Low HR Training

1

Need help to train before joining military. (Read 20 times)

omoplata


    Hello,

     

    I'm a 29 year old who just enlisted in the Army. I ship for basic training in 3 months.

     

    I think I will be able to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) after finishing basic training, with the guidance ( / yelling ) of the drill sergeants.

     

    But I also have another dream that I want to fulfill while in the Army. I want to make it in to the Special Forces. This is what I'm really seeking help with. What I'm looking for is a long term program which will build up my aerobic fitness.

     

    I've never been much of an athlete. My 2 mile run ( this is what is measured in the APFT ) times are dismal ( about 20 minutes ) . However, I'm willing to work hard to achieve something. I spent most of my life focusing on academics. I'm in PhD program right now, from which I'm going to take military. leave.

     

    I started reading about running because I wanted to improve my 2 mile run time to max the APFT test, which I thought would be the first step in getting to a Special Forces physical standard.

     

    I read some articles here and there, and watched videos about running mechanics, like the POSE method and chi running. But then I started reading "The Big Book of Endurance Training" by Philip Maffetone. I haven't finished it. I've only read up to around page 80. However, it changed my whole outlook on running and endurance training in general. I realized that, according to Maffetone, during the whole while I was huffing and puffing doing 'endurance' training, what I was actually training was my anaerobic system.

     

    So, my long term goal is to get in to the Special Forces, or to pass the Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS). I think there is some endurance work there, like hiking long distances with heavy packs. So I think building a good aerobic base will help me not burn out after these events, and face the next day in good form. If I get selected, I will be a sort of an endurance athlete anyway.

     

    So I'm thinking of postponing the shortening of my 2 mile run times to basic training, during which the yelling drill sergeants and timed 2/5 mile runs will build up my anaerobic system and run speed. I think I should concentrate on building a good aerobic base during the three months I have left, so I can volunteer for and pass the Special Forces Assessment and Selection after I finish basic training.

    The following are some specific questions I have. I'm reading Maffetone, but I don't know if I will get all the answers I need there. I also have a lot of work to finish with grad school before I ship, so I don't have much time to read about running.

     

    1. What are the minimum length runs that will build up my aerobic system? Time and distance wise. I read somewhere that the aerobic system doesn't even fully kick in until half an hour has gone by.

     

    2. I like to lift weights. Do I have to discontinue this? At least for the lower body I guess? I will HAVE to do pushups and pullups for the upper body, or my APFT scores for those events will go down.

     

    3. Is three months enough to see some sort of improvement in my aerobic system, or will I be just wasting my time trying to do something that takes years in three months.

     

    I think my aerobic system is in bad shape, because my heart rate was around 190 bpm during my 2 mile run today, which took about 20 mins ( I'm an OK sprinter though. Not competitive by any standard. 100 m sprint time is about 13 seconds) . I have to slow down to a very slow jog ( almost a walk) to keep the heart rate at 185. Still haven't measured what my resting heart beat ( morning wake up? ) and the max heart beat is, because I just bought the heart rate monitor yesterday. From Maffetone's 180 formula, it looks my heart training heart rate should be about 145.

     

    Please post any opinions / suggestions / criticisms / questions about my training plan and the specific questions I have.

     

    Thank  you very much.

    tortoise88


      Hi omoplata,

       

      You will get some very good responses from experienced folks here.  I happened to be lurking so I'll give you my two cents.

       

      I think 3 months is enough to see real improvement.  My sense is that the conventional wisdom is that 4 months is enough to "build an aerobic base".  Many people don't see any measurable improvement in the first month so you do have to have patience.

       

      I don't think there is an alternative that would get you there more quickly.  It simply takes time to train the body's aerobic system, but it will pay dividends.

       

      As far as training volume, I did not see steady, measurable improvement until I went to 6 days a week, one hour a day and usually 2 hours on Sundays.  I just made it a daily routine so that I didn't have to think about it - wake up every day and run for an hour.  The nice thing is that it's not physically taxing so it's a very low-stress activity.  And if you're joining the Army you have to get used to waking up early anyway, so you may as well run!

