Endurance Fitness Snapshot of MARSOC Marines

By Rob Shaul, Founder

In August 2020, five MARSOC Marines stationed in North Carolina completed the MTI Military Athlete 3/3/3 Endurance Assessment. Two of the athletes scored “Poor” on the assessment, two scored “Good,” and one scored “Excellent.” One mitigating factor was the weather at the time … 78 degrees and 94% humidity.

Background

MTI developed the MTI Military Athlete Endurance Assessment in 2017 as an answer to test the mission-direct endurance fitness demands for soldiers and Marines. All current official military fitness assessments have an endurance component – an unloaded 1.5 to 3 mile unloaded run for time. In our opinion, these short-distance unloaded runs duration not accurately reflect the duration, distance, and loading of the “real thing” endurance fitness demands for military athletes deployed to combat zones or attending special military schools or selections.

In developing the MTI 3/3/3 Military Endurance Assessment, here were our thoughts going in:

  • Mission-Direct: The assessment should assess mission-direct endurance demands, which for military athletes means loaded movement.
  • The assessment must be easy to complete and easy to score. The assessment should be able to be completed as a unit with minimal requirements for scoring and tracking. It should also be able to be completed in the amount of time afforded to units for PT… so at absolute maximum, four hours. No superficial training gear or instruction. KISS principle applies.
  • Training area should be simple. a 1.5 mile flat loop or 1.5 mile down/back flat course on road, plus a stop watch, is all units/athletes will need for this assessment.
  • The type of equipment and weight carried should be the same, or closely simulated, to the requirements of the job. We utilized a study by the US Army Army Center for Lessons Learned, titled “The Modern Warriors Combat Load” to determine realistic weight for mission realities.
  • Each event should be individually scored, then tallied for an overall assessment score. Similar to the relative strength assessment, individual event scoring allows us more data on fitness deficiencies.

The MTI Military Athlete Endurance Assessment deploys three individual 3-mile legs, for a total distance of 9 miles. Each leg has different loading, and there is a 6-minute rest between legs to rest/prepare for the next effort. Uniform for the event is t-shirt, cammie bottoms and boots.

  • Leg 1 is run unloaded, carrying a 10-pound weight or dummy rifle.
  • Leg 2 is loaded at 45 pounds, and carrying a 10-pound weight or dummy rifle.
  • Leg 3 is loaded at 75-pounds, and carrying a 10-pound weight or dummy rifle.

As well, each leg has its own scoring based on finished time, and the individual leg scores are added up for an overall score. See below for the assessment protocol and scoring:

MTI 3/3/3 Military Endurance Assessment Protocol

Uniform:

    • Military – boots and cammies

Warm Up:

2 Rounds

    • 100m Run
    • Instep/Hip Flex/Pigeon Stretch

Training

(1) 3 Mile Run – Unloaded

In boots and cammie bottoms, t-shirt top, while carrying a rifle or similarly weighted object, the athlete will run three miles at maximum effort.

** 6 Minutes to recover/prepare for the next event. Be strict – no more or less than 6 minutes.

(2) 3 Mile Ruck Run at Fighting Load – 45 Pounds

In boots and cammie bottoms, t-shirt top, while carrying a rifle or similarly weighted object, the athlete will ruck run three miles at maximum effort wearing a 45# ruck.

** 6 Minutes to recover/prepare for the next event. Be strict – no more or less than 6 minutes.

(3) 3 Mile Ruck Run  in Approach March Load – 75 Pounds

In boots and cammie bottoms, t-shirt top, while carrying a rifle or similarly weighted object, the athlete will ruck run three miles at maximum effort wearing a 75# ruck.

Scoring

The standards for each event serve as the baseline for scoring. Each event has an individual interval, which will equal one point (see table below).

