Q&A 5.14.20

QUESTION

I purchased your 1.5 mile improvement plan. I am trying to improve it and get a better time under 12:00 and my fastest time is 12:15.
Question:
Building an aerobic base makes you a better efficient and faster runner?
Background:
 
I spent some time building an aerobic base. Running at a low heart rate between 120-150 BPM, not for mileage but for minutes (ie, 30 – 60 min). I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Tactical Barbell: Conditioning base building training program.
Anyways, for 5 weeks I spent building an aerobic base. Followed by 3 additional weeks of speed work (heading into the 4th week now). I recently did a 1.5 mile and my time got worse. My time was 12:53. I couldn’t understand what went wrong. I thought building an aerobic base would allow me to run faster by using fat as fuel, my heart being more efficient. I noticed that my pace was getting faster at the same effort during aerobic base building. I understand that the aerobic and anaerobic base are two different systems but I thought at least the aerobic base would provide some sort of efficiency in the background during my 1.5 mile run.
I noticed the 1.5 mile run improvement plan focuses more on 800m repeats and one aerobic maintenance run. This type of stuff is different but similar from what I have learned through the tactical barbell system. Your 1.5 mile run improvement plan is very similar if not exactly the same as my ‘Phase 2′ protocol (2 HIIT days, 1 LSS run).  The program and others tells me to work more on aerobic, low heart rate running to be more efficient for anaerobic work. Then other people that used the Tactical barbell program say to work on speed work to get faster at running.
Now i’m stuck in a dilemma. I purchased your program in hopes of getting a better time, even though the phase 2 training is the similar, your program is more specific. I hope it works. I don’t even know if I have a good aerobic base to begin with because its so subtle to notice the biological benefits. The only thing I noticed was my pace getting faster over a period of time at the same effort and the running 1.5 miles make my time worse.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and getting back to me.

ANSWER

I’m not sure I understand your specific question.
In general, a greater mode-specific aerobic base is more important for a longer assessment distance, and this is reflected in our programming. So my marathon programming has more aerobic base work than my 1.5 mile run plan.
Also, in general, different coaches have different biases when it comes to training, and there are more than one way to skin a cat. The endurance programming we deploy comes from my experience, primarily working with multi-modal athletes – whose job or sport have multiple fitness demands. A soldier has strength, work capacity, chassis integrity and other fitness demands not shared by a focused endurance athlete. So my endurance programming bias is based on efficiency …. if I only have so much time to train his endurance for a 1.5-3 mile run, what will be the most efficient? In my work, I’ve found assessment-based intervals work best.
As well, different athletes will react differently to the same programming. I’ve found our programming approach works well for 80-85% of the athletes who complete it …. but some don’t accomodate the same and don’t get the same results. This can be a difference in biology, but also a difference in training age. For example, a world class 1600m competing athlete likely would not get as much gain from my 1.5 mile programming as a soldier. The volume and intensity likely isn’t enough to improve the programming for the world class runner.
Finally – accommodation. “Everything works but nothing works forever” …. so when faced with a physical challenge the body reacts and fitness improves. But after a while, the reaction (accommodation) to the same challenge plateaus. So, if you complete the 1.5 Mile plan, then immediately repeat it, you’re gains the second time through will be less. This can also occur over long periods of time.
What I’d recommend for you is to not jump around with programming. Complete MTI’s 1.5 mile training plan and let the final 1.5 mile assessment be the judge of it’s effectiveness for you and don’t overthink it. Next, try another plan with more aerobic base work and see how your respond.
– Rob

QUESTION

My plans are ruined. We just moved into my house and was planning on ordering all my home gym equipment knowing I could get home gym equipment fairly quickly after we moved.
That all changed with all gyms closing down! And my squat rack, bar and plates are a good 6-8 weeks away!
In the meantime I want to keep my training effective for Hunting.
I am finishing Week 5 of Backcountry hunting Base and because I don’t have the bar and bench etc and don’t know what I should do instead of Backcountry Hunting Build 1.
Should I just repeat the last weeks of Base? Or should I move on to something else, while I wait for my barbells, etc. gym equipment?
I have almost everything for the Backcountry training plans except equipment for the bar bell work. I don’t have a bench, bar, plates or squat rack yet. And they will take 6 weeks to get here at least.
I have the sangbags, step up box and all the other stuff.
I have pairs of 30# and 50# kettlebells. And, 70# one as well.
Should I just skip the barbell work completely or sub in alternatives using kettle bells instead of a bar?
 
Thanks a lot. I know you guys are having quite the time right now. I wish you well.

ANSWER

You’ll want to continue on to Backcountry Hunting Build 1 – the progression in the endurance (run, ruck, step ups) is most important for your hunt.

