T Nation

Best Alternative to Running?

Hey guys,

So I am in University and looking at joining my local Reserve infantry unit while attending school (I’m in Ontario Canada). I will likely have to do the 8 week basic training this summer, so I have started to really focus on the pushups, situps, pullups, running. However, I am having some issues with tendonitis in my left achilles, running is far too painful and not advised.

My question… what can I do in the meantime to keep my conditioning up, perhaps even improve it, without further aggravating this injury? I’ve been doing the stationary bike (type you use in a spin class), body weight squats… and was thinking of trying some stairs/stair climbers. Will any of this help? Or is running the only way to improve your run?

Thanks.

You should see a doctor. I mean really basic is a shit load of marching and running, can you pass a physical?

Recumbents are your friend, if they don’t bother you, and they seem to bother very few people.

I got my three-mile time well below 18 min doing almost no real running.

Spartiates do tell, I’d love to know how you managed to run 3 miles in under 18 minutes training on a recumbent bicycle. Seriously.

[quote]Spartiates wrote:
Recumbents are your friend, if they don’t bother you, and they seem to bother very few people.

I got my three-mile time well below 18 min doing almost no real running.[/quote]

SHENANIGANS I SAY!

[quote]Enders Drift wrote:
Spartiates do tell, I’d love to know how you managed to run 3 miles in under 18 minutes training on a recumbent bicycle. Seriously.[/quote]

Recumbent and elliptical, sorry. Just did it everyday, 45min-1hour in the mornings, fairly low intensity. Doesn’t require a lot of strength or muscle to do, mostly just getting used to it and aerobic conditioning. A six min mile pace isn’t killer, deferentially aerobic range, so the big thing is aerobic conditioning more than sport specific conditioning.

Once I wanted to put some bulk on while maintaining that speed, I had to get more complicated.

[quote]sevenmoist wrote:
You should see a doctor. I mean really basic is a shit load of marching and running, can you pass a physical?[/quote]

If you are talking about my overall fitness, yes I can pass a physical. I’d be able to do 14 or so dead hang pull ups, 50-60 pushups, not sure where I am at in terms of max sit ups at the moment. I am aiming for 18-20 pull ups, 90-100 pushups, and 100 sit ups.

If I had to run the 1.5 miles (2.4km) for time right now, I could do it I’m sure. It would just hurt like hell if I went all out, and I’d risk doing further damage. In 3-4 weeks time, my foot will be feeling better. This is an old injury from submission wrestling (ankle lock), it flares up from time to time. I just want to do something that can help maintain/improve my running while not running for the time being. I hate running/cardio, so I don’t want to get used to not doing it.

[quote]R-Dub wrote:

[quote]Spartiates wrote:
Recumbents are your friend, if they don’t bother you, and they seem to bother very few people.

I got my three-mile time well below 18 min doing almost no real running.[/quote]

SHENANIGANS I SAY!
[/quote]

I believe it but not ‘‘well below 18min’’. When I firt started training, the only thing I did was running. In 3 months of running I went from totally out of shape to 16:43 min for 3,125 miles (5km) at a school race. I stopped after

[quote]JFG12 wrote:
If I had to run the 1.5 miles (2.4km) for time right now, I could do it I’m sure. It would just hurt like hell if I went all out, and I’d risk doing further damage. [/quote]

Not sure what the Canadian infantry is like, but the US Marines run a 3 mile test, and you can bet we ran more than 10 times that in the first week on Parris Island (hint: everywhere we went). Likewise, if you’re infantry anywhere in the world you’re going to be walking long distances with a large load on your back. Seriously, if this is going to be a recurring injury, I don’t know that the infantry is for you.

So, would most agree that in the meantime, using the recumbent is probably best?

[quote]JFG12 wrote:
So, would most agree that in the meantime, using the recumbent is probably best?[/quote]

Elliptical might be better if it doesn’t bother you, if not recumbent.

Recumbent bike, stationary (or actual) bike, stair master and/or elliptical will all help with your CV condition. At times when I’ve been unable to run; I’ve rotated through all of the above. Some don’t work too well depending on what hurts. Just make sure you are actually training not just cruising along. A heart rate monitor is one way to monitor your effort. You can also set a treadmill on an incline and ‘walk’ (10-15% at 3-3.5 MPH).

However, the best way to get better at running is to run. Many injuries or aggravating old ones are related to going out too fast or too long when starting up. Take a look at some of the running programs on the Cool Running website. Couch-to-5K is a great starting point for a non-runner. It seems easy but the chance of injury are low.

