Oct. 26, 2004 U.S. Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, run to a building after detonating explosives to open a gate during a mission in Ramadi in Anbar province, Iraq.

The 7-Week OCS Prep Progressive Running Program

This program is designed to get you comfortable with longer runs, while also building the speed you’ll need to crush a 3-mile PFT or sprint through an obstacle course.

We’ll test your PFT time twice, once at the end of the 3rd week, and again at the end of the 7th week. If you find it difficult to push yourself, try to time this program around a local 5K race, and calculate your 3-mile time from the race.

Weekly Overview

7-week progression, starting with about 15 miles/week and building to around 30 miles/week

Weekly Running Program Tempo

The week will start hard, with a tempo run followed by an interval day. You’ll rest on Wednesday with an easy run to shake out the soreness and accelerate into the end of the week with a fartlek and a brutal hill workout. The weekends will be used to build your endurance, with a long, slow distance run and a rest day to prep for the rest of the week.

Explanation of the workouts:

Each workout has three parts

  • Dynamic Warmup (5 minutes)
  • Workout (30-60 minutes)
  • Cooldown and Suspension Work (10 minutes)


  1. Downward Dog Pose
  2. Upward Dog Pose
  3. Cat/Cow Pose
  4. Pigeon Pose
  5. Cobra Pose
  6. Sun Pose
  7. ‘Couch Mobilisation’
  8. Lunge Matrix
  9. Leg Swings (10x; L-side, R-side, Forward-Backward)


  1. Walk/jog 5 minutes
  2. Sit and Reach
(Optional) 3 Sets
  1. Push-ups x30
  2. Side Crunches x30
  3. Crunches x30
  4. Flutterkicks x30
  5. Leg Lifts x30
  6. Plank 2 mins


Intervals and Agility: Perform the repetitions and sets as prescribed. These are best performed at a local track, though long, straight neighborhood roads can be measured out here. Try to find a 400 meter stretch and a longer 800 meter stretch if you decide to measure your own route. Before each interval workout, perform the agility regimen described below:

Perform each rep over a 50 meter distance, 25 there and 25 back

  1. High Knees
  2. Butt Kicks
  3. Goosesteps
  4. Sumo squat turns
  5. Side steps
  6. Grapevine
  7. High Skips
  8. Skip for Distance
  9. Backwards jogging
  10. Bounds
  11. Sprint
Oct. 26, 2004 U.S. Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, run to a building after detonating explosives to open a gate during a mission in Ramadi in Anbar province, Iraq.
Run with purpose

Fartlek: Fartlek, which means ‘speed-play’ in Swedish, can be one of the most valuable tools for increasing your stamina. The fartleks are

Fartlek #1Perform 10 to 12 surges lasting 1 minute with a 1-minute jog rest in between.

Fartlek #2Perform four to five surges lasting 3 to 5 minutes each with a 1- to 2-minute jog in between. Your effort should be slightly faster than 10K race pace effort but not as fast as in Fartlek No. 1. Most runners find this to be at about 80 to 85 percent of full effort.

Fartlek #3Perform five to six surges lasting 2 minutes, with a 1-minute jog between each hard effort. Your effort should be very similar to 5K race pace effort.

Fartlek #4Perform the following surges, all followed by a 2-minute easy jog: 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes and 1 minute. Your effort should increase as the length of the surge decreases. The 5-minute surge is at 80 percent of full effort. The 4-minute surge is at 85 percent of full effort. The 3-minute surge is at 90 percent of full effort. The 2-minute surge is at roughly 95 percent of full effort and the 1-minute surge is at nearly 100 percent of full effort.

Hills: While many people hate hills, there’s no better way to strengthen your legs while also working on your aerobic capacity. Find a 3-mile route with 2-3 big hills (+150-300M) or 5-6 little hills (+75-125M). It may take some experimenting to find a route that works, but aim for a 3 mile run with hills big enough that you’re out of breath by the time you reach the top. Push hard up the hill, accelerating as you climb and coast over the back/once you get to the top.

Long Run: The thought of running 5, 6, or 10 miles makes many people write off distance running altogether.

Weekly Breakdown

Running Plan

After the program

To maintain your gains while also giving your body time to recover, you should take a week off for active recovery (running 3-4 miles a day at a comfortable pace, mountain biking, swimming, etc.) before trying to scale up. You can then repeat the program, scaling up by no more than 10% of your total weekly mileage each week.


It’s normal to be sore while undertaking serious running training, but if you ever feel sharp pain, clicking, or popping while training, stop training immediately and seek the advice of a professional.


Additionally, if you begin to have trouble sleeping, find that you’re irritable all of the time, or if you have more trouble getting bed in the morning than you usually do, you’re probably overtraining and it’s a good idea to stop or scale back your training for a few days until things go back to normal.

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