View Full Version : Training Advice

07-01-2006, 03:07 PM
Okay, here goes: Advice DESPERATELY NEEDED.

I have mentioned before that I am trying to get myself in shape to apply with my local law-enforcement agencies. I am currently in absolutely atrocious shape cardio-wise; I was laid low a while back with knee and shoulder injuries while attending the US Border Patrol Academy, and then in 2005 as I was just starting to get back in shape again I crushed a disc in my neck, requiring a spinal fusion. I FINALLY was cleared for full, normal activity by my doctor a few months ago, and after a little bit of preliminary work to create something resembling a foundation to build on I'm chomping at the bit to start training seriously again.

Problem, as I've mentioned before, is that I've spent the majority of my life as a hard-core weightlifter/bodybuilder. Building strength and mass isn't a problem for me. Unfortunately, I've spent a lot of my life avoiding cardio training ('cause I didn't like it :( ) and now I've realized the fallacy of that position as I've gotten more serious about looking at my training goals through the prism of generalized overall fitness better suited to fighting and self-defense training. One of the areas of particular weakness for me is distance running.

So, the meat of the question is advice from our resident runners on how to begin a proper running regimen. Do I just grit my teeth and run as far as I can as fast as I can, or do I do intervals? Sprints or jogging? I'm working from ignorance here, so any advice will be helpful.

07-01-2006, 05:41 PM
The local agencies I just tried out for required a 1.5 mile run in less than 14 minutes. I found that what worked for was;
to establish a base time and know what I needed to achieve I ran around a track and timed myself running the required distance.
1 month of running for 20 min., every other day.The distance was irrevelant at this time, just so long as I ran the entire time.
After 1 month of this I switched to running 400 meter sprints (also a requirement at my testing) followed by walking one lap. Repeat three times, and walking until cooled off.
I went back to timming myself running the testing distance and seeing if I had made progress.
I then went back to running for 20 min. every other day at the pace I had learned I needed to run in order to make my test time. I did this for another month and switched back to sprinting. Finally I was doing both and just alternating as I felt I needed to.
This worked for me and I ran my qualifing time in 11.5 min.
I also did all of my running on trails or a soft track both of which are much kinder on my knees and body. You did not mention how long you have to prepare but I hope this helps out on your testing training.
Good luck,

07-01-2006, 07:10 PM
6Gunner, I'm a lot like you. I hate doing cardio, and even when I was running 5 minute miles while on SWAT, I still hated every step. I got quite good at running, but I've never enjoyed it.

I had let my cardio slip for several years and stuck to weights and combatives. I recently bought a high quality elliptical trainer (made by Horizon Fitness), and have begun incorporating that into my weight work. I spend 30 minutes on the elliptical, but every 2 minutes I get off and quickly perform a set of whatever exercise I am doing that day with weights. It adds more intensity to the elliptical, gives me an awesome cardio workout with no impact on my knees and bad back, is anything but boring, and gives me a great muscle pump and sweat drinched workout all at the same time.

I may have found the holy grail of exercise!:eek:

Cold War Scout
07-01-2006, 07:43 PM
C-2 Rower. You don't need to run to get your cardio.

07-01-2006, 07:47 PM
The way I started running was like this (I use a treadmill at home); I would walk for 5 minutes than jog for 2 minutes. Then walk another 5 minutes. I did this for 45 minutes. When I could, I increased it to run 5 minutes. Then 10 minutes run/5 minutes walk. Then 15/5 and then finally I just ran the whole time. I did it every day.

Cold War Scout
07-02-2006, 10:16 AM
Most excellent choice CWS, but if he has to pass a running PFT, he should run as a primary cardio work out. I row all winter, and still find that it takes a couple of weeks to get back into decent running form. Same when winter calls and it is back on the Concept II, takes two to three weeks to get back up to speed.


I was focusing on his words below:

overall fitness better suited to fighting and self-defense training

I did not get the sense that he was prepping for a PFT, which obviously would likely require running as a component. I was thinking that a rower would be good for his particular cardio mix, because it sounds like hard core running could be somewhat stressful to the injuries he has sustained. Fighting and self-defense training cardio might not necessitate running as much as PFT for the Border Patrol or military might. In fact the case could be made that in fighting and self-defense training, your anaerobic capacity is equally/more important than your aerobic capacity.

