This ‘300 Workout’ Also Benefits Those Seeking to Improve Their Running Times

Recruits run during a physical training session at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego.
Recruits with Bravo Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, run during a physical training session at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, April 12, 2020. (Cpl. Brooke C. Woods/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Are you struggling to maintain your muscular stamina and improve your running scores? Many people preparing for military calisthenics and running fitness tests do. Especially if you are a former strength athlete and running or higher-repetition activities were not part of your athletic history, military fitness tests such as pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups/plank and timed runs of 1.5-3 miles will require more practice than you think.

You can improve by adding volume and multiple sets of goal-paced running to build endurance and the pace you need to handle future tests, boot camps, military training and special ops selection.

The workout below is scalable, and you can make it easier with 400-meter runs, reducing the weight, removing the weight vests or decreasing the repetitions. This "300 Workout" is a choice of six exercises done for 50 repetitions each. Here is another 300 Workout option created from the Spartan 300.

Run a one-mile warm-up and stretch as needed.

300 PT/Weights + 800-Meter Runs

  • Run 800 meters at goal pace
  • 50 weight-vest pull-ups
  • Run 800 meters at goal pace
  • 50 weight-vest dips
  • Run 800 meters at goal pace
  • 50 push presses (50-100 pounds)
  • Run 800 meters at goal pace
  • 50 kettlebell rows/arm (50-75 pounds)
  • Run 800 meters at goal pace
  • 50 hanging knee-ups
  • Run 800-meter at goal pace
  • 50 weight-vest push-ups or bench press (50%-75% of body weight)

This workout is designed to accumulate 50 repetitions of each exercise one at a time, then go for the 800-meter run. You can do 50 straight repetitions in a single set or break up the repetitions into as many sets as needed. Rest between each set and the transition to the runs. Work to maintain the run at your goal pace, if possible. If you find the first 400 meters difficult, trudge through it as best you can and try to do a negative split (go faster) on the second 400.

Selecting Weights

You can use a 10- to 20-pound weight vest, a barbell, ammo can or sandbag for the push press in the 50- to 100-pound range and dumbbell or kettlebell rows in the 50- to 75-pound range. You may find you can go heavier on the push-ups and do a 30- to 40-pound weight vest or bench press with 50%-75% of your body weight on the bar. If any of this is too hard or too easy, adjust accordingly.

This workout is brutal. The 300 reps alone will challenge most athletes, and the 6 x 800-meter runs at goal pace is no joke, either. To figure out your goal pace, take your current timed run score. Say you run two miles in 13 minutes. Your current mile pace is 6:30. Your new goal pace is six minutes. Your goal for these 800-meter (half-mile) runs is now three minutes.

Obviously, the run will be different (faster/slower) but equally challenging if you set a goal pace 30-60 seconds faster than your current pace. You may not be able to run a full mile at that pace yet, but you maybe can for 400-800 meters.

Cardio/Mobility Cooldown

Here is a short "Mobility Day" version that makes for an excellent cooldown option after any workout. If doing high miles of running, faster running, and higher repetitions, this cardio/mobility cooldown is helpful.

Repeat two times.

  • Bike, row or other cardio for five minutes
  • Stretch/foam-roll for five minutes

Focus on your breathing during the cooldown's cardio and stretching/massage portion. Box-breathing or deep breathing can help you relax and reduce your heart rate and other stress responses.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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