T Nation

Help a Slow Bastard Out

I never post here. I’m a meat head at heart. I train with Ed Coan and love powerlifting. However, I have to change my ways pretty soon here.

I’m applying to West Point and for an Army ROTC scholarship (as a back up to West Point). One of the requirements for the physical fitness tests is a 1 mile run for time (West Point) and a 2 mile run for time (ROTC scholarship). For the ROTC scholarship, the recommended time for a 2 mile run is 15:54.

I have no problem with the sit ups, pull ups, push ups, and basketball throw portions of the PFT. My only problem is the running part. So here’s my stats:

I’m 17 years old
I’m 5’7"
I’m 195 lbs. at about 10-12% bodyfat, so I’m not a lard ass.
My best mile time is 7:05, this was done about 2 weeks ago.

My problem is, I can’t hardly run more than a mile without dying afterwards. For those of you who are in the military or have any ideas on how the hell to get me into better shape, how the hell do I progress? Right now, I don’t know what the fuck to do.

I’d like to get my mile down to 6:15-6:30. The recommended 2 mile time for the ROTC scholarship is 15:54.

So, the big question is: WHAT THE HELL DO I DO?

I take these tests in the beginning of August, so I have about 3 and a half months to work with.

Does anybody have any ideas? Anything is appreciated. Thanks!

CS

You can’t just go out and run a mile to be a good miler. So you can’t just go out and run 2 miles to be a good 2 miler.

  1. Start running for time. Warm up and do a 5 minute run rest then do another.

  2. Run shorter, harder. Do a work out of 1 mile, then rest and do 1 800 then do 2 400s and then do 6 100s.

  3. Monday Wednesday Friday. One week do Monday 5 mins, Wednesday 10 mins and Friday 15 mins.
    Then the next week to 10 mins Monday, 15 mins on Wednesday and on Friday to 20 mins.

Do things that are mentally tougher then the wall you hit after a 1 mile run.

Do the 100 burpee challenge when you get good at that do the 300. First few workouts you’ll learn to pace your self but make a game of it where you keep track of how long it takes and you try to make a pattern you can follow to get the most done in the least amount of time. Start with 50 and you’ll easily see how you can shave 2,3,4 minutes off your time by stacking how many reps you do at a time in a way that gets you doing 50 in the least amount of time.

Just for clarification, is 15:54 the cutoff time or is it seen as a ‘good’ time?

For improvement over shorter tested distances like this, I have always found a combination of 3 sessions a week to be effective:

1: short interval sprints, something like 8-10 x 40-80m

2: a slow steady state run of slightly further than your target distance, here somewhere around 3 miles. This is done ideally with some gentle hills.

3: (Most important) 400m repeats run at your target pace
So for a 2 miler this would be 8x400m run in 1:51 or less for a 15:00 2 mile. Time your rest periods and take as much as needed to maintain the pace the first time, then decrease your rest eah week until you are running 2 miles at goal pace in one stretch.

Since you already know the date of your test, you could work backwards with the 400m repeats. Set a goal time, then add 5-10 seconds rest each week to give you a fixed progression.

If your target is to run a sub 16 minute 2 mile, focussing on 1 mile + 1.5 mile intervals at a slightly faster pace than your current best 2 mile time should do it.

In much the same way if you want to boost your 5 rep max on bench press, hitting a new 3x3 set/rep max is often a better approach than just tirelessly attempting the same old goal ad nauseum.

If you can work your way up to being able to run 2x 1 mile intervals at 6:30 + maybe 2x 1.5 mile intervals in a lil under 11 minutes you should be well on your way to being to comfortably pass your running test requirement.

Of course, actually running 2-2+ miles can also be useful in terms of building a sense of pace, stamina, mental toughness etc so, running slightly more than 2+ miles at least once every 10 days or so can also be useful.

my buddy stewsmith.com

[quote]GorillaMon wrote:
Of course, actually running 2-2+ miles can also be useful in terms of building a sense of pace, stamina, mental toughness etc so, running slightly more than 2+ miles at least once every 10 days or so can also be useful. [/quote]

I agree with this. I’ve found doing some distance work builds up mental toughness, good running form while fatigued, and most importantly, a base of conditioning. I think it’s a good idea to run 2-4 miles on a regular basis if you want to improve your stamina.

Got to throw this out there. Have you been regularly running? I ask because the last thing anyone wants to hear that after three or four week of running, you end up having shin splints.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/shin-splints/DS00271/DSECTION=risk-factors

Gotta love: “You’re in military training”

If you’re starting a new running program, alternate days for the first two weeks. Then, take the third week off and do joint friendly cardio such as swimming. Access your legs before continuing to run some more. You don’t want to end up having to do your test with shin splints. Consider the first month your break in period.

Do nothing for 2 to 3 weeks. That fasting only 2 cup of water a day is allowed will make you much lighter. Than fresh veggies and fresh fruits will make you even lighter while you run daily and 2 miles will feel like 400 feet. I am real serious. This is your sure ticket.

[quote]BHappy wrote:
Do nothing for 2 to 3 weeks. That fasting only 2 cup of water a day is allowed will make you much lighter. Than fresh veggies and fresh fruits will make you even lighter while you run daily and 2 miles will feel like 400 feet. I am real serious. This is your sure ticket.[/quote]

Your a fucking idiot

[quote]BHappy wrote:
Do nothing for 2 to 3 weeks. That fasting only 2 cup of water a day is allowed will make you much lighter. Than fresh veggies and fresh fruits will make you even lighter while you run daily and 2 miles will feel like 400 feet. I am real serious. This is your sure ticket.[/quote]

This is a recipe for a deadlift PR.

