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Start On A Running Program Now And Peak This Summer

Stew Smith

Advanced But Progressive Running Programs For Spec Ops Preparation 

Progressive running programs are the smart way to build up your mileage in both running and rucking.  Too often, people jump back into running with a 5-6 mile run after minimal or no running for several months.  Overuse injuries can occur even with a smart progression, but they are a near 100% chance of happening when bumping up miles per week from zero to 20 miles out of nowhere.  People do this all the time when they start programs that are not personally developed for them.  If you are starting at zero miles per week, you need a different program - a beginner running program like this where you run only 1 - 1.5 mile every other day with non impact cardio activities in between running days:

Running Plan I - Total Beginner Runner

Wk Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
1 1 mile 1 mile 1 mile 1 mile 1 mile
2 1.5 miles 1.5 miles 1.5 miles 1.5 miles 1.5 miles
3* Bike or swim Bike or swim Bike or swim Bike or swim Bike or swim
4 2 miles 1.5 miles 2 miles 1.5 miles 2 miles
5 3 miles 2 miles off 2 miles 3 miles
6 3 miles 2 miles off 4 miles 3 miles

*Do not run during Week 3 - bike or swim everyday. There is a high risk of injury by week 3 of running programs statistically. 

Related Articles and healing tips on the types of injuries that occur with starting with too much, too soon with running volume:

ITB Running Injury

Shin Splints

Plantar Faciitis 

If you have a recent history with any of these, you may want to start with the Running Plan 1 for a month as you get started again. 

Related Post: Faster Runs and Swims - PST Related

Running Plan II - For Moderate Beginning Runners with Injury Issues 








1-2 mile

Bike or swim

1-2 mile

Bike or swim

1-2 mile


2-3 miles

Bike or swim

2-3 miles

Bike or swim

2-3 miles


3 miles

Bike or swim

3 miles

Bike or swim

3 miles


2 miles

3 miles


4 miles

2 miles


2-3 miles

3-4 miles


4-5 miles

2-3 miles

Once built up to 15 miles a week...

Or, if you maintained a 12-15 miles per week running base throughout the Fall / Winter Lift Cycle, you can jump into the Special Ops Running Program - a progression 25 week program that starts off week 1 at 15 miles per week and builds up to 30-35 over the next 6 months.  Reminder - this is a supplemental running program that you would include into your swimming, pt, lift training cycles.  Here is a sample week 1 (15-17 miles per week):

Week 1

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

2 Miles

4 Miles

2-3 Miles

Week 1

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

3 Miles

2 Miles

4-5 Miles


Add variety of speed / intervals throughout the week.  When on shorter runs, make them timed run events for your future running test.  If a 1.5 mile timed run - warmup with the half mile, then time the next 1.5 mile of day 1 for instance. On the 3-4 mile days, mix in a variety of 200,400,800m goal pace intervals with some full speed striders (aka sprints). Then pick a run or two during the week to coast and build up a running / cardio base for longer distances. 

Each week will progressively increase 15% in distance as you focus on goal pace, sprints, running and rucking cardio base endurance. If you are not on a program, consider getting on one and stop guessing on your training. 



The Heroes of Tomorrow program was developed by former Navy SEAL Stew Smith, fitness author.  We can help prepare you for ANY profession that requires a Physical Fitness Test and YOU pay nothing for the training!  Warning - it is rather advanced but we can scale it back a bit and teach running and swimming techniques and help you build up to your goal level of fitness.



Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1 Beginner Weeks 1-9 
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3 - Intermediate Weeks 1-12
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4 Grinder PT - Four weeks before Hell Week

Navy SEAL Weight Training Book
Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness Book

The Pipeline of Training Options: 


It depends:  The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness is a classic and focuses on high rep calisthenics and running and swimming base.  You will build up your running over 12-18 weeks to 20 miles but very fast paced focus on both the 1.5 mile run for the PST and the 4 mile timed run for weekly run test at BUDS. If you are an athlete with a strong power / strength background in lifting and not running or swimming, Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you. IF you need some place to start Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you as well because a calisthenics base / running / swimming progression is a good place to build a foundation.  Though you will likely need to spend some time in the Navy SEAL Weight Training Book OR if Navy SEAL FItness is too challenging, go with Navy SEAL SWCC, EOD, Diver, PST Phase 1 Workout.  Phase 1 is a good starting point if Navy SEAL Fitness program is too tough. 