       

      I have been faithful to the 'avoid anaerobic activity' precept, but having done Maffetone training for a couple of years, I personally doubt that it would hurt much (my gut feel - I have no data to support this!).  I don't think it's a black and white thing, and it probably varies from person to person.  If you're doing heavy duty bodybildilng and you're in the gym 4 hours a day every day, then maybe it would impede your MAF progress, but if you're doing a moderate amount - who knows, but I doubt it.  Put it this way, I haven't seen anyone post that "once I stopped lifting weights, my MAF times dropped precipitously".

       

      Best of luck with your training and with your goal of making it into the Special Forces!

       

      Sincerely,

      tortoise88

        hey, welcome here. Smile

         

        I can only give basic advice but I'll try to help a bit Smile

         

         

        185 bpm heart rate is definitely too high for a jog. based on your data (this jog and the fact that currently it takes you 20mins to run all-out 2 miles), it sounds like a run-walk program might benefit you for a while. with HRM or without. overall, yes, a decent weekly mileage of aerobic running (or run-walking) would help too.

         

        30minutes should be about the minimum for one run (or run-walk initially), yes. you can go longer than that if it isn't too taxing. no need to go past 1 hour of running at your level. distance will be whatever it will come out at, make the aerobic running time based for now. Smile 4-5  hours a week would already do wonders for a beginner but build up to that weekly running time only gradually. watch out for injury.

         

         

        I was going to say that to get in shape quick, you could also do real speedwork but your 2mile pace is 10min/mile which isn't really a lot of leg turnover and holding any pace faster than that would be really anaerobic for you right now... so forget real hard speedwork for now.

         

        however, to help with the leg turnover without going anaerobic, you could definitely do a few ~100m strides a few times every week, preferably at the end of some of your aerobic runs. not all-out, just something comfortable, do read up on what strides are. + perhaps you can do a test of your 2mile regularly, but not too often, definitely not more than weekly.

         

        I think the pushups and pullups are okay.

         

         

        btw just a few questions to see how realistic the goal sounds with this time frame of 3 months: have you tried to train before or did you get this 20min 2mile time without any training? are you male or female? just to see what time you need to get max points. btw do you really have to get max points on the run test to get to your goal?

         

        EDIT: nvm the last question, I see that you don't want to get max points within 3 months. I assume though that you want to still pass the APFT and if you're male, you do want to improve on the 20min time to pass it. I'm sure that if you're largely a beginner to running, you'll improve that 2mile time in the 3 months anyway. Smile

         

         

        on another note; I'll share my own experience with you as this 20min 2mile time reminds me of myself... when I started out in 2009, I was truly a complete beginner, maybe more a beginner than you. Smile ....I did 1mile in 10mins and by the end of it I was feeling like dying. I didn't yet have a HRM but I can safely state that my HR was well over 190 Smile

        then I did a 6 week run-walk program, 3 times a week, 30-40mins for each workout. I bought the HRM only halfway through it, so I didn't control the HR much yet and not MAF'ing. however, I was always making sure that at the end of each workout I felt like I could repeat the whole thing again. that helped a lot!

        result? I could do 5K in 29 minutes by the end of the 6 weeks. I tried one mile again as well, I did 1600m in 8:03! after that, I started doing continuous runs with HRM keeping the intensity in check, gradually upping the mileage. since then, I can do the 1600m or mile in maybe 6 mins, my 2mile time would be max points on your test. Big grin overall, it was a nice start to a nice journey. have fun & good luck! Cool

          I have been faithful to the 'avoid anaerobic activity' precept, but having done Maffetone training for a couple of years, I personally doubt that it would hurt much (my gut feel - I have no data to support this!).  I don't think it's a black and white thing, and it probably varies from person to person. 

           

          yeah my guess is that it depends on the person how much rest and/or aerobic activity they need to get in between two anaerobic sessions. someone who's kind of ill (very stressed out, with symptoms, whatnot) wouldn't want anything anaerobic at all and only very light aerobic activity. but the average person who doesn't have any problem would tolerate more. then again some athlete would take even more. etc.

          omoplata


            Thank you very much for your help everyone.