07-02-2006, 10:54 AM
It might not be a bad to mix up the workouts also, maybe running once or twice a week and doing the rower or something a couple times. That way you are not stressing out the knees and such, but still getting the workout needed plus the running experience/practice.

07-02-2006, 11:53 PM
Hey, everybody; I genuinely appreciate your advice, all of it. :D

I may have introduced some confusion in the way I presented it, however. I AM looking to get in good enough shape to pass a PFT for my local department, though I'm not looking to do it for any specifically scheduled testing. I ALSO want to be in better overall shape just because. When I went to the Border Patrol Academy I had managed to train my CV capabilities up to the point where I could run the required 1.5 miles, BUT my primary training was still weightlifting and bodybuilding. I could bench close to 400 at the time, leg press 1400, and basically move whatever I set my mind to moving; however, once I arrived in a situation where I had to do calisthenics movements and things like jump over walls and fences, along with run 3-4 miles every other day as part of our PT training, I found myself woefully unprepared for the realities of that situation. I suffered a series of nagging little injuries mainly due to the impact of weighing nearly 250, and simply the abuse to my knees from running on hard asphalt for extended distances I had failed to train for. It culminated in the catastrophic injuries to my knee and shoulder that originally laid me up. My goal is to not only get into good enough shape to pass the PFT but to be in good enough shape to effectively address the everyday PT training being an Academy trainee will require, and further to be in good enough shape to be an effective officer once I graduate. No doughnuts for me! ;) My ultimate goal is to get myself down to about 210-215, so I have a LOOOOOOONNNNNGGGGGG way to go....

Again, thanks for all the advice, gang. I'll do my best to keep y'all updated as to my progress.

07-03-2006, 03:09 AM

Here's some quality fitness sites for you to look at:




07-03-2006, 04:26 PM
I second the recomendation on Ross's stuff (see the address Michael posted). For the conditioning you're describing Ross's minute drills might be great. He set them up so you can scale them right from just getting off the couch all the way up to ... I'll let you know when I get there!

In addition to CV, the drills hit the entire body. You will really feel the difference.

07-05-2006, 11:22 AM
Cardio is evil!!!! :-)

I'm a "heavy weights" kinda guy, too. I hate running. My body hates running, too.

I found intervals and sprints. My "cardio" went way up. I felt great. I lost weight (couldn't do that running long distance for some reason).

My $0.02, start with jogging for two weeks, every other day. Pick it up with intervals for 3-4 weeks after that. A great one I found was a 10 minute light jog, followed by 90/90, 80/80, etc.... 90 second run, followed by 90 second light job, all the way to 10/10. Its short, time-wise, too!

Sprints after that, then Tabatas: 20 second sprint, followed by 10 second rest, 6-8 times. Those suck, but you get results fast.

I've got tons of stuff that I've used (lots through trial and error). Feel free to PM and I can give you links to web sites that get more into the above mentioned stuff.

Good luck to ya!

07-06-2006, 06:19 AM
I am a long time runner and have never really liked weight training but about a year ago I started using kettlebells. On days that I don't run I'll go outside with my 2 kbells and a jump rope. Between kbell sets I'll do 2 minutes with the jump rope. The kbells alone give a great aerobic/anaerobic workout but with the jump rope included I'm wiped out after about 30-40 mins. My P.T. is still mainly running but the kbells are a great strenght and toning component.

07-06-2006, 07:37 PM
I was really into weights when I ruptured a disc in my neck and got older. (squat 565 bench 350 and deadlift 575 at 165 -175 body weight) I had to give up lifting heavy and got into a more total fitness routine. One thing I found that helped increase my running speed was to combine biking with running. It is called a brick. Bike 25-30 minutes and immediately get off the bike and run. Run as fast as you can over your chosen distance. You will have already taxed your cardio system with biking which is easier on your knees, hips and back than running so you don't have to run as far to get increased speed and endurance. The brick lets you train your CV system without puting in as many miles running. One day every week or two just do the run for the PFT distance. You will be suprised how much faster you will get with less strain on your joints.

The ellptical trainer is also great for taking the stress off the knees and hips.