so I have started doing circuit training and working on my strength and core as well as running. Would people advise this ? I don't want to waste time if I fail again I'm not aloud to try for a year. Also I am trying to eat a bit better I weight 12stone 2Ibs and I am 5ft 6 so I'm not massively over weight.

Thanks in advance

15 Replies

  • Hi!

    Yes, it is a good idea to cross-train, and to lose weight, so carry on with those. Also, sprints, intervals, and long runs are all good workouts for getting faster so keep them up too - maybe look at increasing your cadence, and adding in some hill work. I am afraid that you will have to put up with the heavy breathing if you want to run fast, but a very useful exercise to add to your cross-training would be swimming, if you can manage it. Once you have got your breathing right in the pool I'm pretty sure you will find running breathing a breeze by comparison!

    But because this is a racing forum I am naturally going to recommend that you enter a race and train for it :) parkrun is a good start, if you have one near you?

    There are free race training plans available online, I have used MyAsics and found it useful; I think BUPA do one too.

    Good luck!



  • Hi

    Thank you for the advice I'll have a look at the training plans now. There's a park run not too far from me so I'll get down there Saturday morning. I signed up to do a 10 k but unfortunately I'm only on the waiting list :(

  • parkrun should be all you need, I'm sure I'm not alone in finding that the competitive spirit always shows up when I go there - I always end up trying to go faster even when I don't plan to :) And maybe yours will have pacers who will help you push yourself further. You're getting near your goal, but I think you'll have to run as frequently and as consistently as possible to make sure you can get there and can maintain it.

  • Cross training and strength training is great, and it is definitely helpful when you want to become a better/stronger/faster runner. However, if the main objective is to run (as opposed to general health), then the best thing you can do is to run. If you desperately want to get that time down over the next 3 months, then focus on running, running, running, and save circuits and strength till later.

    One mistake many of us make is to make too many of our runs hard work. That results in them not being hard enough to give all the benefits they otherwise could, but too hard to recover. One rule of thumb suggests running about 20% of your weekly distance as hard and 80% as gentle, the key being that hard means HARD and gentle means DEFINITELY GENTLE. Middle of the road wishy-washy is less productive.

    You say you have done intervals. For a relatively short distance like 1.5 mile, they're the best way to improve.

    You want to pick a combination of repeat-length + recovery-length + fast-pace + recovery-pace + number-of-repeats that means you can do a decent number of them with roughly the same fast-pace and end up feeling that you could probably do one more but not many more.

    What kind of intervals did you do? How long did you run for each of the fast bits? How fast did you go? How long did you recover? How recovered did you feel when starting on the next fast bit? Were you able to maintain roughly the same pace for each of them? How many repeats did you do? Did the last one leave you feeling like it was really hard work?

    You can do this. 40 seconds out of less than 15 minutes is a substantial improvement. But if you really want this, you can do it!

  • Hi thanks for all the info with it being my last chance to pass I really don't want to be wasting my time. My intervals are mixed I have a plan on one of my running apps some days it's walk a minute run a minute( 5 min/km pace ) then there's walk a minute run two minutes and walk 30 seconds run a minute.

  • I don't think your interval training is hard enough. You are going to need to run 14 minutes at 5'50 pace to meet the target.

  • I agree with MarkyD this is maybe not intense enough. Try intervals of around 2 minutes running 'slow' (i.e. comfortable pace) then 1 minute running 'fast' (not full sprint, around 90% pace) then repeat. I've found this challenging to master as all I want to do is stop and walk after the fast bits. But it's worth it :)

  • Have a look on the Army web site, they have a training program to get you up to the required standard.

    The army used to have two tests 23 years ago called a CFT = combat fitness test, 8 miles in 1 hour 50 minutes in full kit 40 lbs in weight carrying weapon, this is not a hard test to pass when you consider that on average we walk at 4 MPH.

    BFT = basic fitness test. this consisted of 1.5 miles run as a squad in 15 minutes then a 1.5 mile run as individual effort, this had to be done in 11 minutes 30 , average time was 9.30 that most ran it in. You had to run you own run straight after the first 1.5 miles, that would be a total of 3 miles in 26 minutes 30 to pass the test and used to be the minimum standard.

    There is a lot of information on the web to get you up to the required standard, have a look at the link below and good luck, push yourself you will do it.


  • Interesting!

  • Oooo I might get the app!!

  • This is really interesting for me as my running club does the 1.5 mile test at 6 week intervals so we can gauge our speed improvements. I use my 'negative splits' technique as we do it round 6 laps of a 400m track. I do the first lap deliberately slow, the next a little faster, etc, then by the last 2 laps I'm on full pelt. Have you tried pacing yourself like this? I also recommend using parkrun to experiment with strategy and track progress. It's about double the distance of your 1.5 mile test. So if you can get parkrun down to around 30mins you should be fine for your next test. Good luck :)

  • I agree it would be prudent to add in some strength stuff as that will also prepare you better for army life too.... what is your current training programme?

  • Hi thanks for the advice I'm gonna try pacing myself more at the beginning I think this will help. At the moment I'm doing a 5k and 2.4k pb each week, a couple of interval sprint sessions and some circuit training and a bit of aerobic fitness and tbh I think since putting this post I have improved a lot so something is working

  • I think that sounds like plenty. When you do the intervals really go for it like you're gonna die... that will make a difference ....

  • Yeah I will, really gonna push it now

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