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Failing the APFT, but getting a run in

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

After my last blog, my sister suggested that I could ace the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) for my age and gender at my current level of fitness. The APFT consists of as many pushups as you can do in two minutes, followed within 20 minutes by as many situps you can do in two minutes, followed within 20 minutes by running 2 miles as fast as you can.

Looking up 56 year old males, 100% would be 56 pushups. I do sets of 60 every day, so that's not in doubt.

100% for the 2 mile run would be 14:42, for a 7:21 pace per mile. I think I can do that.

100% for situps would be 66. I didn't know about that, since I don't do situps. I do Turkish get-ups with a 45 lb. kettlebell, and the TGUs start with a twisting crunch to a situp, so it's possible. Just have to test it.

So yesterday I did a long set of pushups, then before my TGUs I tucked my feet under the couch and tried some situps.

I got to 15 without strain on my abs, but had to quit. The motion of the situp was hitting my tailbone, and it hurt. Apparently I don't have as much padding there as I used to.

To be sure, I could have kept going if it had been a choice between being conservative about my tailbone or pleasing a drill instructor; but I didn't face that choice.

I tried situps again this morning, more cautiously, adjusting positions. Maybe if I use a padded mat I can do them, but not on my living room carpet. I'm not the world's foremost expert on anatomy, but I'm pretty sure the tailbone isn't meant to directly bear weight, and that's what's happening with a classic straight situp motion. (It turns out that the TGU motion lifts the weighted side off the floor first, avoiding hitting the tailbone like a straight situp does.)

I'll count that as flunking the APFT, since 15 is off the bottom of the chart; but I don't feel bad about it. I am not a soldier, and I don't have to try to please a drill instructor.

On the bright side, I went out and ran 5K this noon. I came in at 21:38, for a 6:57 pace per mile; aside from the minor detail that it wasn't within 20 minutes of pushups or pullups, I could have passed two thirds of the APFT.

The left calf muttered a bit, but not as loudly as it did Saturday. During stretches, it didn't complain as much as it did on Saturday. It's not 100%, but progress is being made. I'll see whether it feels like I can run on it again on Thursday; if so, I will limit that run to 5K. First I want to get back to 3 runs per week regularly. After that, I can see about increasing the time and distance.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'd say you are doing pretty good and still giving it
    all you've got. Keep that positive attitude! HUGS!
    2104 days ago
  • RG_DFW
    2104 days ago
    I will admit that when I did my sit up test, I used a yoga mat AND a folded up comforter to cushion my tail bone. There is a form thing involved, too.

    Most trainers don't use Army style situps anymore... they have gone to crunches as that's the core strengthening without the tailbone issues.
    2104 days ago
  • NWFL59
    Your numbers sound great!
    2104 days ago
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