How to get started

Running not only improves your overall health but makes you fitter, so as a police officer you are able to do the job not only your fellow colleagues expect but your community expects as well.  Here are some tips on how to get started, so if you have never run before or just don't know how to start here are some tips for you:

  1. Initially test yourself, time yourself and see how long you can run for without stopping. Use this as your guide and from where you can improve.
  2. The following week, increase your time by 5 minutes, so if in your test you ran for 10 minutes without stopping, this week run for 15 minutes. So run out for 7 and a half minutes, run back 7 and a half minutes, there is your 15 minute run. Next week make it 20, so run out and extra 2 and a half minutes so out for 10 minutes, back in 10 minutes, you are now up to 20 minutes. Continue increasing by 5 minutes each week.
  3. If you are new to running start with 2-3 runs per week. If you over do it you are not allowing your body time to recover and make the physical adaptations it needs to make with your increased running time. So if you are looking at starting at the Academy soon- start now, gaining fitness takes time, as we always say in PT you can not 'cram' in your fitness within weeks, you risk injury and your health.
  4. Some runs will feel harder than others, don't let that put you off keep persevering and remember what your goal is – to be a fit police officer, so draw on that when you are struggling with your training
  5. Fuel & hydration – Carbohydrate and water. Before you go for a run ensure you have consumed plenty of water that day and the day before, not immediately before the run, you could get a stitch! Don't run on empty either, an hour or so before your run have a piece of fruit, small bowl of cereal or a piece of toast. Then after your run have something with protein and carbohydrate, this assists your body in repairing itself and replacing the energy you expended during your run, ready for the next time you run! Milo with milk is perfect. You don't need those expensive shakes in powdered form.
  6. After each run write down how long you ran for. As you improve this can be very motivating and it keeps you honest!
  7. What pace? When you are starting out you want to run at 'conversational' pace. So if you were running with someone you would still be able to hold a conversation with them, without being too out of breath.

Once you have a strong running base, so you are running comfortably for up to 45 minutes, you can include some sessions with intensity where you include running faster and hill repeats. I will post some ideas for different sessions down the track once you have that strong running base.

Running and improving my pace

For those of you that have been following the advice in the note, 'running - how to get started',  you should now be ready to start to pick up the pace a little. This will help increase your running economy, so when you do your easy runs they will start to feel easy and your body will continue to adapt to the running, and little by little you will be getting better. 

Start to include this session into your plan. At this stage you don't need to include an extra run, make one of your easy runs this session.

The session will be what is called a "fartlek" session. This is a Swedish term which means "speed play" Simply throughout your run you change the pace.  

So start with 10 minutes of easy jogging then pick up the pace slightly – this will not be a sprint, just a little quicker then your easy pace. So on your easy run you can hold a conversation. This increased pace should allow you to still be able to manage a sentence, not quite a conversation.

Include 6 pace surges throughout your run. The important thing is that it is a continuous run, so don't run a pace where it tires you so much you need to stop and walk (that will be down the track for interval sessions).

To monitor this session;

  • use a stop watch, run quicker for 2 minutes, run easy for 2 minutes and repeat 6 times.
  • If you run with music a good idea is also to set up your play list for the session. So run quicker for one song, when the next track starts, slow back to your comfortable pace. So choose songs that will get you going for the quicker pace, maybe one a little more relaxing for the slower pace to settle you back down into your easy pace. 
  • Use landmarks, from one block to the next, every 5 power poles or trees or up every hill to run the quicker pace.
  • Importantly try to enjoy the sessions. Things are so much easier when you are doing something you enjoy, so make up your own type of session, as long as you are starting to up the pace of you run a little.

Starting these types of sessions now are perfect for those of you who will be starting with us in January, those that are still waiting, don't put your fitness off, just think of all that extra time you have to work on your fitness. The faster pace and increased running economy you develop will see you do well in PT at the Academy. It will prepare you for interval type sessions where you are running much faster then your comfortable pace. We do allot of intervals here. Remember you can't put your fitness off- it doesn't happen over night! And as I always say, when it gets tough, remember why you are doing it. – You want to be a police officer and be in the best shape you can be.

Running with intensity

If you have been following the past notes in relation to running it is now time to up the intensity. This is perfect timing for those who will be with us in January to start doing this. We do allot of these types of sessions at the academy in PT training. These sessions are called intervals. This is where you are working hard for a short period followed by a period of rest. You repeat this up to 8 times. Here are some examples;


Find an oval near where you live that is roughly 400m. Warm yourself up with 10 minutes easy jogging and do some dynamic warm ups such as leg swings. Run a hard pace that you can maintain for the 400m. To measure your intensity you should not be able to talk if you tried to and by the end of the 400 you will feel like you want to lie down. If you are not feeling any of this- you didn't run fast enough. Time yourself for the first lap. For the next 7 try and get the same time, to ensure you are consistent and you are pushing yourself. For your rest in between each lap, walk for half a lap of the oval (200M). Then start again. Cool yourself down with 10 minutes easy jogging followed by static stretching.

Timed intervals on a treadmill

Workout out what level on the treadmill is comfortable for you to run at for about 30 minutes. Your interval will be 3 levels higher then that. For example, if you run comfortably at level 8 (8 km/hr) then your interval is at level 11. This is a very simple interval session where you are working for 2 minutes:recovery for 2 minutes. After 10 minutes of warming up put the treadmill up to your interval level and run that pace for two minutes. Once complete lower the level to walking pace for two minutes and repeat 7 more times. Note how you feel at the end, if you could have talked or you don't feel exhausted at the end you need to run faster on your next interval.#Hint: to make running on the treadmill simulate road running a little more up the incline to 1.5%

Hill repeats

These are great for the legs however you need to be careful if you have suffered previous hamstring injuries, seek medical advice if you are unsure as this may not be the best session for you.Find a hill that is safe to run on. If you want to prepare for the perimeter runs here find one that is about 300m with a slight gradual incline. After your warm up run hard up the hill, maintaining the same pace, so don't run out too hard – you need to get to the top! Depending on your fitness walk or jog back down. Repeat this 6 times. As time goes by increase your repetitions. Again, for intensity you should be out of breath at the top and not be able to talk, if not, run harder. At the end cool yourself down with easy jogging and stretching.

These are just some basic examples of intense running sessions. Some of you already may have some of these that you do and that's great if they are working for you. Those of you that have not put any intensity into your training and you are coming here in January you really need to start. We only have you for a short time and that is why we do this type of training as it gets results if done correctly. If you have not been doing any training with intensity you will struggle with the PT side of things when you get here and we don't want to see that happen. These are intense sessions if done correctly. So you need to be pushing yourself as you run around the oval, don't jump of the treadmill or stop and walk up the hill. If you set out to do the session than do it!! It is important that you recover after the session. You don't do more than one of these per week. So plan your week with one of these, a 30-40 minute fartlek run as per the previous note, one 60-70 minute long slow run and your strength sessions in between your running days.  If you do this you will enjoy PT here. Being fit when you leave here is a great positive way to the start of hopefully a long career with the NSW Police Force.

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