CS

Some of the advice in here is solid mate but I’ll try to expand a bit. In the same way that frequency, intensity etc applies to powerlifting, so too it does to running. How often a week do you run? As roon12 suggested, around 3 times a week is a solid frequency although, as aforementioned, you’ve got to be wary of shin splints.

With this in mind, purchase some good quality running shoes and try to keep two of your sessions a week off road i.e. grass track, moorland etc. With regards the loading, I don’t really have much to add. A (comparatively) longer distance run, an intervals run and a specific distance focused run i.e. 1 or 2 miler will be sound.

The longer sessions will build a solid aerobic base and some ad hoc mental toughness, the 1 or 2 mile sessions will develop the element of specificity for that particular distance and the intervals will push up your anaerobic threshold, enabling you to run at a faster pace without tapping into your anaerobic system ( in running/cycling we call it ‘dipping into the red zone’). If you want any more advice just PM me. I’m not a coach but I know a fair deal about it.

[quote]CSEagles1694 wrote:

Does anybody have any ideas? Anything is appreciated. Thanks!

CS[/quote]

Map out the distance you need to run say 5 miles. Map it out in a place where there is a fence line or a power line running beside your run. Houses will do but you want the distance between each object the same. I used power poles. I started running one power pole and walking three, that was pushing it for me then. I ran the five miles in this walk most run little fashion. Each week I would lengthen my short run by one power pole and walk the same amount of poles. This means in four weeks I ran four power poles and walked three, in ten weeks I ran ten power poles and walked three. I do not recall how fast I got to the point I ran the entire five miles but it was so easy I felt like I was cheating. You could do this easily and quickly. Use five miles then when you run the five, add a mile every month until you are where you want to be in distance. Good luck.

For two mile run, in your case the most effective method to improve time is interval running: start with running for about 400 meters for warm op, then for another 100 meters or even slightly longer run at about 90 % of your maximum speed, then slow down but don’t stop running, allow recovery while still maintaining decent speed according to your physical conditioning, when you feel that you are just about to recover make another speed up at your 90% max, then the same recovery while still maintaining decent speed according to your conditioning.

During two mile distance you have to make no less than five such speed ups. It’s very intensive. I don’t recommend this method if you have any heart problems. But it works, It worked for me. And I was given this advise from a competitive long distance runner. He advised me to use equipment to measure my pulse between the speed ups, but I just listened to my body. You have to train this way at least tree times a week.

Don’t run two days in a row. Every work out try to shorten recovery time between speed ups, this is important for the progress. After about two weeks of such training run two miles without interval speed ups but just as fast as you can for a time like a test. I am sure there will be a noticeable difference. I remember when I was 18 my two mile time was always around 12 min. but after about two months of such training I was able to run 10:55 !!!

With your current weight most likely you won’t be able to be very good at one, or two mile run, but this training system will help you to be better than you are now. Always remember for the first about 400 meters not to run like crazy which most guys do during such tests:) two mile is a long enough distance and there is enough time… while if you run like crazy at the very beginning you will hit your anaerobic threshold very quickly and then you are useless for the rest of the run… it doesn’t mean you have to start slowly though, just don’t run like crazy at the beginning.

Well, you can always walk for 1 or 2 minutes after your first mile, then do the second mile.

you could even do it again…after the second mile rest for 2 minutes and do a third mile.

Later you just shorten those rest times and eventually eliminate them.

But really…you have 3 months to get ready for 2 miles? You’re 17! 2 miles is really not far…you said you can do a mile in under 7 so you should have no problem at all.

Heck, I did a half marathon back in December and I’m 39 years old and 255 pounds.

Just run and don’t worry about it , start running 3 miles , and intervals really helped me get my 2 mile time from 17:00 to 12:30.
:

[quote]TisDrew wrote:

[quote]GorillaMon wrote:
Of course, actually running 2-2+ miles can also be useful in terms of building a sense of pace, stamina, mental toughness etc so, running slightly more than 2+ miles at least once every 10 days or so can also be useful. [/quote]

I agree with this. I’ve found doing some distance work builds up mental toughness, good running form while fatigued, and most importantly, a base of conditioning. I think it’s a good idea to run 2-4 miles on a regular basis if you want to improve your stamina.[/quote]

This is something I wish I knew before I went into basic.

Even though we never ran more than 3 miles on a training run, those runs were of a much faster pace than I was comfortable with.

I remember before I left I’d jog at a comfortable pace for 12 to 15 minutes and that did not prepare me for the runs in the army.

If I could send a message back to myself in 1992 it would be to run 30 minutes comfortably on Monday, 30 minutes at a faster pace on Wednesday (maybe an out-n-back…which is run away from home for 16 minutes and make it back at or before 30 minutes) and Friday would be 2 miles as fast as possible, because that’s what we’re tested on.

But in there every couple of weeks I should have tried 45 minutes to an hour…not because it would necessarily make me faster or improve my endurance that much…but knowing I was capable of running an hour would have helped me mentally some days.

That and do 25 push ups and sit ups during every commercial break during Star Trek: The Next Generation.

And maybe a 2 hour ruck march every Sunday.