Military Physical Fitness Test

by Meth

Hi, my name's Meth, I'm in Thailand and I'm 15 years old. I've always had difficulties in long-distance running, however, I'm quite a fast sprinter.

In Thailand, every boy at the age of 14 has to join the military for 3 years.

To be able to join we must pass three tests:
* 34 sit-ups in 1 minute
* 22 push-ups in 30 seconds
* and a 800-meter run in 3.15 minutes.

And so, I started training 8 months before the test. I searched the internet and found lots of websites promoting interval running. I've tried it many times and found it very hard.

About 4 months later, I decided to do it quite seriously. I joined a fitness centre near my house, I found that on the treadmill, there is an interval training program.

The training starts with a 1.47 minutes of jogging (8.5 km/h), followed by another 1.47 minutes of moderate speed (9.5 km/h), then a 1.47-minute of 80% sprinting (14.0km/h), then another 1.47 minutes of jogging (8.5 km/h).

This then swaps with the 80% sprinting with same amount of time for 5 intervals before a warm down.

The last interval is 1.47 minutes of 17 km/h sprinting before a 1.47-minute of 9.5 km/h, then 8.5 km/h.

Finally a 3-minute walk (a total of about 28 minutes). I did this for 3 months and felt a lot fitter. At first I could only do a maximum of 12.5 km/h for 1.47 minute, but as I progressed, I managed 14 km/h.

I really felt confident going into the test, because I felt many times fitter. In the test, about 30 boys ran together, there were a total of about 200 boys on the day.

I literally finished the 800-metre first, out of 30 boys, i couldn't believe it!! I was never successful in long-distance running, but then here i am, 8 months later, 800 metres in 2.21 minutes. After, I checked my time with the other groups and found out that my time was actually the fastest. I really felt that it was worth while doing the interval training for 3 months, so I was very proud of the effort I put in and the outcome I received.


Little addition by Dominique:

Hi Meth,
Great story and happy to see you had such great results. You are one fit, young boy!

I believe interval running gained popularity after Emile Zatopek had great success with it. In the Olympics of 1952 he won gold on the 5k, 10k and then, at last minute he decided to enter the marathon and won that one as well (not bad to win Olympic gold in the first marathon of your life!).

What you did is probably best referred to as fartlek which is a type of speed play.

I think the success in your training was not so much the type of training you did, but the length of your training period (4-8 months) and also the length of your training sessions (~30 minutes, ~5k) which must have given you a good running base.

In the end, after a number of months of training you could comfortably run that distance, of course. If you then suddenly only have to do 800 metres, it seems like a stroll in the park as you found out!

I sometimes get asked for last-minute advice, e.g.
"I have got this test in three weeks time, and have not trained, what can I do?".

Next time somebody asks me I'll refer them to you, okay... :)

Well done, and thanks for your running story.
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