Triathlon and setting realistic goals

talltailless

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Hello all,

Crossposting from my intro post earlier - a long one, would appreciate your time in reading it!

I'm a female in her mid-20s looking to train to enter the ROP/RT, ideally around August 2022.

My current stats are as follows:
vPJFT - situps: 30/22/20; pressups: 20/20/18 [completed 20 burpees and 1 min plank for 3 sets].
Pull ups: less than 1 (doing declines and half-jumps *text deleted*)
5km PB: 26:27
1.5 mile - rep 1: 13:06
1.5 mile - rep 2: 12:41

Current training:
Daily Sean Lerwill's gainers for pressups and situps for past 2 months.
Decline and half-jump pullups by the doorway.
Weekly vPJFT for past 6 weeks.
Recently transitioned to triathlon since Sept and training for my first triathlon (half-IM; July 2021) with a coach, to build my cardiovascular fitness and mental robustness.

I've been informed by a trusted friend that perhaps a sprint distance tri (750m swim/20k bike/5k run: <2h of effort) instead of a half-IM (1.9k swim/90k bike/21.1km run: 6.5h of effort) would be more suited if I was using it as a means of getting into and surviving RM training. This friend also suggested not doing triathlon, as a more efficient means would be for an individualised training plan + coaching specific to making a competitive entry into RT. [Given the context I'm a mid-20s female who's not particularly gifted athletically, and holding down a full-time job; efficiency is key if training for an arduous goal]

I see their point re sprint triathlons given that most of the entry tests from the previous PRMC (eg. determination tests, 1.5 mile returns), and 3 out of 4 commando tests require intense effort of under 90 mins.

Any thoughts -
1) should I switch to sprint distances and aim to push my time on it?
2) Should I think of transitioning away from triathlon towards a more ROP/RT specific programme with the help of a coach, and if so, when? (I'm thinking the likes of Jon Stratford with Commando Active, Gaz Timmins/Ollie Osborne with Fortitude Elite).

And finally, being an average active female with a rugby background and in no way a representative or elite athlete, I'm well aware that hitting the entry targets and surviving RT may or may not be within my physical capabilities. In the spirit of setting SMART goals - notably *Realistic* and *Achievable* goals:

3) Is this even realistic? How can I tell if I'm on track with attaining these goals or when to call it being perhaps a step too far?


Thanks in advance.

TL;DR: Triathlon? If so, what distance. Otherwise, having a former Bootneck to help with specific + individualised ROP/RT training? Also is this even realistic or a step too far?
 

Chelonian

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I see their point re sprint triathlons given that most of the entry tests from the previous PRMC (eg. determination tests, 1.5 mile returns), and 3 out of 4 commando tests require intense effort of under 90 mins.

@03hlevitt has a triathlon background and might comment if he spots this. Other posts about about triathlon are accessible via the search box. Might be worth a look.

...looking to train to enter the ROP/RT, ideally around August 2022.

Others here are far better qualified than I am to comment on training but generally an averagely active person might train from zero to VPJFT+ within six months so time is not an issue for you.

Going out on a limb here but training to develop physical resilience to help avoid injury during RT might be worth considering.
Phys in the four week ROP is sub-maximal.
 

THOR

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Considering your goal is to enter in 2022 I personally would focus on building that endurance and running base now. Get a set of lungs that keep going even when everything else is screaming out to stop.

If there's any of that rugby mass kicking about it's worth dropping it; I know I was reluctant to let mine (the Guinness) go but pull ups and run times make it worthwhile. I'm never going to be mistaken for a racing snake but it's been worthwhile getting the strength to weight ratio better.

With the time frame you've set I feel you've got plenty opportunity to get those numbers way up there. Would hold off on getting a coach until closer to the time or unless you really feel you need that support or plateau; but I'm tight as a ducks backside with money and so that might be why :)
 

thirdtry

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@thirdtry is the man in the know when it comes to training!

Complimented by the shout out haha! But must give a caveat it's mainly just a personal level of nerdyness about all things phys, having once been the least-fit in my old troop (something that contributed to me not passing out at the time) and since turned it on its head and got fitness-obsessed (picking up various civvy PT quals en route which is why I'm into the science of it).