[quote]jasmincar wrote:
I believe it but not ‘‘well below 18min’’. When I firt started training, the only thing I did was running. In 3 months of running I went from totally out of shape to 16:43 min for 3,125 miles (5km) at a school race. I stopped after[/quote]

You went from zero training to almost being at the level of the overall winner of a (relatively) flat 5km race?

Yeah and I am proud of it. I finished second after the freak of the school who finished in 15 something.
I was running 5km every day of the week, twice a day on the weekend, pushing myself to the limit every race. I was mentally ill BTW. recently I learned that my neighbor was nicknaming me ‘‘terry fox’’. I dont know what to think about that

So I was getting emaciated and I realised that it was not the way to go. A little after I joined T-Nation and I started weight training.

Unfortunately things dont work like that in strength training

C-2 Rower - you can’t beat it. Ellipticals? WTF…

mmllcc, I have a love / hate relationship with the C2. I love the results, but I occasionally get some puke on it while lunging for the trashcan.

[quote]jasmincar wrote:
I was mentally ill BTW. [/quote]

Are you serious about having a mental illness or was this just a joke?

No shots.

I’d recommend hitting the exercise bike twice a week for high-intensity cardio, where you ride at a relaxed pace for 30 seconds, then blast up the intensity of the machine and peddle your ass off for 30… Rinse and repeat for 20 minutes…

If by 10-12 minutes you don’t feel like barfing and wondering if you can just give up, then you’re not doing it right…

In addition, after EVERY workout (weights), hit the treadmill and WALK on an incline of 5-8 degrees at a speed comfortable walk - not too brisk, not too slow that you’re able to look around behind you and check people out…

I can guarentee you will be conditioned…

The above is actually a staple in all my fat-cutting phases…

[quote]Smallfry69 wrote:
I’d recommend hitting the exercise bike twice a week for high-intensity cardio, where you ride at a relaxed pace for 30 seconds, then blast up the intensity of the machine and peddle your ass off for 30… Rinse and repeat for 20 minutes…

If by 10-12 minutes you don’t feel like barfing and wondering if you can just give up, then you’re not doing it right…

In addition, after EVERY workout (weights), hit the treadmill and WALK on an incline of 5-8 degrees at a speed comfortable walk - not too brisk, not too slow that you’re able to look around behind you and check people out…

I can guarentee you will be conditioned…

The above is actually a staple in all my fat-cutting phases…[/quote]

I’ve been doing the treadmill at max incline at a 3.5 pace for 45min-hour. I am interested in the conditioning part, not so much the fat loss. I mean I know doing this type of work I am going to lose some fat, but at 5’9 and 152lbs, fat is not my worst enemy! I’d like to be bigger/stronger, but from what I hear, that won’t do me much good in boot camp. Apparently boot camp is as catabolic as it gets. So, I figure I’ll just do what I need to do to pump out pushups, situps, pullups, and good run times. Then I’ll go back to doing something like WS4SB3.

[quote]JFG12 wrote:

[quote]Smallfry69 wrote:
I’d recommend hitting the exercise bike twice a week for high-intensity cardio, where you ride at a relaxed pace for 30 seconds, then blast up the intensity of the machine and peddle your ass off for 30… Rinse and repeat for 20 minutes…

If by 10-12 minutes you don’t feel like barfing and wondering if you can just give up, then you’re not doing it right…

In addition, after EVERY workout (weights), hit the treadmill and WALK on an incline of 5-8 degrees at a speed comfortable walk - not too brisk, not too slow that you’re able to look around behind you and check people out…

I can guarentee you will be conditioned…

The above is actually a staple in all my fat-cutting phases…[/quote]

I’ve been doing the treadmill at max incline at a 3.5 pace for 45min-hour. I am interested in the conditioning part, not so much the fat loss. I mean I know doing this type of work I am going to lose some fat, but at 5’9 and 152lbs, fat is not my worst enemy! I’d like to be bigger/stronger, but from what I hear, that won’t do me much good in boot camp. Apparently boot camp is as catabolic as it gets. So, I figure I’ll just do what I need to do to pump out pushups, situps, pullups, and good run times. Then I’ll go back to doing something like WS4SB3.
[/quote]

That’s kind of slow, even with the incline.

I really look at is as having two separate aspects. There’s the cardio conditioning, and anything that keeps you breathing hard for 45 min, will do that.

Then there’s your legs. They needn’t only be strong, but they need to get used to pumping at pace. So running on an elliptical vs. real running, in my experience, is a wash for conditioning (test it on yourself, maybe you’re different), but you do have to get used to maintaining pace near where you want to be, even if your adding steep or resistance.

Also, you will not get bigger or stronger at boot camp, so get that out of your mind. The way you’ll eat there is like the 1950s food pyramid on retard-steroids. Like 80% simple carbs, a little protein, and good luck finding decent fat.