How To Train For The Army Ten Miler

Every year in the fall, there is a race that starts at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and ends in the same location.

That race is called the Army Ten Miler.

Many people enter, but some are not able to finish.


Normally, it is because their training is not up to par.

There are some rules that you should know immediately.

  • Runners have to maintain a fifteen minute per mile pace or better.
  • Runners must complete the race within two hours and thirty minutes to qualify for an official race time and result.
  • Slower runners will be turned and not allowed to complete the race.
  • You are not allowed to have listening devices, cameras, weapons, etc. on the racecourse.
  • You are allowed to have cellphones, heart rate monitors, water bottles, GPS watches, medical kits, etc.
  • Runners must have a registered race bib.

I have decided to look at three various runner training methods for the Army Ten Miler.

These runners all have done well in this race before, so their training methods must work.

I suggest you use either one of the training methods or a variant.

Let’s take a look at these Army Ten Miler training methods.

You can find more information on these trainers by following the links in the reference section at the end of this post.

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The Fitness Motivator has 2 different Ten Miler training programs.

One is for experienced runners who run at least ten miles per week.

The other is for those who are just starting out running.

Here are the two Ten Miler training plans:

New runners

This schedule is set for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The other days should be for rest.

Week #1 – Monday, Wednesday and Friday: alternate walk/jog one hundred meters each for one mile.

Week #2 – Monday, Wednesday and Friday: alternate walk/jog two hundred meters each for one and one quarter miles.

Week #3 – Monday, Wednesday and Friday: alternate walk/jog three hundred meters each for one and one half miles.

Week #4 – Monday, Wednesday and Friday: walk one quarter mile, jog one half mile. Keep doing the same for one and three quarters miles.

Week #5 – Monday: jog one half mile, walk one quarter mile. Keep the same pace for two miles. Wednesday: jog three quarters mile, walk one half mile. Follow that method for two miles. Friday: jog all two miles.

Week #6 – Monday: jog one half mile, walk one quarter mile, jog three quarters mile, walk one quarter mile. Keep that same program for two and one quarter miles. Wednesday: jog one mile, walk one quarter mile. Follow that for two and one quarter miles. Friday: jog two and one quarter miles

All weeks following, add one quarter mile each day to your jog.

Experienced runners

This schedule is for each day of the week and is a 10 week training schedule to prepare you for the Army Ten Miler.

Week #1 – Monday: jog 3 miles (comfortable pace), Tuesday: rest, Wednesday: same as Monday, Thursday: rest, Friday: same as Monday, Saturday: rest, Sunday: 4 miles (slow pace).

Week #2 – Follow the same pattern as week 1 but add 1 more mile to the Sunday run.

Week #3 – Follow the same pattern again but add another mile to Sunday making it 6 miles.

Week #4 – Monday: jog 4 miles (comfortable pace), Tuesday: rest, Wednesday: jog 3 miles comfortable pace, Thursday: rest, Friday: same as Wednesday, Saturday: rest, Sunday: a slow 7 miles.

Week #5 – Follow the same schedule as week #4 but make your Wednesday jog a brisk pace and add a mile Sunday.

Week #6 – Same as week #5 only making Sunday 9 miles.

Weeks # 7 & 8 – The same but add a mile making it 4 on Wednesday and a mile each week to Sunday so week 8 will be 11 miles.

Week #9 – Follow the same as weeks 7 & 8, but on Sunday just run a brisk 5 miles.

Week #10 – Monday, Wednesday and Thursday: Jog 4 miles (comfortable pace), Tuesday, Friday and Saturday: rest, Sunday: run 10 miles.

Katie at Bamrbands offers this training regiment.

All weeks: rest on Sunday and Thursday and rest also on Monday of week #1 and Friday and Saturday of the final week.

All weeks: dance cross-training on Tuesday and Friday and adding Wednesday on the last week.

All Mondays run 3 to 4 miles except week #1.

On Wednesdays of the first 6 weeks run 3 to 4 miles, and the last 5 weeks, 5 miles with the final week being dance cross-training.

On Saturdays week #1 – run 3 miles, week #2 – run 4 miles, week #3 – run 5 miles, week #4 – run 6 miles, week #5 – run 3 to 5 miles, week #6 – run 7 miles, week #7 – run 8 miles, week #8 – run 6 to 8 miles, week #9 – run 9 miles, week #10 – run 10 miles, week #11 – run 6 to 8 miles

I saved the best for last

Army Colonel Liam Collins is the coach of the All-Army Cross Country Team.

He has trained top finishers since 2009 in the Army Ten Miler.

Colonel Collins does not lay out a prescribed training plan like the 2 before.

He recognizes that everyone is different, and training needs to fit each person’s lifestyle.

But he does provide some basic tips that can drive you to properly train for the Army Ten Miler.

I will attempt to condense these tips into an easy to understand way:

  1. Give yourself plenty of time. You don’t want to start training for the Army Ten Miler 2 weeks before the start of the race. Make it a 3 or 4 month training program. It isn’t about running every single day of the week. If you do that, you are not giving your body the rest it needs.
  2. One long run per week. You need to schedule one day that you will run a long distance. Every 2 weeks increase that distance. But, only 1 per week and run it at a slow and steady pace.
  3. Increase and decrease. Colonel Collins mentioned increasing that long run every 2 weeks. Many others increase it weekly. He uses a different approach. If you ran a 5 mile on this week, only run 4 miles the next week and the week after, run 6 miles. Use that same system with your shorter runs. This gives your body short rests.
  4. Use a mid-week fast run. It doesn’t need to be a sprint, but run a fast pace. Some run a slow pace for a short distance and then sprint the same distance and back to the slow pace. Back and forth for ½ to 1 hour.
  5. Take days off. As mentioned earlier, your body needs breaks. The Colonel gives an example week as: Sunday – long run, Monday – day off, Tuesday – just an easy run, Wednesday – high intensity run, Thursday – day off, Friday – easy run, Saturday – day off.
  6. Warm up and stretch. This is very important. Doing jumping jacks, stretching exercises, push-ups and such will get your muscles warmed up and ready for the runs each day. It is wise to set a warm up regiment each day; even on days off.
  7. Cool down. This is also very important. After a run you need to do the slow cool down. This is simply jogging slow, walking and stretching to allow your muscles to come back to normal slowly.
  8. Body fuel. A huge breakfast before a long run is not wise, but neither is no breakfast. The Colonel recommends a bowl of cereal or a half of a bagel. He also recommends taking a sports bar with you just in case you feel hunger pangs. Be sure you have plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. After your run, a bottle of chocolate milk or a high protein drink is a great choice.
  9. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. He also pointed out that it can be inevitable that you may have to park 2 miles from the race, or the weather could be terrible. If you are set for any of these, you will not freak out and lose your calm. You will still run a great race because your mind will be in line.

As the Colonel says, nearly anyone can train and successfully complete the Army Ten Miler.

As long as you have the proper mindset and prepare yourself, the Army Ten Miler is not a hard race.

Final Thoughts

In 2015, Paul Chelimo of Beaverton, Oregon ran it for a 1st place finish with a time of 48:19.

That is quite the time.

The record time was in 2009 when Alene Reta ran it in 46:59.

That same year the female record was set at 55:25 by Samia Akbar.

Have you raced in the Army Ten Miler?

If you have, please tell us when and how you did.

You can also share with us if you plan on running.

Thanks and have a great day.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes

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