View Full Version : A month of punishement

10-21-2008, 12:48 PM
And than we should know.

As you may remember I had been running with my daughter, working on getting ready for a PT test. Well she kinda whimped out on me and thus I myself quite running. Long story short I had the PT test the other day and they either laid the course out about a minute too long or it took me a minute longer to run two miles than what they expect.

Being as I'm beyond 20 years and can retire, the National Guard feels like that they will only keep me around if I'm good enough to warrent being around. The Qualitative Retention Board (QRB) meets in Janurary and my packet has to be sent up by next month. We don't want to send my packet up with a sub-standarad (i.e. failing) PT score, so we are going to wait till next month and I will retake the PT test. BTW once the board meets and if they decieded not to let me extend there is no choice nor no appeals, I will be forced to retire.

So with a month to go and a minute to make up I will be pushing myself pretty hard. Truthfully a minute in 2 miles is not much. That equates to 15 seconds every half mile (see I can do math). So I'm not as concerened as you may expect. Just a note the push ups and sit ups are not a problem, it is just I don't run enough and I struggle every year with the run. Also note that with what little running I had done I had also managed to already knock a minute off, so no worries. Anyway if they make me retire so be it, I've given them 23 years of good solid service.

So my plan is to punish my body every other day until I have chopped a min of 1 minute off that time. I ran the PT test on Friday and than I went out Sunday and ran on my own.

I"m changing my running plan from what it was before. Before I was working mainly on distance and endurance, but not working enough, with some wind sprints occasionaly.

The new plan involves starting out the run at a faster pace and maintaining the pace as long as physiclly possible and than slowing to an endurance pace. At the end of the run I will walk out the run like normal, but instead of quitting there I will run my running course again although I may cut out the cul 'de sac runs and run just the main roads. After I do that run I will walk it out and than do a shorter run once again.

I base this training schedule loosly on the mass gaining weight lifting program in where you work for sets with max weight. First set 10 reps and you can't push up 11. Second set max weight and you can onl get 7-8. Third set max weight but lifts are down to 3-5. The last set is once again max weight but the lifts are one maybe two.

I'm also basing this schedule on my last run. I did this, and yes I was hurting when I was done, but it actually felt good, like I was making progress.

In the past I"ve tried almost every way of run training to prepare for PT test. One of the best ways was hill training (running steep hills). I don't have steep hills at my house so I'm left with flat training. If not carefull you will find yourself just running a slow endurance type run and you hit a wall that you can't seem to get past, and that wall is usually a time limit. So to bust through that wall I'm going to try this highly demanding style of training and see how it works.


10-21-2008, 01:04 PM
Geez, and I thought you were gonna put your nose to the grindstone to get the Pack Canoe done.... :rolleyes:

Seriously - Thanks for your service and I hope you get the results you're looking for.

Cuyahoga Chuck
10-21-2008, 01:37 PM
Training to run distances is a numbers game.
What's the target for two miles?
Where are you at now?
How much mileage are you doing in a week?
How long is your longest run?
What's your ET for that run?
Got any idea of where your heartrate is when hou are taking the test?
Do you have accurate distances for your training routes?
One thing you can do in place of hill work is to run mile or 400m repeats. They are not fun. Try to run 10 with a recovery walk between each attempt.
Endurance training involved making alterations in the cells of your muscles. This is not a process that can be done quickly. Especially when you get older.

Brian Palmer
10-21-2008, 01:46 PM

How fast do you need to run 2 miles?

I ran XC and track all through high school and college and raced up until I was 40.

If you feel like you can do the distance, but you just aren't fast enough, then you need to work on your speed.

The best way to increase your speed is to run intervals at faster than your target speed, with a short recovery period of jogging between intervals. You can do intervals on the road or track.

Onthe road, twice a week, go for a run and "sprint" for the distance between four telephone poles (start at #1, then go until you reach #4). Then jog for two more poles to rest, and then repeat the "sprint." Try doing that for about 4 to 6 repeats. That will probably equal almost a mile of "sprinting."

You can also go out to a high school track and see how fast you really need to go to meet your time. Get used to running slightly faster than that pace for a lap or two at a time, gradually reducing the amount of time you rest between laps. You can also do short intervals of 100 to 300 meters at much faster than your target pace. Focus on going fast, but being relaxed and efficient.

The goal is to condition your muscles and legs to actually running at the increased speed so that you're more efficient and relaxed.

Ultimately, it would be ideal if you could do 2 miles of intervals at increased speed with short rests in between. For example, on a 400 meter track, the following intervals: 200, 400, 600, 800, 600, 400, 200.

Good luck!!


10-21-2008, 02:16 PM
Brian's right on - except to add that interval training is also the most effective thing for actually building your aerobic capacity too. Long, slow distance work does add to your aerobic capacity, but a whole lot less efficiently.