             

            @cmon2, about my training history. For running there is none. I have done some fitness running with the team for high school soccer, field hockey etc. more than 10 years ago. After that I've been active in some martial arts here and there, but I don't think any of it is endurance training (kick as hard as you can 200 times with the left leg, then with the right leg, etc. etc. for an hour ). During the last year I've regularly used a bike to get to campus ( until about 3 months ago when I got my car back ), but the ride is less than 20 minutes and I didn't push it. I've done cross-fit type weight training in my free time. But even that, I didn't keep up regularly. I never run (even using a treadmill) in the gym. I'm 5' 7', male, 165 lbs. I got my body-fat percentage measured recently with some gadget that gave a reading when I put my hands on two contacts, and it said 20%.

             

            @tortoise88, I think I will try the program you had success with: running 6 days a week for an hour each day in the morning. But for me, like cmon2 said, it might have to be a run-walk. I guess I will have to do this before breakfast? I read that eating causes an insulin spike which forces carbohydrate burning over fat burning.

             

            Why does Dr. Maffetone say don't do any anaerobic training during the aerobic training phase? I've read him saying that it's because 'The anaerobic system inhibits the aerobic system'. How is this supposed to happen? Because of cortisol and other stress hormones produced during anaerobic work? Is this just 'theory' or is there experimental evidence?

             

            Would the following be a good way to try to safely incorporate weight training to my daily routine, and still see aerobic improvement? I'll do only aerobic work for several days, and measure my morning HR. Then I'll start some weight training and see if my morning HR goes up the next day. If it does, it probably means I'm not getting enough time to recover, so I'll cut back on the weights. Would this be a good way to make sure that I don't overtrain?

             

            Something weird happened last night at the gym. After lifting some weights for upper body, I was trying to measure my max heart rate with an exercise bike. I cross-checked my HRM and the one on the bike, and they agreed. And I couldn't get my HR over 175! How did it get so low at night (10 pm) when I got 190 in the morning ( 9 am ) ? Could it have been because it was hot (70 F) outside in the morning?

              okay, if you never ran before, you have a good chance to improve a lot in the next 3 months. (remember, I started from where you are now and got a lot done in 6 weeks. Smile ) you just need to train enough, yet not too much. I don't think you need to run 6 days a week though if you're such a complete beginner to running. MAF or not MAF HR, it could cause an injury - ramp up the mileage slowly. start with the run-walk 3 days or perhaps 4 days a week.

               

              eating: I asked a few people on this and apparently it doesn't matter much, it's up to the individual if it's okay eating before the run or not. maybe some light breakfast. I've done many runs on empty stomach too just fine. fun fact: I read somewhere that kenyans don't eat before the run, don't eat or drink much while running, but they do eat (and drink of course) right after finishing the workout. quickly replenishing energy afterwards is definitely a good idea in any case.

               

              I can't comment on the weight training vs RHR. worth a try. I think an increase is only a problem if it persists even a couple of days later.

               

              as for the maxHR measure, did you get the 190 on the bike in the morning or only while running? maxHR when running is usually higher than when biking (though I've seen exceptions to this rule - with uphill biking Big grin ).

               

              good luck! you could report on your progress here if you want Smile

              omoplata


                Thanks for the info cmon Smile

                 

                I have to do a lot of work this month. So running for long times was a problem.

                 

                I got myself an old treadmill for $100. Found a board which I put on the two bars on the side, and use as sort of a desk. I can put a book on there and read, and probably could take some notes while running (never tried this yet though). So now I have no possible excuse to not run, except for over training. That problem is solved.

                 

                I know a treadmill is not ideal, but with the amount of work I have to do this month, I have no choice.

                 

                Started on the treadmill this morning, with no breakfast. Set the incline at 3.0. At my target heart rate of 140~145, the speed was about 2.5~3.0 mph or a 20~24 min/mile pace. I could have easily walked at that pace, but just kept doing something like jogging very slowly. Did 100 minutes with no problem. I wanted to go longer but the HRM ran out of battery.

                 

                Will keep running regularly.

                  Thanks for the info cmon Smile

                   

                  I have to do a lot of work this month. So running for long times was a problem.

