CFA Mile Run

noahgrady8

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Jan 21, 2020
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Hello, my name is **REMOVED** and I am a reapplicant applying to be in the USNA or USAFA Class of 2024. I am currently at Georgia Tech doing Army ROTC. I am posting this thread because of my desperation over the mile run on the CFA. I was recently asked to retake the CFA because of my mile time and here’s what I got: 67’ bb throw, 13 pull ups, 9.3 shuttle run, 57 push ups, 85 sit ups, and a 7:50 mile. USNA is pleased with this and is going to review my application, USAFA however, wants nothing to do with a mile time over seven minutes. The rest of my application is marginally above average, I got a 3.6 here at Georgia Tech and was on the dean’s list and all my academic and leadership credentials in High School were certainly above average (33 ACT, 3.94 GPA, Eagle Scout, national and state competitions, state leadership position in a youth government program etc.). I also have received nominations to both USAFA and USNA (second time being nominated to USNA). At this point my entire hope and dream of attending USAFA is riding on this mile time and it is mentally killing me. I am desperate to get this time under 7 and want any advice at all. Normally I can run in the 6 something range but after the CFA I’m just exhausted. USAFA says there are no minimums but that just isn’t true, there are minimums and applications get cancelled and left unreviewed (I know from personal experience) due to failure to pass those numerical values.
 
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jagtiger26

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Jan 21, 2020
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8
I think the easiest way to lower your mile time is to start running when tired. Do your usual workout THEN go run. Also you could try running intervals - they're great for getting you used to running tired.
  1. Warm up by jogging a mile.
  2. Jog for 0:30 at a light pace.
  3. Run for 0:20 at a training pace.
  4. Sprint for 0:10 at a fast pace.
  5. Jog for 2:00.
  6. Repeat intervals for 2 or 3 sets.
  7. Cool down by jogging a mile.
(list is ripped straight from google)
 
Joined
Aug 21, 2019
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USAFA is probably more sensitive to it because of the altitude when you get there. That will add quite a bit to a mile time.
I'm not an expert but I think getting into the right stride length could do wonders. Many people run with too short a stride and it slows them down. Try to pay attention to that.
Also, if you think it's worth spending $300 on it, you could try this thing. I got it for DS (what an exciting Christmas for him!) and he started using it, but then got a chest cold so had to stop. He's about to start up again, but I can't yet tell you if he will have success with it.
 

flieger83

Super Moderator
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Jul 26, 2008
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3,910
Okay...a few things about the mile and the CFA and USAFA.

First, while training masks seem "really cool and great" they do not increase your cardiovascular capacity. Those are the most common "tools" I see folks asking about. This item, I can't speak for, but I can speak for what the "issue" is at USAFA. The issue is elevation: over 7000 feet. The problem is atmospheric pressure. You just can't get as much oxygen to cross to your red blood cells. It's biological and NOTHING you do in training, other than training at altitude, will affect this. This is why "first BCT" is at the Terrazzo and isn't as intense; they are helping your body adjust. It takes 21-24 days for the body to say "oh...I'm hurting...I need more red blood cells...and the bone marrow shifts into overdrive!" The result is that by Jack's Valley (second BCT) you're ready for anything. And that 6:30 mile you ran at sea level? You'll be running it at USAFA too, once your body adjusts.

I just redid a CFA for a young individual that ran an 8:20 the first time. USAFA said "try again..." He trained, HARD, running every day, worked with a coach at school, killed himself...and when I checked him a month later...6:32. It can be done.

Steve
USAFA ALO
USAFA '83
 

AFrpaso

USAFA Alumnus
5-Year Member
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Mar 5, 2012
Messages
796
How much time to you have to train?

Honestly, it might be your sit-ups. I've found that the AF sit-ups can absolutely destroy your hip-flexors and significantly impact your run time. Perhaps there a way that you can adjust your sit-up form to give those hip-flexors a break. Maybe do a set of sit-ups before jumping into an interval workout.

Just my two cents.
 

ders_dad

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Joined
Nov 28, 2017
Messages
571
Intervals. You want to increase speed over 1.5 miles? Do intervals - on a track. quarter-mile “sprints” with “at pace” interval recovery. This works and works fast.
 

TexasAggie204

DS USMA 2024
Joined
Feb 10, 2019
Messages
494
Intervals. You want to increase speed over 1.5 miles? Do intervals - on a track. quarter-mile “sprints” with “at pace” interval recovery. This works and works fast.
Yep-running intervals works. To practice for the CFA, my son ran 2 miles on the HS track. He sprinted the straightaways and "paced" the curves. In approximately a month of interval training 5 days a week, he dropped his 1 mile time almost 1 minute. He timed himself in the 1 mile, the other 2 days per week.
 
Joined
Aug 21, 2019
Messages
222
Okay...a few things about the mile and the CFA and USAFA.

First, while training masks seem "really cool and great" they do not increase your cardiovascular capacity. Those are the most common "tools" I see folks asking about. This item, I can't speak for, but I can speak for what the "issue" is at USAFA. The issue is elevation: over 7000 feet. The problem is atmospheric pressure. You just can't get as much oxygen to cross to your red blood cells. It's biological and NOTHING you do in training, other than training at altitude, will affect this.
Yes but keep in mind his cfa mile time is based on where he lives now, not how he will perform at altitude. He just wants to improve that as much as he can. Training is the best way of course. But the premise of this device is that most people don’t breathe efficiently or maximize their lung capacity potential. If In addition to training, he could use this 5 minutes before bed and 5 minutes when he wakes up in the morning, and it drove results, great. There’s some impressive reviews from blogs and other publications. Could be fabricated but who knows. The idea of specifically training your lungs to increase capacity doesn’t seem outlandish to me. I just wish I could report DS’s results. Hopefully in a month or so.
 

brewmeist

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2018
Messages
390
These standards are set so that anybody in good shape can pass them. While there is nothing wrong with purchasing training devices, they are certainly not needed to pass a CFA. My son is a USNA plebe and a recruited distance runner. I asked him what kind of training he would recommend for a non-distance runner to get to passing levels. He said, "Just run." He is big on low-impact long runs. Interval training, hills, etc all definitely make for a faster mile, but the base needs to be there.
 
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