@talltailless feel free to PM if you want however best advice is to have a good scroll through the "Your Last Session/Workout Thread" which has been quiet recently but was booming with awesome sessions in the Spring and Summer, myself and lots of lads who are now in RT were active on there daily and it's a gold mine going back several years.

Also follow the Instagram page "Grizz Phys" ran by some serving RM and they post loads of disgusting sessions which are bound to make all your scores rocket.
 

Chelonian

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As referenced by @thirdtry over 9,000 posts about phys and pain:

 

talltailless

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train from zero to VPJFT+ within six months so time is not an issue for you.
@Chelonian Cheers for the reply. I should be able to hit the full vPJFT within the next few months, however phys-wise I'm most concerned about my pullups and running. I'm unlikely to pass the 30ft ropes without getting at least 5 solid pull ups (not aiming for minimums, but seeing as I'm <1 currently), and recruits often go in with a sub-20min 5km.

Cracking sub-20 is a huge feat on its own, given I'm not scratching sub-25 for a 5k. This will be a huge physiological challenge, given that dedicated runners take years to improve their 5k times. I'm uncertain my potential rate of improvement at this juncture, which is why the keenness to have a structured programme/guidance to optimise improvements, instead of ad-hoc sessions as per the "Your last session/workout" thread. (I've combed through it previously and again today, some good conversations in it to be fair.)

Going out on a limb here but training to develop physical resilience to help avoid injury during RT might be worth considering.
Good shout, I'm likely *text deleted* contact Hollie Roberts (former RM physio) for injury prevention if joining becomes a clearer reality. A stint in Hunter is almost inevitable given the intensity of training and that it's designed with young men in mind.
 

Caversham

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Any thoughts -
1) should I switch to sprint distances and aim to push my time on it?
2) Should I think of transitioning away from triathlon towards a more ROP/RT specific programme with the help of a coach, and if so, when? (I'm thinking the likes of Jon Stratford with Commando Active, Gaz Timmins/Ollie Osborne with Fortitude Elite).
My Bold.

If the people you have named require payment, then ignore. There are plenty of advice and programmes on here which cost nothing. Have a look at @arny01 and @Fintan. They both have good track records of getting applicants to the start line and also, train specific. Look at what is required at CTC, i.e. press ups, pull ups, sit ups, bleep tests and 1.5 mile runs. Also, throw in some drags, fireman's lifts, duck walks etc.

Good luck

Alan
 

thirdtry

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Reference running - 80/20 rule is key.

If you're running 5x per week, make 4 runs very slow and steady with a focus on getting longer and longer (up to 8+ miles for your long run, and around 4-6 miles for the others). One session is speedwork, alternate this each week between a sprints/fartlek session and a timed best effort run (be that a BFT or 5k, I find 5k is better for the overall fitness and BFT should be purely an occasional phys test maybe once every 2 or 3 months). Mileage seems to be THE KEY to fast run times even at shorter distances. Join any committed running forum or subreddit and they all go on about the relationship between certain mileages and certain times (e.g. a sub-20 5k is most common amongst 30mpw runners, a sub-18 5k is quite common amongst 50mpw runners etc etc).

Re GrizzPhys type sessions, you don't have to do the one they post that day. If you plan to do 3x circuits sessions per week then just choose any one and do it any day. I tend to choose a couple and do them back to back 3 or 4x per week, depending on how nasty they are. If they're notably long then obviously just do the one.
 

Chelonian

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I'm unlikely to pass the 30ft ropes without getting at least 5 solid pull ups...

This is important: ropes are climbed by applying the correct technique, not brute strength so don't worry about ropes just now.

Pull-ups might be a good focus in the first instance. Females often have a natural strength-to-bodyweight ratio. My thirteen-year-old niece can belt out more pull-ups than I can. But I am aged sixty! :)

Jon Stratford knows his stuff but as related by @Caversham be very wary of paying a single penny for training advice.
 

talltailless

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Considering your goal is to enter in 2022 I personally would focus on building that endurance and running base now. Get a set of lungs that keep going even when everything else is screaming out to stop.