                   

                  I got myself an old treadmill for $100. Found a board which I put on the two bars on the side, and use as sort of a desk. I can put a book on there and read, and probably could take some notes while running (never tried this yet though). So now I have no possible excuse to not run, except for over training. That problem is solved.

                   

                  I know a treadmill is not ideal, but with the amount of work I have to do this month, I have no choice.

                   

                  Started on the treadmill this morning, with no breakfast. Set the incline at 3.0. At my target heart rate of 140~145, the speed was about 2.5~3.0 mph or a 20~24 min/mile pace. I could have easily walked at that pace, but just kept doing something like jogging very slowly. Did 100 minutes with no problem. I wanted to go longer but the HRM ran out of battery.

                   

                  Will keep running regularly.

                   

                  cool that you started running! Cool

                   

                  let me however give you a bit of advice; you seem to misunderstand some of the training principles here. you don't have to go extremely slow and extremely long right away.

                   

                  a couple of tips:

                  - for you as a beginner, 30-60mins a day is truly enough (build up to 60mins, sometimes mid-week long run at 90mins), once a week a long run of 90-120mins, slowly build up to 120mins.

                  - you can set the treadmill to downhill at times to get some better turnover at low HR.

                  - the empty stomach is fine but do eat (and drink) soon after finishing.

                   

                  good luck & hope you'll be able to report success here! Smile


                  Consistently Slow

                    MAFF is more for endurance training. Find a 10k training program to built speed and continue to lift weights. Basic training  marches are about 5 miles(40 years ago). 12 weeks is just enough time to get ready for a 10k in hot weather and 20 + lbs of gear. 8 weeks of maff HR training will cause you to lose speed.

                     

                    Speed work.  400 meter repeats. A treadmill is fine. A friends daughter did Boston in 3:15. 90% of her training was on a treadmill(MD w / 3 small ones). JimmyB is a major treadmill-er.

                    Take a look at the cross training groups.

                    Run until the trail runs out.

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                    omoplata


                      MAFF is more for endurance training. Find a 10k training program to built speed and continue to lift weights. Basic training  marches are about 5 miles(40 years ago). 12 weeks is just enough time to get ready for a 10k in hot weather and 20 + lbs of gear. 8 weeks of maff HR training will cause you to lose speed.

                       

                      Speed work.  400 meter repeats. A treadmill is fine. A friends daughter did Boston in 3:15. 90% of her training was on a treadmill(MD w / 3 small ones). JimmyB is a major treadmill-er.

                      Take a look at the cross training groups.

                       

                      My endurance is very bad right now. I can sprint, but I get burned out before I finish a 2 mile run if I go all out. Last time it took me more than 22 minutes for 2 miles. That's why I thought I'd focus on endurance.

                       

                      And from what I read, MAFF trainees do a period of aerobic 'base building'. I thought the time I have remaining until start of BCT will be enough to build a 'base'. And once BCT starts, I can build speed. At least, that's my plan. I don't know if it'll work.

                       

                      Is it a bad idea to focus only on endurance for now? If I concentrate only on endurance now, will all that be wasted once I start basic training?

                       

                      I'll look at cross training groups also. Thanks.


                      Chasing the bus

                        Running without food makes sense to me...when your blood sugar and insulin levels are low, your body burns stored fat. This trains your body to run on fat instead or glucose, for endurance. I can, and have, regularly run 2+ hours before any breakfast, no problem.

                         

                        The way I read Maffetone, anaerobic work increases blood cortisol levels, which inhibit improvements in slow-twitch  fibers. I cannot say I have experience with this.

                         

                        Good luck with your training, and thanks ahead of time for your service!

                        John

                        “You're either on the bus or off the bus.”
                        Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test


                        Chasing the bus

                          Oh yeah, run/walk. Just started trying that. Surprised to find I can run just as fast doing run/walk as I can straight running even keeping my HR under MAF while running. help helps break the monotony, but pulls me out of the "zone" sometimes. It's a usefull strategy, though, I've spent time learning it.

                           

                          Also, havent seen it mentioned, downhill running can make good speed work while keeping HR under MAF. On a nice downhill, I can hit my goal 5k pace and still stay under MAF.