Usually, the longer the interval's working time, the longer the rest period between one interval and the next ... in rowing, they'll usually work with 1:2, 1:3, or 1:4 work:rest periods. So if you do a 100m sprint in, say, 15 seconds, take a 1:2 rest, so 30 seconds of "active rest" (light, slow jogging to flush blood through your muscles) before doing your next one. If you do a 400m interval in maybe 90 seconds, take a 1:3 rest, spend 4 1/2 minutes active rest before doing the next one, etc.

You say you need to chop a minute off your 2 mile run ... is that the actual distance you need? One interval strategy our rowing club uses is to take the fixed distance, and chop it up into intervals where you go at your target pace.

Let's say my kid wants to do his 2000m row in 7 minutes. Part of his training today is to do five 400m intervals at the pace to achieve that 7 minute goal .... with 30 seconds rest between. Next workout is four 500m intervals at the target pace with 30 seconds rest between ... or perhaps repeat the five X 400m interval workout, but decreasing the rest time between work periods by 5 seconds.

Doing speed work that way, you end up conditioning yourself to go at your target pace, but lengthening the intervals and decreasing the rest periods until you can do it all in one go.

There are better strategies for making big pace changes in really long events, but it's really effective for shorter and middle distances.

10-21-2008, 03:02 PM
Read again my training strategy, it is just another version of intervial training. I'm running a faster than normal pace for the first part of my run until I can't go anymore and than I'm slowing down to an easy jog and finishing the run finishing the run with a sprint. But actually the run isn't finished from there I walk out the run and than run it again, only shortned by a bit and I finish that run with a sprint, only to walk it out and finish my running for the day with a short run mixed with a finishing sprint.

I'm almost ashamed to mention the times needed here, I really shouldn't have to have this much trouble (18:42). That is basicly 4 and half minute half miles or 9 minute miles. At present I hit just around 19:50, which is slow as Christmas. Don't laugh at my times, I have bad knees and smoked way to much when younger.

I really believe that a minute in two miles is not much to make up at those times. Yeah if I was running 6:00 minute miles a minute in two would be tough, but if I was doing that we wouldn't be having this conversation.

When I ran with my daughter it was more social than anything, we ran an easy pace and talked. This allowed me to get to comfortable at a set speed and that speed was not enough. So now I'm getting serious and the real work begins. I have untill the 15th of Novemeber to fix this and I really don't see this as a problem as long as I attack it in a very aggressive manner as I"v outlined above.


10-21-2008, 03:33 PM
Yeah, you're doing an informal interval setup, but the downside with informal work is that tracking progress gets mushy. As they say, what gets measured, gets managed. Make it formal, and you'll feel much more confident on the day of the test.

So, you need a mile in 9:21. Quarter miles in 4:35. I'd plan to run 4 times/week.

Me? I'd go to http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/, and figure out a measured quarter mile distance from my front door, and the exact halfway point. Run the quarter mile holding a stopwatch, aiming to get to the halfway point by 2:15, and the end by 4:30.

Then walk back to your door, as the "active rest" bit of the interval. The first week, each workout you'd run a total of 6 timed quarter mile intervals. On one of those days, I'd push to go a bit faster than race pace (maybe 4:20 or 4:15 quarters).

You'll end up running the 1 1/2 miles at the right pace, and getting an extra 1 1/2 miles of distance for aerobic work. And while you're running, you'll know every 2 minutes what to do to meet your goal.

Next week, run 8 quarter mile intervals instead, so you prove to yourself that you can run the full distance. 2 days out of four, take the pace faster than your overall target and sprint the last interval ... By the end of the week, maybe run your intervals as 1/4 mile, 1/2, 1/2, 1/4, all at race pace.

Week 3, day 1 would be 8 X 1/4 miles, faster than race pace. Day 2, the 1/4, 1/2, 1/2, 1/4 thing, day 3 take the full 2 mile distance at 10 seconds slower over the full distance than your race pace, and day 4 a combination of 1/2 mile, 1 mile, and 1/2 mile intervals.

Week 4? day 1, do the 2 mile at race pace. Day 2, do 8 X 1/4 mile sprints, fast as you can. Take the rest of the week off, giving at least 3 full days of recovery before the test.


10-21-2008, 03:58 PM
I like that link you posted Tom. I'm playing with it right now and will address your other concerns later. Right now I will fill you in on distances.

My first and initial run is 1.33 miles

Continuing on the next leg is .94 miles for a total of 2.27

The last bit is for .18 miles for a grand total of 2.45 miles.

A bit about structured training, it is real good and it is a great way of measuring progress. At this point I'm not interested in measuring where I'm at, just in beating a fixed time. What I'm doing is pushing myself to my physical limits and than trying to go beyond that, rest the next day and than do it all again, each time trying to push myself a little faster and farther on the initial run.