If there's any of that rugby mass kicking about it's worth dropping it; I know I was reluctant to let mine (the Guinness) go but pull ups and run times make it worthwhile.

@THOR Good shout, defo trying to build that endurance base - therefore the tri training with just a question of distances (sprint vs middle distance).

I'm 75kg and 5 ft 5, with a bit of excess but not too much. Weight for me is likely to be important for yomping anywhere with weight/firemans carries, and/or losing weight

If you're running 5x per week, make 4 runs very slow and steady with a focus on getting longer and longer (up to 8+ miles for your long run, and around 4-6 miles for the others). One session is speedwork, alternate this each week between a sprints/fartlek session and a timed best effort run (be that a BFT or 5k, I find 5k is better for the overall fitness and BFT should be purely an occasional phys test maybe once every 2 or 3 months). Mileage seems to be THE KEY to fast run times even at shorter distances. Join any committed running forum or subreddit and they all go on about the relationship between certain mileages and certain times (e.g. a sub-20 5k is most common amongst 30mpw runners, a sub-18 5k is quite common amongst 50mpw runners etc etc).

@thirdtry Solid advice, thanks. I'm currently averaging 14mpw which shows where the gaps are... volume!
Could I clarify whether increasing mileage even at a slow pace (relative to own PB times) will make one go faster even at shorter distances?
What should a 'slow and steady' pace be relative to race pace? (Eg. If 5k race pace is 5:17/km, what would be the steady pace for the bulk of the running?)
 

thirdtry

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@THOR Good shout, defo trying to build that endurance base - therefore the tri training with just a question of distances (sprint vs middle distance).

I'm 75kg and 5 ft 5, with a bit of excess but not too much. Weight for me is likely to be important for yomping anywhere with weight/firemans carries, and/or losing weight



@thirdtry Solid advice, thanks. I'm currently averaging 14mpw which shows where the gaps are... volume!
Could I clarify whether increasing mileage even at a slow pace (relative to own PB times) will make one go faster even at shorter distances?
What should a 'slow and steady' pace be relative to race pace? (Eg. If 5k race pace is 5:17/km, what would be the steady pace for the bulk of the running?)

Yes so the theory is that slow and steady mileage builds the aerobic capacity (I.e. your cardio fitness) leading to bigger lungs, bigger heart etc etc. It also takes less of a toll on the rest of your body than intense running. What this means is you can feel quite fresh getting out running almost every day - whereas if you were running as fast as possible every day I almost guarantee you'd feel pretty wiped out by about day 3 or 4. Feeling fresher = more runs = more mileage and more aerobic fitness overall.

Now you DO need that speed session once per week to train the heart and lungs and legs to go fast. If you just jogged slow every week then you'd probably end up being able to run far but not fast. But you really don't need to exceed one speed session per week.

The summarised idea is the more miles in the legs, the faster you can move over shorter distances. If your "average" easy run is about 5 miles then a best effort 5k/3 miler just feels noticeably shorter and more comfortable.

There's loads of stuff online supporting 80/20 running theory (if you Google it make sure you include the word running as "80/20" as a term on its own has several uses across the fitness world alone). Notably almost every world class runner follows it.

My own personal experience with it this summer took me from a 22 minute 5k in about April, to sub-20 by August. I also got my first ever Half Marathon done and ended up doing one almost every week, and I smashed my 1.5 mile PB, previously had been stuck on about 08:50 and got a 08:29 in early September.

Likewise I've seen the negative effect of losing that mileage. The last 2 months I was stuck in a horrible warehouse job while I wait for my Med Appeal to go through, and had to cut my weekly mileage down to about 15mpw in order to fit everything in around the long shifts. Yesterday I ran a 20:45 5k which has really p*ssed me off! Thankfully in a job with better hours now and looking at getting back up to 30mpw and sub-20 5k again over the next 6 or 8 weeks. So some personal evidence to support the theory too.
 

Duality

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I bought my son a pull up rack when he started the application process. Not anything fancy - a free standing one from Amazon. Anytime he came in, he'd do some pull ups. He was fine with them but liked having the rack so he could keep pushing his totals.
If you can get your hands on something like that and a set of resistance bands, you can do assisted pull ups until you can do them on your own.
Good luck with your training.
 

