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  1. #1
    Will.i.am's Avatar
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    Running 3 Miles in Less Than 18 Minutes

    Primal Fuel
    Hello everyone,

    I'm new to the forum and to the primal lifestyle, but I'm moderately active in regards to fitness in general. Just finished reading 'The Primal Blueprint'. Very excited about starting the primal lifestyle. Here's my question:

    I work out five days a week - two days bodyweight exercises, and 3 days cardio; I run two miles, alternate between one minute full out running, and two minutes walking. I'm concerned though about the whole chronic cardio warnings. My goal is to run 3 miles in under 18 minutes, but I'm not sure how to design a balanced cardio program that'll help me reach my fitness goal.

    In a year from now, when I finish college, I'll be joining the military, specifically the Marine Corp, and will be going to Officer Candidate School (I'm waiting to get in better shape and to finish my degree before I go to an officer recruiter). One part of the physical fitness test is running 3 miles in 18 minutes or less, and I really want to make sure I get a top, competitive PFT.

    If any of you guys can offer some advice on how I can construct a good running plan that'll help me reach my 3 miles in 18 minute goal without bordering chronic cardio, I'd really appreciate it.

    Thanks everyone!

    Thanks again guys.

  2. #2
    Abu Reena's Avatar
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    Easy. One day a week is your long slow day. Run the 3 miles or then some at a slow pace. Definitely less than a six minute mile pace. Get used to the distance.

    Two days a week, do interval training. Alternate flat out running (not necessarily sprinting, but let's say a 400m run) with a slow jog. (Sometimes called fartleks, google it).

    You'll get your time down. That's not even remotely close to chronic cardio.

    Also, work on pushups, pushups, and more pushups. As well as lots of deadhang pullups. You'll need those as well.

  3. #3
    MightyAl's Avatar
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    18 minutes for 3 miles is a high level runner. Where are you at now because if you aren't able to run a sub 6 minute mile at this point then it will be difficult to make that mark in a year. If you are truly looking to accomplish this then I would look at some programs specifically for accomplishing this goal. Jack Daniels has an excellent book out with programs for specific distances. I would check it out. 3 miles is a difficult distance to master. You need to do it now to see where you stand and make sure you can accomplish your goal.
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    Mike in Virginia's Avatar
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    First of all, good luck with OCS. I graduated from OCS at Quantico back in 1975; oddly enough, my commuter train now goes through the OCS area and I get to see the old drill field, O course, etc.

    What's your time on the 3 mile run now? I understand that you want to max the PFT, which requires a time of less than 18 minutes, but you don't have to be nearly that fast to pass the PFT. Maybe a quarter of my classmates achieved a max score on the run. Most of us never did, and I usually finished at around 21 minutes. That still gives you a pretty high score, since you lose only 1 point for every 10 seconds over 18 minutes.

    Don't forget the other 2 portions of the PFT: work on pullups and situps too. (I'm assuming they haven't changed the PFT.) Situps are the easiest to max, but you have to work on them to be able to do 80 in the allotted time.
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    Intervals will help bring up your aerobic threshold (how fast you can run without going anaerobic), running the miles will bring up your lactate threshold (how much you can run once you go anaerobic) -- you'll need both. I can't offer specific advise on training for the run, but "Couch to 5k" should be a good starting point (3 miles is slightly less than 5 kilometers).

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    If you want to run 6 minute miles or under, just make sure that optimum health isn't your goal. It's fine if that's something you want to do, but that will definitely lump you into the chronic cardio group. There's nothing redeeming about a 6 minute mile IMO. It's far too fast to efficiently burn fat, and it's far too slow for sprints. I do 11 minute mile jogging for low level cardio and alternate between walking and 4:45-5:00 mile sprints. Running at a 10mph pace for an entire mile is going to put your heart in the worst zone it can be in in terms of fat loss and muscle decay, and it's not great for your heart, either. Imagine if you tried to make your chest stronger by holding a heavy weighed bar 6" above it for 18 minutes. That won't do a damn thing to make your chest stronger, but it will cause some major injury and muscle fatigue. That's what running at the same fast pace for 18 minutes does to your heart - it's a muscle like any other and benefits from either low level prolonged exercise or bouts of very slow to very fast intervals from sprints.

    I'm not trying to scare you. I just want you to be informed. Reaching your goal probably won't hurt you, but it could have longterm repercussions if you continue it for years upon years. This is the method you should follow if you want to be in shape, but skinny fat, weak and in a constant state of catabolism. If you're going for that ripped, toned look, 6 minute miles won't get you there. They'll have you looking like a pasty cyclist with a fannypack.
    Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 07-14-2011 at 06:45 AM.
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  7. #7
    Abu Reena's Avatar
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    @chocotaco: Horse hooey. Running that fast for 20 minutes or so ISN'T CHRONIC CARDIO. Running that fast for an hour plus would be, but a short, intense workout like that, with a goal of having an optimal time on a USMC fitness test, is fine.

    People here totally misunderstand Mark's position on chronic cardio. It's hopping on an elliptical and going all out for an hour. It's not a 20 minute run.

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    MightyAl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abu Reena View Post
    @chocotaco: Horse hooey. Running that fast for 20 minutes or so ISN'T CHRONIC CARDIO. Running that fast for an hour plus would be, but a short, intense workout like that, with a goal of having an optimal time on a USMC fitness test, is fine.

    People here totally misunderstand Mark's position on chronic cardio. It's hopping on an elliptical and going all out for an hour. It's not a 20 minute run.
    I am with Abu on this. Chronic cardio happens when you are running an hour or more at as high an intensity as you can muster every day. Been there and done that. 5k's and the mile are nowhere near chronic cardio. Too many people use cardio as a way to get healthy and it is the only thing they do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyAl View Post
    Jack Daniels has an excellent book out with programs for specific distances.
    +1. (not to be confused with the name of a certain un-primal beverage).

    Quote Originally Posted by Abu Reena View Post
    People here totally misunderstand Mark's position on chronic cardio. It's hopping on an elliptical and going all out for an hour. It's not a 20 minute run.
    +1
    Last edited by Al_Kavadlo; 07-14-2011 at 08:40 AM.
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    jfreaksho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abu Reena View Post
    @chocotaco: Horse hooey. Running that fast for 20 minutes or so ISN'T CHRONIC CARDIO. Running that fast for an hour plus would be, but a short, intense workout like that, with a goal of having an optimal time on a USMC fitness test, is fine.

    People here totally misunderstand Mark's position on chronic cardio. It's hopping on an elliptical and going all out for an hour. It's not a 20 minute run.
    I won't disagree with you on either of these points, but the vast majority of training advice he is going to receive outside of this forum is going to include chronic cardio training, and that might be a way to accomplish his goal.

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