Navy SEAL Weight Training - This is part two (winter lifting phase) of my SEAL Prep program. If you have done the Navy SEAL Fitness (12 weeks to BUDS) program a few times and need a break, this is the next program that integrates lifting with the Navy SEAL Prep training. This is ideal for people who have come from an endurance athlete background.  Athletes like swimmers and runners will also require some strength training as you will be exposed to challenges under logs and boats during the first phase and many miles of rucking 50+ lbs of backpacks and gear in 2nd and 3rd phases of BUDS.  Do not skip lifting in your year of training prep.  However, if you are coming from a powerlifting / football background, supplementing a few lifts into your endurance / muscle stamina focus plan is something you may enjoy especially if training for a year or more during your prep phase. 

Navy SEAL / SWCC, EOD, Diver Program Series - Phase 1 is what I call a beginner guide, but it is still challenging.  It is geared toward those who are scoring minimally or failing their Navy PST test - 500yd swim, pushups, situps, pullups, 1.5 mile run.  It is easier than The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness and a good prep course before attempting it. 

Phase 2 and 3 of the Navy SEAL / SWCC, EOD, Diver program is about the same level of intensity as Navy SEAL Fitness and is also a good follow-up plan after Phase 1

Phase 4 ot the Navy SEAL Key to Mental Toughness is by far my toughest workout ever created.  It resembles a day of BUDS, complete with "wet and sandy", runs after eating, high rep punishment push-ups, 4 mile timed runs, 2 mile swims with fins, log PT simulation, and even a HellWeek Simulator with 3 workouts a day.  

Tactical Fitness Series - Tactical Fitness, Tactical Strength, and Tactical Mobility is an ALL-encompassing program that focuses on lifting, calisthenics, run, ruck, swim, speed, agility, and flexibility / mobility. Many people focusing on USMC (OCS, RECON, MarSOC) Army Ranger / SF, Air Force Special Warfare, SWAT / Federal Law Enforcement, and Navy Special Warfare have done very well focusing on the Tactical Fitness Series and developing themselves into an all-round Tactical Athlete

Tactical Fitness - At the core of this program is the Tactical Fitness Test which measures 12 standards for your physical capacity, including: cardiovascular conditioning, strength, muscle coordination, and stamina. Tactical fitness means having the skills needed to save lives and extend the limits of your endurance whether you are in the military, police, firefighting professions, or just an everyday hero. Also featured in the Tactical Fitness Test called the Dirty Dozen.

Tactical Strength - Tactical Strength is the lifting program used by Stew Smith and his Military, Police, Fire Fighter fitness program called the Heroes of Tomorrow. It is designed to build strength in the upper body, legs, and core to prepare you better for any load bearing activity (rucking, boat carry, log PT, etc). The program also does not neglect cardiovascular activity and will end workouts with rucking or swimming (or other non impact options (row, bike, elliptical) if needed. The cardio workouts will be quick and fast focusing more on speed and agility than long slow distance. We also use the Tactical Strength Test to test elements of speed, agility, and strength / power.

Tactical Mobility is a comprehensive fitness guide for greater mobility, flexibility, and performance—designed for the men and women serving in military, special ops, law enforcement, emergency services. Tactical Mobility is a perfect fit for any fitness program as a stand alone "Mobility day" supplemented into your regular routine and will help you reach the pain free level of fitness. Gaining flexibility and mobility is the goal of the program and it will help with performance and help reduce injuries.

The Warrior Workout Series - If you are solid with making your own workouts, but need some ideas.  This three part series has 300 workouts (100 / book) to pick from focusing on all the elements of fitness and training programs. Each book is organized with periodization cycles in mind along with calisthenics only, weights / calisthenics mix, cardio options and more. Warrior Workout 1   -  Warrior Workout 2  -   Warrior Workout 3. 

Personalized Training Programs
There are many more options as well as personalized training programs member's only program and the new :


Try Our Stew Smith Fitness Members Only Club - #1 Best Selling Tactical Fitness Programs

Questions?  Just email me at

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Prep: Spec Ops Periodization



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