Running Preparation

CA_hopeful

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Apr 13, 2015
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Probable class of 2021 cadet here (LOA + qualified + nomination) wondering about suggestions as to running preparation for beast. I consider myself an average runner and have done cross-country for three years and track (800 and 1600) for one year. I am currently in soccer but I am not doing a spring sport so I can focus specifically on training for beast (running, weights, calisthenics, swimming, rucking) and I was wondering about the distances I should focus on. I believe the APFT involves a 2 mile run, but from what I've heard most of the runs during beast are longer and that cadets are sorted into ability groups based on pace. Does anyone have any suggestions on training and/or info on what the ability group paces look like?
 
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BSCAR

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Male XC runner here. There are lots of online resources for running training; I would suggest talking to your HS girls XC coach and see if they will help you create a program. But my advice is to start at 3 mile runs and work your way up. Throw in one long day per week and make sure to do some runs where you are keeping a quick, uncomfortable pace. I would recommend interval runs or Fartlek runs along with hill workouts. Keep a watch on your person while running. While not essential, a running buddy of similar skill really helps break up the monotony and keep a good pace.

But more importantly, when you start working up to longer distances, make sure you're recovering correctly. Eat good food, stay hydrated, sleep 9 hours a night minimum, dynamic stretch before and static stretch afterwards, ice, be cautious when it comes to stress injuries, etc. "Do the little things right" was the mantra of my coaches and boy were they right. Run 4-5 days a week MINIMUM. If at all possible run every day, but make sure you have an easy day midweek.

But I have no idea what your fitness level is like to start or what Beast will be like.
 

USMA85

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Frankly speaking, you will be just fine. Given you're accustomed to running as evidenced by 3 years of XC, 800 and 1600 you will be more familiar with running than most of your classmates from that perspective along. The biggest thing, IMO, to conquer at West Point are the hills as running from The Plain up to Michie Stadium can be difficult at best. If you're accustomed to running up/down hills then you're good. The advice of running 4-5 days a week MINIMUM as posted above to properly prepare is absolute overkill. If you do that, you'll be more than prepared. Yes, you will be divided into groups based on your ability.
 

BSCAR

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The advice of running 4-5 days a week MINIMUM as posted above to properly prepare is absolute overkill. If you do that, you'll be more than prepared.
Better to be over prepared than underprepared; through, to clarify,I'm not advocating for going out and running 40+ miles a week and running yourself into the ground. But a 20-30 minute run a day--if only to warm up the legs every day-- up and down some hills or doing some interval training isn't extreme by any means. Whatever you choose to do, just take care of your body while doing it.

But to be an endurance runner capable of extreme distances, in my opinion, should be a goal of anyone looking branch combat arms; circumstances in war are never predictable and one never knows when we may have to take a page out of Jackson's handbook and march 54 miles in two days to turn the enemy's flank.
 

UHBlackhawk

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Sep 22, 2015
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You actually have several physical objectives.

The Army PT test (APFT).
The 2 mile run is not really a long distance run. The best training for it is actually 400/800 sprints.
The push up. Do them for time and do them correctly. 100 push ups done incorrectly is a zero.
Sit-ups. Never was sure how to work on these.

Longer runs. These are normally in formation and at a slowe pace. As pointed out work on hills. Go for 1 and 2 hour runs.

Ruck marching. This is where core strength helps. Go to a gym and work on that- legs and such. Maybe go hiking every other week or so with boots and a small back pack. No need to go nuts with this as long as you are in shape.

Finally, if soccer is a spring sport I would not necessarily forsake it to physically prepare in the spring. There are leadership skills learned on the sports field that can prepare you to be a military leader.
 
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CA_hopeful

5-Year Member
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Apr 13, 2015
Messages
79
You actually have several physical objectives.

The Army PT test (APFT).
The 2 mile run is not really a long distance run. The best training for it is actually 400/800 sprints.
The push up. Do them for time and do them correctly. 100 push ups done incorrectly is a zero.
Sit-ups. Never was sure how to work on these.

Longer runs. These are normally in formation and at a slowe pace. As pointed out work on hills. Go for 1 and 2 hour runs.

Ruck marching. This is where core strength helps. Go to a gym and work on that- legs and such. Maybe go hiking every other week or so with boots and a small back pack. No need to go nuts with this as long as you are in shape.

Finally, if soccer is a spring sport I would not necessarily forsake it to physically prepare in the spring. There are leadership skills learned on the sports field that can prepare you to be a military leader.

Thanks for all the great advice! Soccer is a winter sport; track is the spring sport I would be missing though I will probably work out with them quite often (I just don't want to do the meets because they are time consuming and there isn't even a full female team. Also, they suck.)
 

UHBlackhawk

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Sep 22, 2015
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Thanks for all the great advice! Soccer is a winter sport; track is the spring sport I would be missing though I will probably work out with them quite often (I just don't want to do the meets because they are time consuming and there isn't even a full female team. Also, they suck.)

If you are a female I would definately work on "women's core" with the recent emphasis on getting women into combat arms. The Army has rolled out a new physical test called the OPAT (Occupational Physical Assessment Test). This will not replace the APFT, but be a gender neutral physical assessment of those who wish to go into physically demanding branches such as infantry and combat engineers.
This is NOT something you need to really worry about as a plebe. You don't branch until you're a firstie. But it does give you an idea of the standards you will need to start working toward if you wish to be in combat arms.

https://www.armytimes.com/articles/...ess-test-for-soldiers-who-want-to-switch-moss
 

brovol

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May 26, 2015
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My son went into beast this past summer in great shape, but ended up actually being disappointed his company did not have much in terms of challenging runs. Either the length of runs , or the pace, he thought they were far too easy. So, if you have cross country background I am sure you will be fine for beast.

After beast though my son tried out for the boxing team, and currently he is on the crew team. The workouts for both he described as brutal, with a ton of very hard running, surpassing anything he did for HS football, basketball, soccer.... West Point is ripe with steep elevation, and he is running from the boathouse, which is at River level, to Michie Stadium, then stairs at Michie, then back. Not sure where else they go, but then there is more workouts after that on erg machines.

In short, according to my son the beast workouts or runs are more than manageable, but that may not be the case with at least some of the sports teams. Rucks during beast can be difficult though, but my son said that is all about how you load your pack. Once you figure that out, he said they are not bad at all. He enjoyed them; particularly the March Back.
 

brovol

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May 26, 2015
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.....Another thing for those of you who want to be prepared for beast. Blister prep and care. Working your boots in would be wise, even to the extent that you get the blisters and get them to heal so you have calluses by the time beast starts. Also bring lots of moleskin.
 
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