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I would like to start by saying how much information I have already found within this site. It has helped me greatly in the past month or so that I've been focusing on running. I would like to share my running goal and current schedule with you all, and I would appreciate any tips, advice, or other comments.

I have always been in good physical shape. Mostly working with weights and doing boxing for cardio since I was in 8th grade (currently 20). However, I recently signed up for the Air Force and will be going to Basic on January 10th. Although I haven't played any sports since middle school, or had a reason to work out, I did so just for the sake of being in shape. Having signed up for the AF, this has motivated me to focus more heavily on my fitness again and push myself. I have never been a big runner, as stated above the only cardio work I did was boxing. My goal is to qualify with the highest physical rating (Warhawk) after basic training. This entails running two miles in 13:30, 1.5 miles in 8:08, Doing 75 pushups in 2 minutes, doing 80 sit-ups in 2 minutes, and doing 10 pull-ups.

Currently I am able to do all of this but the running part. Up until 5-6 weeks ago I had never really ran any distance. When I first started I was able to jog 1 mile non-stop, then turn around, and walk 1/8 run 1/4 repeat until I got back to the start of the trail. This two mile process took me around 20 minutes.

Currently my run looks like this: I start off walking 1/4 mile as a warm-up. Then I run the trail at an 8:00 mile pace - total of around 3.5 miles not counting the 1/4 warm-up and cool down. I recently cut it down to only stopping one time for a quick 60second walk for air. Most of the improvement in distance seemed to happen over night oddly. I went from needing to stop 4 times on one run to only once the next run. I run this path at the park twice a week, flat surface mostly asphalt but I go in the grass a lot for a change. Also running around my neighborhood once a week for more hills.

I was wondering what you all thought of my current program. Can I expect to see continued progress if I follow this type of running? If I keep adding distance and get my run time up in the hour range will this make me able to do a 6:45 mile? Or do I need to focus on sprinting (I hate sprints) more to reduce the time in my runs? Sorry for all the questions, perhaps my best bet is to just get out and run and stop asking so many questions :)

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You did partially answer your own question, yes, just get out there and run. Improvement does come quickly when you start a running program. What I'd encourage you to do is keep adding more distance, but do this on two of your runs per week. Then start adding days. Go from your current 3 per week to 4 and then to 5. With the two days that you're lengthening, keep the other three days at the 3.5 mile run. You need to implement a hard/easy routine and this will accomplish it. In a month's time when you get your longer couple runs of the week, to say, 6-miles, that's probably a good distance to keep those at. Once you plateau your mileage, then you can work on some speed. No, don't start sprinting. Take those 6-milers and pick-up the pace for the middle 2 miles. Focus on getting close to your goal pace of 6:45, aim for 7:00 pace for these 'tempo' miles.

There's dozens of things you can do to improve your running, but first and foremost you need to adhere to the 'keep it simple' concept. Only try changing your routine with one thing at a time. Don't try to add distance AND speed. Get the distance increases done first. THEN add the speed to the routine.

G'luck and let us know how you do!! :)
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Is this a typo? Seems absurdly fast in relation to the other requirements.
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It's not a typo, that is what is required for the highest rating. I guess they expect you to be able to run all out for 8minutes then slow down some for the last 1/2 mile. The minimum is 1.5 in 11:57 and 2 miles in 16:45.. which is a much more even pace.
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