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Military Training, Part 3: On the Run
Preparation for military service, as explained in the opening salvos of this series ( part 1 , part 2) is unique. Unfortunately, training for those within the military is often ill-suited for mission realities in which a false move could cost lives.

Despite the constant marketing that pervades the exercise industry, military training is not endless repetitions of complex training, particularly when the "instructors" do not teach proper movement patterns or the long duration sets, as with Kettlebells.

Military training starts with understanding of the goal survivability and managing the demands of soldiering. This will be determined by the individuals' ability to perform mental and physical tests in tenuous situations that are in the most destabilized of environments.

The four major overriding concerns of training military personnel are:
.    survivability
.    adaptability
.    functionality
.    sustainability

As noted in part one of the series, in my opinion the relatively common ("common" from a high level athletic background) standard of maintaining a six-minute mile pace over three miles is far too low for those whose lives depend on it. My present goals with school Physical Education classes is a minimum 5.30 mile pace over two miles or preferably  5km in 18 minutes, which equate to at or slightly above a  55 VO2 max baseline for teenaged males.

The question is how we prepare those who likely have little background with fitness work. Unfortunately, there are no short cuts in this area of preparation but simply an uphill road paved with sweat and hard work.

Increasing work threshold for military personnel is not simply "road work," though there is no way to avoid that sprint work of varying distances is needed. However beyond understanding the use of bodyweight holds and movements from DMC (see entire, now nine-part "In Search of Power" series), individuals need to spend time sprinting in varying distances.

High on the priority list of running is making sure the individual runs within changing environments. Though there is no way to simulate the "fog of war", the individual should be able to traverse varying surfaces for cross-country, with undulating surfaces and the like. I have used everything from running along levees, dirt roads, gravel, sand, rural lands, and beach shoreline to any combination with a degree of success. What this should point out is the complete absence of treadmills and even highly sterile gym tracks, of which I urge those training military service to avoid use as much as possible. Certainly if running on a track is your only option, consider the portion directly inside the track because the grass surface will provide you an imperfect situation to a small degree.

Secondly, footwear is an interesting choice to make because while many will get to use standard running shoes / trainers, work in the field is done in tactical boots that equally are very constructed. The choice will inherently be the individual's but within my training services, I attempt to assimilate to field conditions where possible and this is relatively easy. Other situations, such as the enormous loss of sleep, mental duress, the rush of adrenaline associated with warfare are impossible to replicate but this is one area that can be managed immediately. A further suggestion with this is to add an arch support that will do wonders for back health and assist in proper movement.

Thirdly, and this is an area that will be explored in the later installments of this series, the modern soldier carries an enormous amount of weight in back packs, generally one-hundred pounds and up. While there will be a time for weight marches (to simulate ruck marches), those training for military should avoid sprinting with a weighted vest as they are simply ill prepared to do so. This will be used in time but with a different set of protocols than in this session.

Borrowing from my book "The Beautiful Game" and my soon-to-be-released "1966" on the sport of Football ("Soccer") are two basic sprint patterns that I use within Military personnel. This involves basic "Fartlek" runs and one of my basic sprint series.

Renegade Military Fartlek pattern (beginner pyramid)
100 metres, jog 50m.
150 metres, jog 50m., repeat twice
200 metres, jog 100m.
150 metres, jog 50m, repeat twice
100 metres, jog 50m.

jog easy pace 400m, repeat above circuit 1-2 times.


-Perform sprints greater than 75% maximal output, preferably on grass surface. At the start of this series it is likely output will be on the lower side as the individual gets used to running sprints and slowly they will move to the desired 90%-plus output level.

-Given the age group varies between 18 and 28 years of age, heart rate should range between 115 to 160 beats per minute.

-Work is done after "RED2" session from “In Search of Power” to ensure body is properly prepared for training.

- At this stage of training it is assumed the individual does not have the conditioning level to go through a standardized “warm-up” of modest speed endurance work (i.e. 3 x 600 metres) or light distance (i.e. 2 km) so that has been removed temporarily. Once conditioning levels have been raised to a satisfactory level this will be added.

Renegade Sprint Sequence A
.   100 x 3, (*) (rest 90 seconds)
.    100, 100 x 2, 100, (*) (rest 90 seconds)
.    100 x 2, 100, 100 x 2, (*) (rest 90 seconds)
.    100, 100 x 2, 100 (*) (rest 90 seconds)
.    100 x 3 (*)

-performed at firm 75% maximum output, from line to line with no exception, preferably on a grass surface.

-followed with 20 yard walk between intervals. Please note this "walk" starts the minute you cross the finish line, such that it includes your "slow down" and is thus very short.

The above patterns are performed Monday through Friday, alternating each over a two-week period. After following this regime for a six to eight week period, we will move to the second series in introductory conditioning for Military personnel. All individuals performing this should follow up with the full series within the "In Search of Power Series" with the "Renegade Yoga for Athletes", all available through ProSource. In the next instalment in the series, we will look at basic strength conditioning for those in Military service.