The use of a planned and structured program will help to improve your cardiovascular fitness and running performance. The minimum requirement for a firefighter is a score of 9.6 on the shuttle run. To achieve this standard on the test, it is important to train with moderate and high intensities. The days of long, slow distance running to improve aerobic capacity are out-dated with research backing this up.
The shuttle run is a multi-staged, shuttle-based, aerobic capacity test. If you’re going to train and be well prepared for such a test, you need a training program that mimics these demands as well as the tactical knowledge and practice at doing the test.
The running programs are split into three different levels based on ability. These programs are general in nature and are not a “how to pass” plan. You must consider the amount of running that works best for you to ensure success in your shuttle run test. Some candidates will need to use all of the sessions in a program to improve their running up to minimum standard, while other candidates will benefit from 1-2 running sessions a week and incorporating more strength training into their week. You are encouraged to use what best works for you and your needs
Running Program #1 – The Beginner Program
Program #1 expects that you aren't currently running. You would most likely finish this program running 1km in 5 to 7 minutes. Generally speaking, for many, overcoming the first kilometre is the hardest. There is an abundance of couch to 5km programs available on the internet but very few that focus on the first kilometre.
Running Program #2 – The Intermediate Program
Program #2 expects that you can run 1km in less than 7mins. This program utilizes a 3-speed running method (jog, run & stride). A jog is typically speed ~40%, a run is a speed ~60% and a stride is a speed ~80%. This approach works best once you are already comfortable running a kilometre and has been proven through research to improve running speed, which is important to pass the shuttle run.
Running Program #3 – The Advanced Program
Program #3 is for experienced runners who run regularly. Again, this utilises the 3-speed running method but has an increase in the overall volume which is suited to those with a solid running base.
It is important to note the use of rest while running. Some of the best runners in the world do not run on consecutive days. You should allow your body to rest and recover between runs and it is recommended you take 24-48hrs between running sessions.