                          “You're either on the bus or off the bus.”
                          Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

                            My endurance is very bad right now. I can sprint, but I get burned out before I finish a 2 mile run if I go all out. Last time it took me more than 22 minutes for 2 miles. That's why I thought I'd focus on endurance. 

                             

                            that's very bad only because (as you said) you're a COMPLETE beginner to running.

                             

                            have you checked out run-walk programs? (C25K and the like.) they are pretty good and due to the walking breaks, not so stressful. and with your current aerobic capacity, you can't really do MAF efficiently. unless you set that threadmill really downhill Smile with the run-walk programs, you could even sometimes throw some faster parts in there when you feel like it.

                             

                            the run-walk program I did made me improve from a 10 minute mile to a 8 minute mile (one mile but hey still pretty good eh?), and, as another result, I was able to run 5K or even more, continuously.

                             

                            this is how the plan went;

                            6 weeks, 3 runs per week, as below:

                            8x (1min run + 2min walk), 12x (1min run + 1min walk), 4x (2min run + 3min walk)
                            5x (2min run + 2min walk), 4x (3min run + 4min walk), 5x (4min run + 3min walk)
                            4x (5min run + 3min walk), 4x (6min run + 3min walk), 5x (6min run + 2min walk)
                            4x (7min run + 2min walk), 3x (8min run + 2min walk), 2x 10(min run + 4min walk)
                            3x (9min run + 2min walk), 3x (10min run + 2min walk), 2x (13min run + 1min walk)
                            2x (15min run + 1min walk), 3x (9min run + 1min walk), 5K continuous run! Cool

                             

                             

                            And from what I read, MAFF trainees do a period of aerobic 'base building'. I thought the time I have remaining until start of BCT will be enough to build a 'base'. And once BCT starts, I can build speed. At least, that's my plan. I don't know if it'll work.

                             

                            anything is good for a beginner to build a base as long as it's not overdone.

                             

                             

                            Is it a bad idea to focus only on endurance for now? If I concentrate only on endurance now, will all that be wasted once I start basic training?

                             

                            no, it won't be wasted. but my personal opinion is that you need to prepare somehow for the extra training load you'll be getting in basic training... strictly "jogging" at 145bpm might not be enough preparation. I don't know, just my guess. basically my thinking is this; the MAF training in general can work well but if your pace is as slow as 20-24min/mile it's not really teaching the legs how to run.. so that's why I suggested the run-walk version instead. or perhaps added on top of the slow low HR runs.

                             

                             

                             Also, havent seen it mentioned, downhill running can make good speed work while keeping HR under MAF. On a nice downhill, I can hit my goal 5k pace and still stay under MAF.

                             

                            it was mentioned by me when I commented on the treadmill running Smile

                            scottb81


                              I am US Army retired and graduated from US Army Ranger School.  Not exactly the same as Special Forces School but the physical standards are pretty close.

                               

                              When you show up for basic training you basically need to be walking and breathing.  If you can run 2 miles in 20 min, that is a bonus.

                               

                              You will have to run 2 miles in 17:54 to graduate from basic and then in 17:00 to graduate from advanced training.

                               

                              To pass the initial physical fitness test to get into Special Forces Training you will have to run 2 miles in 14:24.  If it is at all like Ranger training you will also have to run 5 miles in under 40 minutes shortly after training starts.

                               

                              You certainly need to build raw endurance up but you also need to work towards the specific endurance needed to run 7:12 minute miles for 14 minutes and 8:00 miles for 40 minutes.

                               

                              In basic training you will get all the training needed to run 2 miles in 17:54.  If things have not changed you will also have the opportunity to do additional physical training in the evening to build the fitness needed for Special Forces selection.  It will be important to use that additional time wisely because the other training you get will not build you the fitness you need.

                               

                              Given the timeframe you are working in MAF training by itsefl may or may not be enough.  I think that you need to add some faster running (around Tempo effort) early on.  So, using intervals as described above, get yourself to the point you can run three miles.  Then build to where you can run at an easy pace for 1 hour or 5 miles, whichever is greater.  Once a week or so run 2 to 5 miles at Tempo pace building to where you can do that between 7:00 to 8:00/mi.  A long run of 2 hours at easy pace once a week will help a lot also.