Event Time & Points Awarded
3 Mile Run – Unloaded

< 21:00 = 10 points

21:01 – 22:00 = 9 points

22:01 – 23:00 = 8 points

23:01 – 24:00 = 7 points

24:01 – 25:00 = 6 points

25:01 – 26:00 = 5 points

26:01 – 27:00 = 4 points

27:01 – 28:00 = 3 points

28:01 – 29:00 = 2 points

29:01 – 30:00 = 1 point

30:01(+) = 0 points

3 Mile Run Run @ 45#

<30:00 = 10 pts

30:01 – 31:00 = 9 pts

31:01 – 32:00 = 8 pts

32:01 – 33:00 = 7 pts

33:01 – 34:00 = 6 pts

34:01 – 35:00 = 5 pts

35:01 – 36:00 = 4 pts

36:01 – 37:00 = 3 pts

37:01 – 38:00 = 2 pts

38:01 – 39:00 = 1 pts

39:01(+) = 0 pts

3 Mile Ruck Run @ 75#

<37:00 = 10 pts

37:01 – 38:00 = 9 pts

38:01 – 39:00 = 8 pts

39:01 – 40:00 = 7 pts

40:01 – 41:00 = 6 pts

41:01 – 42:00 = 5 pts

42:01 – 43:00 = 4 pts

43:01 – 44:00 = 3 pts

44:01 – 45:00 = 2 pts

45:01 – 46:00 = 1 pts

46:00 (+) = 0 pts

Find the sum of the three events for your overall score. For example…

    • 3 Mile Unloaded Run Time: 23:30 = 7 pts
    • 3 Mile Ruck Run @ 45# Time: 34:22 = 5 pts
    • 3 Mile Ruck Run @ 75# Time: 43:16 = 6 pts
    • Total Score = 18 points

MTI 3/3/3 Tactical Athlete Endurance Assessment – Scoring

Poor 0 – 10
Good 11-20
Excellent 21+

MARSOC Marine Snapshot Scores & Discussion

In August 2020, five MARSOC Marines completed MTI Military Athlete 3/3/3 Endurance Assessment. None of the Marines who took the assessment had trained specifically for it previously. All were volunteers. Scores and assessment notes below:

Assessment Notes:

  • Course: 1.5 mile out & back w/ 2x small hills and a shallow climb to the finish. Course is as flat as terrain gets on the compound.
  • Overall assessment: the weather conditions (temperature: 78 degrees; Humidity: 94%) had a significant impact on every athletes’ perceived level of exertion, and the resulting times. We started at 6 AM; doesn’t get much cooler than this in August in NC.
  • The rest time between each effort was just enough to change ruck loads, refill water, and head back to the start point.
  • Ruck loads were verified on scale before each effort. NOTE: ruck weights listed are dry weight. Each athlete carried an additional 5 lbs (average) of water.
  • We used 8# rubber training rifles. Some athletes hand-carried them, others cross-body slung them. Those who hand-carried them noted a more significant impact to their running (especially during slick run) than those who slung them.

Overall, we feel these scores help further validate our assessment, and it’s scoring system. If all the athletes who completed the assessment had scored “excellent” we would have known the scoring system was too easy. Likewise, if they had all scored “poor” – we would have known the scoring system was too hard.

As is, the athlete’s scores were spread out over a relative “curve” – which is what we’d hope for.

Two of the athletes did score “poor” which was a surprise at given their Special Forces status, but there are mitigating factors. First – the course wasn’t totally flat. Second, the hot weather and humidity were brutal. Third – each added to their load with an extra 5 pounds of water.

We believe if the same athletes would have taken the assessment on a flat course, in cool, dry weather, all would have scored “Good” or better – reflecting what we’ve seen for fitness at Special Forces units.

This assessment is no joke … – 9 miles total, in cammies and boots, all of it carrying a dummy rifle or a similar item. Of the 9 miles, 6 miles are loaded, including a crushing, final 3 miles loaded at a heavy 75 pounds.

 

Questions, Comments, Feedback? Email rob@mtntactical.com

 

 


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2 thoughts on “Endurance Fitness Snapshot of MARSOC Marines

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