THOR

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What should a 'slow and steady' pace be relative to race pace? (Eg. If 5k race pace is 5:17/km, what would be the steady pace for the bulk of the running?)

60-80% Max Heart Rate.... Somewhere between being able to hold a decent conversation to kind of holding a conversation between breaths. Will obviously vary and get quicker as you get fitter.
 

HAWJ94

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From a strength and conditioning coach viewpoint (one that’s worked with endurance athletes in the past), specificity is always the main priority.

If you wish to run a triathlon or sub-similar competitions then you’ll need to train for it - there’s absolutely no reason you can’t do the tri side of things and complete a strong VPJFT. Typically endurance always limits potential strength gains, however by the nature of the VPJFT you’ll be fine - the swim/cycle/run will do your CV the world of good and improving your burpees, sit ups, press ups, plank and pull ups can be done alongside that.

So to keep it basic, yes, do both, but be specific - in regards to coaching, get a good one for tri, for VPJFT it’s a matter of adding a rep here and there and progressing forward - plenty of sound advice here - you have plenty of time also.

Don’t worry about your age, I’m 26 and feel in the prime of my young life, it’s all about perspective!

If you’re looking to really add another dimension to your training, start strength training alongside your tri work. Strength underpins fitness, and with the rigours of RT you need to have strong joints and relative strength. Deadlift, squat, push, pull, carry, single limb and core, chuck variations of that in your program and it’ll do you golden.

If you’d like any more direct advice then please feel free to private message and I’ll be more than happy to help.
 

talltailless

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Totally blown away by the number of helpful responses and offers to help from the community!

Yes so the theory is that slow and steady mileage builds the aerobic capacity (I.e. your cardio fitness) leading to bigger lungs, bigger heart etc etc. It also takes less of a toll on the rest of your body than intense running. What this means is you can feel quite fresh getting out running almost every day - whereas if you were running as fast as possible every day I almost guarantee you'd feel pretty wiped out by about day 3 or 4. Feeling fresher = more runs = more mileage and more aerobic fitness overall.

Now you DO need that speed session once per week to train the heart and lungs and legs to go fast. If you just jogged slow every week then you'd probably end up being able to run far but not fast. But you really don't need to exceed one speed session per week.

The summarised idea is the more miles in the legs, the faster you can move over shorter distances. If your "average" easy run is about 5 miles then a best effort 5k/3 miler just feels noticeably shorter and more comfortable.

There's loads of stuff online supporting 80/20 running theory (if you Google it make sure you include the word running as "80/20" as a term on its own has several uses across the fitness world alone). Notably almost every world class runner follows it.

My own personal experience with it this summer took me from a 22 minute 5k in about April, to sub-20 by August. I also got my first ever Half Marathon done and ended up doing one almost every week, and I smashed my 1.5 mile PB, previously had been stuck on about 08:50 and got a 08:29 in early September.

Likewise I've seen the negative effect of losing that mileage. The last 2 months I was stuck in a horrible warehouse job while I wait for my Med Appeal to go through, and had to cut my weekly mileage down to about 15mpw in order to fit everything in around the long shifts. Yesterday I ran a 20:45 5k which has really p*ssed me off! Thankfully in a job with better hours now and looking at getting back up to 30mpw and sub-20 5k again over the next 6 or 8 weeks. So some personal evidence to support the theory too.

@thirdtry Top stuff, thank you. Good luck with your Med Appeal and going back under the 20min mark!

If the people you have named require payment, then ignore. There are plenty of advice and programmes on here which cost nothing. Have a look at @arny01 and @Fintan. They both have good track records of getting applicants to the start line and also, train specific. Look at what is required at CTC, i.e. press ups, pull ups, sit ups, bleep tests and 1.5 mile runs. Also, throw in some drags, fireman's lifts, duck walks etc.
Jon Stratford knows his stuff but as related by @Caversham be very wary of paying a single penny for training advice.
@Caversham @Chelonian I see your points, arny's plan and fintan circuits are legit and have certainly gotten a few lads on their way!!

I suppose why I'm considering getting individualised training may be a mental weakness on my part: Going week on week solo on a programme for months on end can be tough, and perhaps demotivating, at times. Having someone to bounce ideas/doubts off and monitor one's progress can help a person keep refreshed and focused on the end goal.