10-21-2008, 04:03 PM
I will use the distances above to break down what I did Sunday night and will try to improve on tonight.

My first and initial run is 1.33 miles
This is where I ran a faster pace untill I could run no more and than went with an easy jog.

Continuing on the next leg is .94 miles for a total of 2.27 Prior to starting this leg I had finished my first leg and decieded that I really needed to run some more and thus begain this one.

The last bit is for .18 miles for a grand total of 2.45 miles. After finishing the above leg of the run I felt I could run some more so I did this one. After finishing this leg my thighs were twitching and me knee was feeling the pain so I took a break.

Tonight I will attempt to better the initial run up stage and maybe lengthen the latter part. I will push until I feel that I physically can't do any more.

BTW I don't time myself on these training runs, I just go as long and as hard as I can. The time is what it is.


10-21-2008, 04:05 PM
Have your daughter follow you in the car at your set speed. If you fall off you will know it.

10-21-2008, 04:58 PM
Just a note. After abandoning me on my running and now that I'm doing an aggressive training, she now wants to run with me. I told her that I was going to be very aggressive in training and she is okay with that.

So as soon as she gets home from elite tumbling we are going running.


garland reese
10-21-2008, 06:46 PM
Chad, follow something very close to what Brian laid out..... intervals. Interval distances that are long enough to sress the system, but short enough to recover from, so your body can do another hi intensity interval. If you go too long, you just flood your system with lactic acid, the body will shut down, recovery will not happen, and you will finish your session at a walk. Another method for effective interval work is a timed work/recovery cycle. A minute or two on, then a minute recovery; vary the on time maybe from one minute to 1:30, then 2:00, then 2:30with a minute recovery between all. Stair step the intervals back down the other way, just like Brian said, just do it by time instead of distance.

Lot's of study has been done, and proven. I think there is enough time for you to drop your time by a minute, given the allowable 2 mile run times. It sounds like maybe you don't train with any strict regularity, which in this case is good! When you start training from scratch, normally improvement is significant; as your fitness increases, the training improvement come in much smaller increments.

You can't effectively do interval work every day..... one or two a week, would be my estimation. The rest of the time, run a a pace you can tolerate, and run slightly over-distance.... 2 1/2 mi. maybe. I think it may be a fine line for you, as too much may injure you, too little and you may come up a bit short on your time limit.

Brian has it right...
Be well man, and good luck. You've done your time in service Chad. The military is by design, a job for those who can maintain a ready status,.... the physical being a very big part of that.
Thanks for your dedication.

10-21-2008, 07:40 PM
The kid ended up not running with me and it was getting dark so I ran the first and last half of my run. On the first half I ran harder and longer than I did the other day and the last half was almost a dead sprint.

As I cooled down the wife told me that the kid went out running after I left. So I walked the course until I found her. She was getting close to the end so we did a sprint to finish her run.

Now I'm going to start on homework.


10-21-2008, 08:05 PM
What drives me crazy is that I consider myself in deceant to good shape. My endurance and strength is good. I just can't run worth a crap. It frustrates me to no end. The young guys really do have a hard time keeping up with me. Every time I see them light up I let them know that if they keep that up that one day they will be running like I do.


Cuyahoga Chuck
10-21-2008, 09:28 PM
Here's what you are up against, bunkie. Building endurance comes from a change in the cell structure of your muscles. Having bulging bicepts or prize pectoral muscles won't get you much.
Muscular power comes from your muscle cells burning sugar and oxygen. Every cell has an enzyme in it that is the catalyst for the reaction. If you wanna' go faster or longer you have to train to make the enzyme bigger. It don't happen overnight.
Then there is the ability of your heart muscle to function for long periods at above normal rates. Flogging yourself for short periods to get to some predetermined fitness level fast can be dangerous as you get older. And it may not work. Most training is done at effort levels that allow you to talk. The training effect comes in because you run distances that keep your heartrate up for a considerable time. Going slower but for longer distances has a training effect too but the distance should be 4-5 miles. Recovering from long slow runs is quicker and should allow you to run more frequently without much discomfort. Hill/interval work is usually limited to once a week because it takes more time to recover from that.
The more minutes you spend running the faster you'll get but if the effort level is too high you won't be able to run as long, it will take longer to recover and you chance of injury is greater.
I run the 10K in the 70-75 class. My best time in the last three years is 1:06:00. That's about 11 min/mi. Most of my training is 6 or 8 miles, 3 times a week at a 12:00 -12:30 pace. I never go fast till race day.

10-21-2008, 10:00 PM
Proper diet will also help to enhance the performance. Wake up, the dietitians :). (My apologies, if it has already been mentioned above.)