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Run with the Sun!!
Stew Smith's Solstice Running Plan

For the past several years, I have started an outdoor running program as the weather breaks from Winter to Spring.  This running plan works as the sun rises in the morning prior to work or school.  Did you know we are about 65% more likely to accomplish a workout if done in the morning hours before your day truly begins?  As you know, life gets in the way in the early evenings and workouts can get replaced with extended meetings and precious family time.  This plan is great for any level of fitness and the goal is to progress as the days get longer with your walking, running, biking, or other exercise plan.  Here is how the Solstice Exercise Plan works:

Three-to-four days a week you wake up and start warming up and running about 20-30 minutes before the sun rises.  Usually you have about 20-30 minutes of what in the Navy we called Nautical Twilight or Nautical Dawn.  It is the time in the day and night when the sun has set (or not risen) but there is still light for about 20-30 minutes.  The only thing you have to do is set a stop time to the workout that is suitable for your fitness level and keep that standard through the 24 week cycle in order to get to school, work or other commitments on time.

For instance, I like to swim at 6:45 am (when the pool opens) nearly on a daily basis during the week.  So, I have been starting the run part of the workout about 20-30 minutes before sunrise time which in March is about 6:50am.  This gives me a starting running plan run workout of 15-20 minutes where we usually get in at least 2 miles done before it is time to swim.  I have been running most of the winter so I am not starting out running this week.  If you are beginning a running plan, start out by walking for a few weeks and then start adding some running using the logical progression of the sun.  Or check out the Beginning Running Plan and walk a little / run a little using driveways or telephone poles as intervals.  If on a treadmill, just run for 30 seconds / walk 30 seconds until you build up to fully running for 15 minutes.

Since it is after the Winter Solstice (Dec 20), each day gets longer in daylight by 1-2 minutes everyday until the longest day of the year June 20-21 (Summer Solstice - our PEAK week).  We build up each week until we peak during the Summer Solstice and have a big event like a triathlon, or half marathon, or something challenging.  Usually our total workout (run, swim, weights or calisthenics lasts 2-3 hours).  From this point, we repeat in reverse order as now the days are getting shorter everyday until it is winter Dec 20 again.

 I am sure this workout will not apply to many as the time constraints of work or school or family will cause early morning workouts to be challenging.  But you can always jump into the plan especially during the mid summer time when the daylight starts as early as 5:00am.  The plan does require you to go to bed a bit earlier every other week if you want to be able to receive the recovery benefits of sleeping a full night’s sleep.   See Sleep Article

Here is my workout chart you can use as a sample guide for the Solstice Running plan that my workout group start the week of March 20, 2009:. (Spring or Vernal Equinox)

  Weeks 1 -24

Start Time

Stop Time

1

24

6:30am

6:45am

2

23

6:30am

6:45am

3

22

6:20am

6:45am

4

21

6:20am

6:45am

5

20

6:10am

6:45am

6

19

6:10am

6:45am

7

18

6:00am

6:45am

8

17

6:00am

6:45am

9

16

5:45am

6:45am

10

15

5:30am

6:45am

11

14

5:30am

6:45am

12

*13

5:15am

6:45am

 

Another way to look at the intensity / time curve is the picture on the below the time chart:

  •  
  • * Once you reach week 12, you repeat in reverse order until you end where you started off. 
  • * At 6:45 I continue exercise with additional PT and Swim workouts see ideas

 

Break up the workouts too as you have more time to play with.  Once a week go for a longer distance run, but the other two – three running days add in some sprints, intervals, goal pace runs, and even some leg PT at regular time intervals to break up the monotony of just running long slow distance runs.  See the running plans on the StewSmith Fitness Article archive for running workout ideas.

At week 24, you need to decide what exercise routine is next as the days are shorter.  We usually start lifting weight more and swimming more as a way to break up the training plan and recover from all the miles of impact we placed on our bodies.  See The Advanced Weights / PT Workout (Fall / Winter Weight Gain Cycle)

Please keep the emails coming and follow our group on Twitter if you are interested in forming your own group workouts.  

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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. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy
lifestyle - check out the StewSmith.com
Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at StewSmith.com.

 To contact Stew with your comments and questions, just e-mail him


Books, eBooks, DVDs

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Published Books / DVDs / APPs

Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness      |    More Info     |  Book / DVD
Maximum Fitness - CrossTraining     |    More Info     |  Book only
The Special Operations Workout     |   More Info     |     Book only
The SWAT Workout - From Recruit to SWAT      |  More Info    |  Book Only
The Combat Swimmer Stroke Video     |  More Info   |  Download MP4
The Pre-Habit Workout     |  More Info  |  DVD only
New Fitness APPs Navy SEAL, FBI, Pushup. Pullups   |  More Info    |  APPS

Coming Soon - Navy SEAL Fitness with Weight Training

The Complete List of Stew Smith's eBooks / Books:

* NO EBOOK READER REQUIRED  |  READ WITH ADOBE ACROBAT READER

Fitness for All Levels of Fitness

The 90 Day Beginner Guide to Fitness    |  More Info  |  eBook, Book

Reclaim Your Life - The Erin O'Neill Program     |  More Info   eBook only

Veteran's Fitness - Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach     |  More Info   eBook only

The Diabetic Prevention Workout   |  More Info   |   eBook only 

Advanced Maintenance and Recovery Program   |  More Info   |  eBook only

The TRX Workout eBook     |  More Info   eBook only

NEW - Circuit Training 101 eBook      |  More Info   eBook only

NEW Obstacle Course Race eBook      |  More Info   eBook only


The Special Forces Physical Fitness Workouts

 

Combat Conditioning Workout       |  More Info  |  eBook, Book
 

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1:  Beginner       |  More Info  |    eBook, Book
 

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3:  Intermediate     |  More Info   eBook, Book

 

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT      |  More Info   eBook, Book


Navy SWCC Workout       |  More Info    |    eBook, Book

 

Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout  | More Info SF /  Ranger  eBook, Book

 

USMC RECON Workout       |  More Info  |  eBook, Book

 

Air Force PJ / CCT Workout      |  More Info  |  eBook, Book

 

The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Workout      |  More Info   eBook, Book

 

The Army Air Assault School Workout     More Info   eBook only

 

The Army Airborne Workout     More Info   eBook only

 

NEW - Upper Body Round Robin (UBRR)    More Info   eBook only

 

The OCS, ROTC, Service Academy, & Bootcamp Workouts

The USMC IST and PFT Workout      More Info   eBook only

 

USMC OCS / TBS Workout       |  More Info   eBook, Book

 

The Service Academy Workout     More Info   eBook, Book

 

Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Bootcamp Workout   More Info   eBook, Book

 

The Army OCS and PFT Workout    More Info   eBook, Book

 

NEW Army PRT and Combat Readiness Test Workout    More Info   eBook only

 

The PFT Bible - Military / Police Standard PFT    |  More Info   eBook, Book

 


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Test Workouts

 

The FBI Academy / PFT Prep Workout (Vol 1 and 2)      |  More Info   eBook, Book

 

The DEA Prep Workout      More Info   eBook only

 

The FLETC Prep Workout - Ace the PEB      More Info   eBook, Book

 

The PFT Bible - Military / Police Standard PFT      |  More Info   eBook, Book

 

The Fire Fighter Workout       |  More Info   eBook, Book

 


 

 

 

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