For the time invested by the coach, alongside their expertise (being a former RM PTI), monetary compensation sounds like a fair exchange. If I'm going to spend upwards of 11h per week working toward this goal - might as well make sure that I'm plodding in the right direction, making adequate progress and trusting someone to make changes if not.
It's probably why individual triathletes or powerlifters have coaches, even though there are aplenty of great programmes and resources online.

Fair or utter bollocks?
 

Chelonian

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For the time invested by the coach, alongside their expertise (being a former RM PTI), monetary compensation sounds like a fair exchange.

Jon Stratford will certainly teach you how to climb a rope in the approved manner but just now that is not important. Do your own thing; think independently and beware of 'snake oil' quick-fix training gurus.
Research what will be required and make your own judgment based upon individual circumstances.

Don't get too bogged down by detail and metrics. Get the running shoes on; hit the road and train.

Another thing... ROP is still a new thing and few performance metrics are in the public domain but mental resilience and maturity has already been flagged up as an issue. Candidates (male and female) see themselves off early days because they can't cope with being shouted at and keeping their bed space tidy.
 

Grimey Arches

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One thing to point out is the mindset, don't focus so much on how many reps you can do or what time you can achieve, or anything related to training.

Get yourself a routine squared away and be consistent by giving everything you have and smash each session and progress will happen, sometimes slowly.

I would say apply now, the application process won't be quick currently and most candidates will be held up at the medical stage due to PMU or TMU. I personally would hate waiting 2 years and finding out you're PMU/TMU and then you'd have to possibly appeal.
 

Caversham

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Totally blown away by the number of helpful responses and offers to help from the community!

@thirdtry Top stuff, thank you. Good luck with your Med Appeal and going back under the 20min mark!

@Caversham @Chelonian I see your points, arny's plan and fintan circuits are legit and have certainly gotten a few lads on their way!!

I suppose why I'm considering getting individualised training may be a mental weakness on my part: Going week on week solo on a programme for months on end can be tough, and perhaps demotivating, at times. Having someone to bounce ideas/doubts off and monitor one's progress can help a person keep refreshed and focused on the end goal.

For the time invested by the coach, alongside their expertise (being a former RM PTI), monetary compensation sounds like a fair exchange. If I'm going to spend upwards of 11h per week working toward this goal - might as well make sure that I'm plodding in the right direction, making adequate progress and trusting someone to make changes if not.
It's probably why individual triathletes or powerlifters have coaches, even though there are aplenty of great programmes and resources online.

Fair or utter bollocks?
It's a fair summary, but I'm a tight fisted old git who prefers free over payment anytime! With regards to running, just get the miles in. Don't exceed 8 miles, which will take into account the odd 4 miler in early days RT, but will also stand you well for the cumulative mileage you will do most days at CTC, as everything is done at the double down there and it will cater for the extra phys and gym sessions.

One more thing that has been mentioned and a big part of RT is carrying weight. The loads you will heave onto your back are colossal and I have suggested in the past that applicants go to B&Q and hoist a 25kg sack of cement onto their shoulders and ask themselves if they could yomp for hours with a similar amount on their backs. That will give you an indication of what is expected.

Alan
 

Grimey Arches

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It's a fair summary, but I'm a tight fisted old git who prefers free over payment anytime! With regards to running, just get the miles in. Don't exceed 8 miles, which will take into account the odd 4 miler in early days RT, but will also stand you well for the cumulative mileage you will do most days at CTC, as everything is done at the double down there and it will cater for the extra phys and gym sessions.

One more thing that has been mentioned and a big part of RT is carrying weight. The loads you will heave onto your back are colossal and I have suggested in the past that applicants go to B&Q and hoist a 25kg sack of cement onto their shoulders and ask themselves if they could yomp for hours with a similar amount on their backs. That will give you an indication of what is expected.

Alan
This is a cracking suggestion and one I will do myself, tried to get the other involved by letting me firemans carry her but it didn't take long till she started complaining and with covid it's a great replacement.

And if she ever reads this I'll be only be buying the 1 bag..
 
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