IST Run Workout | How To Train for Marines Boot Camp

How To Train for USMC Boot Camp

A lot of recruits prep for boot camp training by setting their targets on passing the initial strength test (IST). Well, that’s certainly something to think about, but what you really want to be training for is getting your body ready for extensive, rigorous training. In other words, don’t aim for the bare minimum requirements that allow you to participate in recruit training. You should really be preparing to get your body ready for the more long-term goal of really completing boot camp with the best results possible.

How To Train for Boot Camp Running

To properly train for boot camp, you really want to be working more towards the physical fitness test (PFT) that is tested on day 60 of boot camp, rather than the IST test, which simply gets you in.

The PFT test is comprised of three tests and based on your performance, you get points up to 300. The lowest passing score is 150, with minimums for each of the three tests. Males recruits must run 3 miles within 28 minutes to pass and female recruits must run 3 miles in at least 31 minutes to pass.

If you can and you have enough time before shipping out, aim to regularly run 4 miles. That way, you’ll definitely be able to complete the minimum on the physical fitness test, and you’ll already be quite used to doing even more than that. That’s ideal though; don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t there yet. Absolutely get yourself to do at least the IST minimums, and from there, just keep trying to go longer or faster. If you can only do the bare minimum, your chances of being held back for additional physical training is a lot more likely in boot camp, and it isn’t fun to not graduate with your platoon.

See our initial post on Marine Boot Camp Workouts.

12 thoughts on “IST Run Workout | How To Train for Marines Boot Camp”

  1. howdy my name is jacob i called 1800 marines the other day i am 16 the guy siad you have to be 17 to get a recriter and you can join the mariens if you one have a highschool diploma or two have atleast 15 high school credits me im joining when im 17 thatsbprob not a smart idea not finishing highschool but i donno

  2. I am a former Career Planner in the USMC, and to finally put a stop to the scuttlebutt, YES you may enlist on a GED. Period!

    1. Yes you may have a GED, but that is not all you need to get in. If you have a GED you will also need college credits. These rules change all the time but I would definitely talk to a recruiter and get the best answer. When I was a recruiter it was 15 college credits and a GED.

  3. Any teenager who graduates High School or young adult wanting to join the USMC, I must insist you get physically ready for the rigors of boot camp. My main suggestion is running to get your lung capacity up, a lot of push-ups and pull-ups for upper body strength and crunches for the mid-section. You’ll need to do these for the PFT and for everyday PT. Start slow with the running and build up to running 4 miles each time. The Drill Instructors have less tendencies to pick on you if you are fit. I know.

  4. my son wants to join the marines he is seventeen and has made his mind up that he wants to join the military and the marines is his number one choice my question is can he join with a ged? he is a smart kid school was just a place he did not need to be atleast not this one trouble always just seem to find him made good grades just would get bored no challenge and so he would find other things to occupy him now he knows what all he has done still will tell you getting away from those he was around are what was and is best for him and the military is where he wants to be.

    1. No he can not. I have made my decision about joining the marines and they said that if you don’t graduate high school then you do not go to boot camp. You need a high school diploma

      1. Actually poolee… Yes… you can join with just a GED. However, it isnt ideal. my Rack mate 4 years ago had only a GED, but it took him significantly longer.

    1. For enlistment, you must be between 17 and 29 years of age. Also, you need to be either working towards or already have earned a high school diploma. Officer candidates must be either working towards or have earned a Bachelors degree.

      1. Greetings:
        I am a 50-something-year-old mother of two sons in college. I’m working a 2nd novel in which my hero is an 18-year-old man who enlists in the Marines. I’ve trolled through a number of websites to gain some knowledge about the process, but I would love to speak to someone who has experienced boot camp first hand. Any suggestions or help would be highly appreciated.
        Margot Calabrese (

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