Navy Races | Tips to Sustain Race Pace Longer

September 10, 2022

Are you seeking a new military workout strategy in order to sustain goal race pace longer during your Navy races? If so, welcome to Nutrition Geeks. I am glad you have made it here, My hope is that the running tactics and tips in this post will be of assistance to you. The most important thing you can do right now is focus on a longer rather than shorter build up. A common mistake many runners make is rushing the process. It takes between 21 days to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to any stress load being placed on it.

So, trying to get into legitimate race shape in a matter of 4 to 8 weeks is difficult. There are many worthwhile Navy races to compete in. For example, the Navy 10 miler or Marine Corps Marathon. That being said, the best time to prepare is a minimum of 16 and preferably between 20 to 24 weeks is optimal. You may be also preparing for the naval physical fitness test (PFT). If so, I recent created a new resource called the Army combat fitness 2 mile running course.

I spent over 20 years on active duty and am a former member of the US Army World Class Athlete Program. I was also extremely fortunate to have been coached and mentored by 3 of the world's top distance running coaches. So, I share the exact strategies and tactics I used to compete at the elite level in this course. It was also designed to help military members in all branches of the military, not just the Army.

How to Prepare for the Navy 10 Miler

The Navy 10 miler is held each year in November on Naval Air Station JRB Fort Worth in Texas. You will need to be in or around 57 to 58 minute 10 mile shape to win. I highly recommend you also consider running in the Army 10 miler. It is the nation's second biggest 10 mile road race being the Broad Street 10 miler in Philadelphia. The Cherry Blossom 10 miler which is held each year in Washington DC is also a highly competitive race to compete in. I finished 24th there in 2007 with a time of 51:29 to give you an idea.

MAJ (ret.) Pennington finishing as the top American and in 4th place at the 2007 California International Marathon in 2:19:35

As mentioned above, as you prepare for your Navy races start first with your aerobic fitness. So, run easy for a minimum of 4 weeks. I would also advise doing strides (5-6x100m) twice per week as well. You will be working on your acceleration and leg turnover by doing these. In addition, over a 16-24 week training block you will have done several miles or kilometers at sprint paces. Also, you will have done these short sprints on top of all the other hard training throughout your build up.

I regularly did strides throughout my 30 years of competition. I also credit them to assisting me to achieve a 2008 USATF Olympic Trials “A” standard time in the marathon. So, use these in your own training and it can only make you more prepared for greatness.


Focus on Consistent Tempo Runs

We are running between 85 to 89 percent of our maximum heart rate at our anaerobic threshold. The anaerobic threshold is the point where lactic acid begins to rise in the body. The faster we run the more oxygen is required (anaerobic). So, it is vital to spend a higher percentage of your weekly volume running at higher intensities. In addition, you need to ensure you are jogging for 2 days between each hard workout that you do. Remember, there is only so many times you can push the body hard.

You don't want to get diminished returns. What you do want is to adapt to the hard training that you are undergoing. Also, earn more personal bests at your Navy races. In addition, at any other road or track race you are competing in. I have created training plans and running course specifically built to speed up your progress. It is much easier to follow a plan where your workouts are already built for you. More importantly, to know why you are doing the workouts as well.

I highly recommend investing in a heart rate monitor. I use the Garmin 245 regularly which helps me to stay in the correct training zones to ensure I am not overtraining. Again, the overall goal here is to work smarter, not necessarily harder. I already know you know how to work hard. Do the hardest working athletes always get the results? No. I ran up to 142 miles in one week training for my marathons. That being said, I set my 2:19:35 marathon PR on 85 to 90 miles a week.

Extend the Duration of your Tempo Runs

What has been the longest tempo run you have done in your past races? 2 miles? 3? Of course, this will depend on the race distance you are preparing for. The longer you race the longer you need to extend out the distance of your tempo runs.

navy races
MAJ (ret.) Pennington (second from left) with the 2010 Army 10 Miler International Championship Team on stage in Washington DC

Below are some of the tempo run distances I would work toward. Again, be patient, you have to first adapt to a 2 mile tempo run before you can get into the shape to run 7 miles.

  • 1.5 mile PFT – 3 to 4 mile tempo
  • 5K-10K – 5-7 mile tempo
  • 10 mile to marathon – 8-12 mile tempo

JOG On Recovery Days

Get beyond what paces you are running on easy days. Easy days are meant to be recovery days for a reason. As mentioned previously, there is only so many times you can stress the body. It has to be rested between each hard, anaerobic workout that you do. So, the benefits of the hard training you are doing today will be seen several weeks and months from now.

The methodologies and training principles I discuss in my running courses and include in my training plans follow this strategy. We train very hard on hard workouts and extremely easy on recovery days. I have seen several of the athletes who visit the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel thanking me. Of course, it was the athletes that had the hard job. I was just guiding and providing mentorship. So, allot sufficient time to run easy on those recovery days.

The result will be you will be able to continue to train at very high levels without seeing diminished returns on your time investment. Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time.

Work on Your Speed Development

Athletes seeking to race faster and sustain pace longer at Navy races or elsewhere have to focus on speed. Easy running is still important. That being said, it won't help you when it comes to racing at all-out efforts. The reason being is easy running is too aerobic. So, it doesn't teach the body to improve its lactate tolerance. Yes, you still need it in order to build endurance and recover.

The only way to get your goal race pace to feel more in control is to train at faster than goal race pace. Athletes should be doing at least 1, vo2 max workout each week. Your vo2 max is your body's maximum oxygen uptake. We are running so fast at vo2 max that naturally we have to stop and take short breaks. The lactic acid build up rises so high we can't clear it faster than it is building up. You can run longer at easier paces because the opposite happens.

Lactic acid levels remain low during relaxed running so muscle functioning does not break down. So, training at faster paces will improve your body's ability to clear lactic acid at faster paces. The result is you are able to sustain race pace for longer periods of time. The world's top middle to long distance runners are running between 35 to 40% if their weekly mileage at or below their anaerobic threshold effort.


Closing Thoughts

I hope we can keep in touch. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I am committed to making new training and racing videos there, weekly. More importantly, to help runners such as yourself make it to the next level in your racing. Lastly, make sure you are spending time training mentally for your Navy races. Mental training is often times even more important physical training. Sadly, the vast majority of runners only focus on physical training. Thus, get 50% of the results.

The world's top runners combine them both in order to achieve world-class results. So, start spending 10 to 15 minutes each day during your build up visualizing yourself getting across the finish line in your goal time. Also, running relaxed and passing people. Watch your pacing in the early miles or kilometers of your races. Focus on a negative split. The same goes for your 1.5 mile PFT test. I cover these tactics in my courses, especially the combat fitness 2 mile running course.

It is much better to run the second half faster than you run the first half in your races. There are already enough runners going out too fast and going into oxygen debt. Again, we want to prepare you to train smarter, not harder. So, you get the results you are seeking. Make sure to check out the resources available here by clicking on the green buttons within this post. I look forward to hearing about your new personal best.


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