Training for a 1.5 Mile Run - How to Qualify for Your Test



Let me guess... you are looking into training for a 1.5 mile run.

Because, in the not too distant future you have a test on your hands...

Maybe it is a police physical test. Maybe it is an army test. Or for another profession that requires you to have endurance and speed aplenty!

I am not going to waste your time, so let's get right into it. On this page you will get an overview of why the 1.5 mile run / 2.4km is so challenging and then we'll get into the things you need to do in your training to hit your goal.

The 1.5 Mile Run Test - Why is it So Challenging?


digital art - lady crossing finish line
So, why is the 1.5 mile run the preferred police fitness test or army physical test for so many armies and police departments around the world?

Well, 1.5 miles is long enough to really test your aerobic fitness levels. You need to have a solid endurance base to be able to run quickly for 1.5 miles. At the same time, the test requirement is difficult enough that you can't just jog the distance and be done with it. You need to develop some speed in your legs as well.

That combination of needing both endurance and speed makes it a tricky test to pass, especially if you come from a base of low fitness.

So, what do we need to do to remedy this?

Training for a 1.5 Mile Run Step 1 - Build Your Aerobic Base


Now, the first thing you should do when training for a 1.5 mile run is to start developing your aerobic base. You will want to do plenty of easy runs. An easy run is a run at a jogging pace at which you'd still be able to have a conversation with a running partner.

What we want to do with these easy runs is to get well, well beyond the 1.5 mile distance. Suppose you would be able to run 6 miles or 8 miles? Imagine how much easier that 1.5 mile test suddenly becomes?

oil painting - running around the athletics track
So, first you need to build that capacity to run for a longer period. How often and how long? A lot depends on your starting point. I like to see runners go out for at least three times per week, but depending on timelines till your test and how much your fitness needs to improve a more aggressive approach might be required.

Also check out the Base Running page to learn more about building your aerobic base.

Currently having trouble even covering 1.5 miles? Then you should check out the Beginner Running Program pages for ideas on how to build your base using a run/walk approach.

Training for a 1.5 Mile Run Step 2 - Build Your Leg Speed


As you are building your base and doing plenty of easy, slow running you would be wise to try and build / maintain your leg speed as well by doing strides at the end of your run.

What are strides?
Strides last about 20-25 seconds. You start off slowly, focusing on turning over your legs lightly and quickly. You build up your speed and for a short little while (3-5 seconds) you run at close to maximum speed, after which you drop off the speed and come to a stand still or a slow jog.

You then walk or jog for a good 90 seconds or so, and then you do another stride.

Starting off, you'd maybe do 3-4 strides and you can build this up to 6 to 8 when you get more experienced with them.

Especially when you are doing lots of slow jogging, strides are pretty important. When you do lots of slow running, your legs lose the experience of what it is like to run fast. Doing a bunch of strides at the end of an easy run is enough to "help them remember", so to say.

For more information about running strides, check out this page.

Training for a 1.5 Mile Run Step 3 - Add Faster Workouts


man in training running around the track
Once you have a solid base, you can then add speed to the mix. We don't need to go into all the specifics of why you run at each speed in this article. There are plenty of running training pages on this website you can work through to learn more, if you are interested! For now, just remember that every running speed has a specific purpose.

Key types of workouts that are important in training for a 1.5 mile run are:

Tempo running - This is the pace which you would be able to run at for about an hour. It is a strong, steady pace, but still slower than what you need to run in your 1.5 mile run test.

Interval running - This is a much faster pace, which you can only really maintain for about five minutes at a time. You run this pace in intervals (e.g. 400m repeats) and that pace is faster than your 1.5 mile run test.

Goal pace running - This is the pace of your 1.5 mile run test. Suppose you need to run 1.5 miles in 13 minutes. That translates into 2 minutes and 10 seconds per 400m (= lap of the athletics track). A decent workout to do is to try and run 6 x 400m in 2 minutes and 10 seconds with 90 seconds rest in between. Then slowly build your way up in distance per goal pace interval and reduce the time in recovery to get closer and closer to mimicking your 1.5 mile run test.

You can find more information about the different types of workouts on the Running Workouts page.

Training for a 1.5 Mile Run - Putting it All Together


I can imagine this is all a bit overwhelming.

And it is not always straightforward on how to put all the pieces together, especially if you have a very limited time until you have this police physical test / army fitness test.

If you need somebody to take away the guesswork, I can provide that support. I can write you a running program that takes into account your specific circumstances, your current starting point and the time you have available to meet your challenge. Alternatively, I can provide more hands-on coaching as well that means we are in more regular contact with each other and I can provide support and adjustments along the way.

If that is something you might be interested in, then check out my running coaching page.

Whether you want to do that or not, I wish you all the best with your training for the 1.5 mile run! I hope these running tips helped you get an idea of the type of training needed. And I hope you succeed in your 1.5 mile run test.

All the best!

1.5 Mile Test Pages You Need to Check Out

training for the 1.5 mile run
1.5 mile in 13 minutes
1.5 miles in 15 minutes
police fitness test

Have a Question about Your 1.5 Mile Run Test?

Do you have a question about your upcoming 1.5 mile run?

Ask it and I can give you advice!

IMPORTANT: Make sure you provide sufficient information. What do you want to know, what is your current training / history, recent race results, etc., etc.

The more information you provide, the better answer you get.

Questions of only 1 or 2 lines will normally be deleted because it is simply too hard to provide a good answer.

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