January Lab Rat Opportunities

By Rob Shaul


MTI has two lab rat opportunities in January:

(1) Running Speed & Endurance Mini Study

We’re looking for Lab Rats to participate in a focused, 3.5 week, 3-day/week Mini-Study comparing programming approaches to increase 6-mile run time.

This will be a focused study focused on unloaded running speed and endurance

Specifically, we’re interested to compare a protocol of short, threshold intervals only, versus a protocol of short intervals, plus longer, slow-paced distances. If we get enough lab rats, we may create another group running moderate distances at a moderate pace.

We’ve conducted a similar study previously using local lab rats and ruck running at 45 pounds, but have never done this for unloaded running. In that study, intervals significantly outperformed a combo of intervals and moderate-paced rucking, but the sample size was small.


Lab Rats will be broken into 2 groups: Group A, and Group B (and possibly Group C if we get enough lab rats). Each group will complete an initial 6-mile run assessment, then a different running progression, 3 times per week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Required Equipment: Stopwatch (smartphone will work). Known 6 mile, 8 mile, and 2-mile distances. Flat course.

Cycle Duration and Schedule: This MTI Mini-Study will take 3.5 weeks. It will begin Monday, January 27, 2020, with a 6-mile run assessment. Lab rats will complete the run training on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. During the 3-weeks Lab Rat progression will be based on his/her 6-mile running assessment finish time – so the training should automatically “scale” to the individual athlete’s incoming fitness.

On February 17, 2020, lab rats will re-assess their 6-mile run and the results between the two progressions will be compared.

To Participate
  • You’ll need to commit to running 3 days/week for 3.5 weeks, and follow the program as prescribed.
  • You’ll need to commit to only do this training for running. No other distance training is allowed during the study period as it will skew the results.
  • You’ll need a stopwatch.
  • You’ll need to be an experienced, fit athlete able to run 6 miles on day one, and up to 16 miles/week.
  • The cycle will begin Monday, January 27, 2020, and end, Monday, February 17, 2020.

This is a focused mini-study which only involves distance running. You’ll be able to do other training as well, just no additional distance running.

Want to be an MTI Lab Rat?

Please email rob@mtntactical.com, and put “Run Lab Rat” in the subject line.

Please include:

  • your age
  • Your running experience and some idea of your current running fitness
  • Finally, please verify you can commit to the 3.5 weeks, 3 day/week training cycle.

You’ll be assigned to a Group, and provided with further instructions.

Training will start on January 27, 2020.






(2) Tactical and Mountain Professional Lab Rats Needed to Take MTI’s Relative Strength Assessment on Monday, January 20.

Relative Strength, or strength per body weight, is the most important type of strength for both tactical athletes and professional mountain athletes (pro athletes, guides, ski patrol, rangers, wardens, full-time SAR, etc.).

We developed MTI’s Relative Strength Assessment several years ago to establish strength standards for tactical and mountain athletes. Over the years I’ve put several tactical and other athletes through the assessment, but I’m always interested in expanding our data set, and so am asking tactical athletes (military/fire rescue/LE) and mountain professionals (pro athletes, guides, wardens, rangers, etc.) to take the assessment this coming Monday, January 20, 2020, and send me the results. We’ll compile the results by athlete type, and use the results to help validate the scoring we’ve previously developed.


Everyone will take the Relative Strength Assessment next Monday. The session takes right around an hour to complete and you’ll need a rack, bench, barbell with bumper plates for power cleans, and pull up bar.

If interested, please email rob@mtntactical.com and put “Strength Lab Rat” in the subject line before Monday.

Please include:

  • Your athlete type (military, fire rescue, LE, mountain)
  • Your age, sex and height/weight.
  • If you’re SOF in the military or SWAT/SRT in law enforcement, please include that info as well.

Again, all will take the Relative Strength Assessment next Monday, January 20 – so plan on it for that day’s training session.


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