Sub KB alternatives for the barbell work. It doesn’t have to be perfect … the mountain endurance/chassis integrity work is the focus of our bc hunt programming.
Email questions if issues come up with exercise subs.
– Rob

QUESTION

Just wondering if there are any military fitness plans that incorporate 2 sessions per day? Currently with the lockdown it’s much easier to find time for workouts. Either way going to give the humility plan a go.

ANSWER

None of our Base Fitness plans have two-a-days, but many of our selection plans do. Look at the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan.
– Rob

QUESTION

Do you have any resources, articles, or plans on TAC SEPA sessions? Anything like your Chassis Integrity plan?

ANSWER

– Rob

QUESTION

Hey rob, quick question. I (hopefully) check into MARSOC A&S August 6th, and plan on starting the A&S plan June 1st so its 9 weeks out etc. What plan in your opinion would be the best “builder” for the running and rucking volume until then?

I’ve ran your Afghan pre deployment plan and before that the military onramp plan with swimming on my own, and with pool closures I cant currently swim. I was considering running the USMC PFT plan combined with the heavy ruck intervals once a week from the A&S plan, and tack the swim improvement plan on top whenever pools are open, so no more than 5 2-a-days a week so I dont overtrain.
I havent completed any other plans, but have access to everything for the A&S plan (sandbag, dumbells, USMC O course) and want to build up to this properly. What do you think?

ANSWER

I’d recommend the SFOD-D Build Plan … which is will address both the running/rucking build up you’re after. Use 50# for the ruck load (vice 60#) in the plan. This is a 7-week plan …. make it 8 weeks by repeating week 6, and take a full week of rest before starting the A&S Plan.
If you do get to swim, complete the swimming sessions in the A&S Plan.
Fingers crossed for your August 6 selection start…
– Rob

QUESTION

I have a question about progressing through the programs. I am currently 4/6 weeks in the body weight program and will be beginning the Humility Program afterwards. As I goal set and plan do you recommend a de-load or rest week in between programming? In that vein, my goal is to complete the complete set of Virtue, should I plan on a de-load or rest between the phases?

ANSWER

If you’re completing the Bodyweight Foundation Training Plan, take a week off before Humility.
Week 7 in Humility and the other Virtue Plans is an unload/taper week, so you can run these plans back to back.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m finishing up the Monster Factory Plan and I would like to get started on another plan.  I have access to a barbell set with bumper plates, dumbells, sandbags, a Skierg, and outdoor access.  Once the quarentine restrictions are lifted I’ll be mapping the geology in the mountains of southwest Idaho. Mapping days typically consist of 8-20km traverses in mountainous terrain with pack loads up to 30kg at the end of the day. I was looking at the Wilderness Professional Training Plans and wasn’t quite sure how to proceed. I’m thinking of either the Frank Church or Bob Marshall plan, but I wanted to get your opinion on how to proceed knowing the physical demands and that I’m finishing up with the Monster Factory Plan.

ANSWER

Yes on the Wilderness Professional Plans … but I’d recommend Wrangell-St. Elias for it’s slight mountain endurance emphasis.
– Rob

QUESTION

Thanks for all you do with crafting programs and research. Been following MTI for a while and excited to knock out a plan.
I’ve spent the last 3 years as a Rescue Swimmer in the Navy. Was just picked up for Marine Corps. OCS where my end goal is to screen for MARSOC. I ran in college so I have a decent background with that. For the last couple years I have been primarily lifting, running and swimming and have a good base in those. For about the last 6 months I have been focusing on increasing my strength which was lacking from running a lot. Primarily focused on front squat, overhead press and weighted pull-ups. Maxes are up to 295 for front squat, 165 for overhead press and 125 for weight pullup. Running wise I can max out the PFT with an under 18 min 3 mile (30 pull-ups and 150 crunches) and have worked in a decent amount of hills and tempo runs. I have a tough time keeping weight on and have gotten up to 180lbs (5’10”) which is where I would like to stay going into training.
I have the next couple months off of work before I go to OCS and would like to take this time to really grind. What plan would you recommend? The USMC OCS plan seems under the work capacity that I have been doing. Since college 5 years ago I have been working in multiple work sessions per day a couple days most weeks and would like to maintain that if possible. Ive done 3 sessions a day multiple times a week before, until I realized I was being a fucking idiot and wasn’t able to recover well. I know I err on the side of being an idiot in that regard.
I don’t care as much about training specifically for the PFT but rather being able to go in strong, able to crush endurance events, prevent injury and have a decent PFT.
I’m far far from an expert on anything other than running and its been a work in progress to learn how to incorporate strength, swimming, running and general endurance. I don’t want to come across as egotistical but a recommendation of a plan based on where I’m at and want to go would be invaluable. I’ve half assed things before, its cost me and I’ve learned.
My gym on base is still open for limited hours and should stay that way in the foreseeable future. Pools are closed but I have a set of fins and a river I could make use of.

ANSWER

MARSOC A&S Selection Training Plan – intense, 2-a-days, etc. Will over-prepare you for OCS, but should satisfy your need to train.
– Rob

QUESTION

I am interested in purchasing the humility program but have a few questions. I have been working out hard for over a year now (crossfit stuff on my own)..I started crossfitting back in 2012 when I was a firefighter..I quit in 2014 after having a baby, then had 2 more kids, dabbled in it here and there….then started working out hardcore again last May….I may or may not consider testing for fire depts again….I started doing the horseman training program in december..got thru january…feb had a bad month started up again in march. I am pretty strong for a chic but I am about 20 pounds overweight still (working on it)..my body weight exercises suck.  I am looking to get faster, and I have a hard time challenging myself at home ( no competition)…I want to do humility…but I cant do pullups yet…even when i was a firefighter i could barely muster a couple strict. Can i use bands in this program to help? I thought about doing the fat loss one but its seems kind of boring, I really like horsemen tp, but I need to work on calisthenics.  Could I possibly add in a strength day to it? How would that affect it?

ANSWER

You’re underestimating the intensity of Humility.
My sense is right now this plan is too intense for you, and I’d recommend starting with  Bodyweight Foundation. The strength work in Bodyweight Foundation is assessment-based. In this way the plan automatically “scales” to your incoming fitness and continues to push you as your fitness improves.
Improving bodyweight strength, and adding endurance will help prepare you for Humility – which you could do next.
As well – fix your diet and you’ll shed fat. Here are our recommendations. 
We prefer negative pull ups over bands for pull ups.
– Rob

QUESTION

I have started the process to become a wilderness SAR volunteer. Can you recommend one of your fitness plans for wilderness SAR? The climate is Mid-Atlantic woodlands / Appalachian mountains.  I have a fitness center membership (not using it right now with stay at home order) but also run and ruck.

ANSWER

Plans/Order in the Wilderness Professional Packet – these plans are specifically designed for Wilderness Professionals (rangers, wardens, biologists), including wilderness SAR.
Start with Jedediah Smith – the first plan in the packet. It deploys bodyweight strength so you should be good if your gym is shut down.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’m an old time client of mtn tactical and have enjoyed several of your plans already. At present I’m doing my best with Humility v2 (as I’m stuck at home, limited equipment and no climbing…)
I am looking for a training plan to give my 16.5 year old daughter. She has very basic /low fitness to start with and have never trained seriously.  She has high motivation now and want to tackle 5 sessions a week…. but no more than that.
Wondered if one of your plans might be a good fit? Any other resources you can point me in?

ANSWER

Have her start with Bodyweight Foundation.
– Rob

QUESTION

I just purchased the push up and pull up improvement training plan and I am wondering if the 2 min. max rep assessment is based on not taking breaks (i.e. not dropping off the pull up bar, not dropping out of push up form to rest) or is truly based on sheer quantity of complete reps (i.e. ok to do 12 pull ups, drop off bar, jump back up and do 3 more).

ANSWER

Push Ups …. you can stop and rest if needed.
Pull Ups – you can rest, but feet can’t touch and hands can’t come off the bar.
– Rob

QUESTION

I’ve bought several of your programs for my family members and they love them!  I bought one for my friends son “my adopted Brazilian son” to help him prepare for the airforce, he was rather weak and I was worried about him in the fitness area, well … he graduates basic today and has informed me that he is competing with one other trainee to receive the highest physical fitness score!!
Anyway, I’m looking to buy a program for myself, I’m 57, retired army, and getting out of shape. Im not interested in a comprehensive program, looking for a weight training program “body building” to cut fat, build muscle, and get my physic back.  For cardio, I’d like to stick to my home equipment of stationary bike, elliptical, and stepper.

Any recommendations?

ANSWER

Look at SF45 Bravo – heavy strength, and you can ride your bike for endurance.
Email questions.
– Rob

QUESTION

I prepared for my off-piste skiing vacation with your Backcountry program for the last two years and felt really well prepared. I would very much appreciate your advice on the choice and sequence of programs before starting the Backcountry program again this October.

I’m a 51 year old male, relatively fit, do calisthenics 3-4 days a week (using books of Kavadlo brothers) and run 1-2 times a week.

I exercise entirely at home with limited equipment (or in hotels when travelling). Have pullup bar, rings, 25 pound dumbbells, sandbag, boxes, backpack. No barbell.

Seems to me that Bodyweight Foundation, the Sandbag programs, Humility and your new Closed Gym programs are all viable options.

ANSWER

You could also add the Sandbag / Weight Vest / Dumbbell Training Plan to the list.
– Rob

QUESTION

My 14 year old son is a football player. We are finishing week 3 of the 357 strength program. Once we finish this program do you have a recommendation for a program that would be good for high school athletes since schools are closed?  We have a home gym, trying to get him faster and stronger for the upcoming season. Thank you for your time.

ANSWER

I have sport-specific, prep-aged programming at our sister website, prepstrength.com.
– Rob

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