The PRT leader and AIs must be able to demonstrate and lead all types of running activities. They must also be familiar with formations, commands, cadence, and placement of Soldiers into ability groups for sustained and speed running.
INSTRUCTION AND EXECUTION
Running may be performed individually or collectively. When conducting collective training, running is optimized when Soldiers are grouped by near-equal ability. The best way to assign Soldiers to ability groups is by their most recent 1-mile run time assessment. The optimal time and range between each group is 60 seconds. When performing formation sustained running, the PRT leader should be on the left side of the formation and toward the rear to have a full view of all Soldiers and maintain control. Speed running may be conducted individually or collectively by ability group, on a track or designated running area. When conducting speed running, the PRT leader will control running and recovery times from the center of the track or running area using a whistle and stopwatch. Assistant instructors may run with the Soldiers to provide positive motivation and running form corrections.
Soldiers should be instructed on the running form guidelines in this chapter. Running with optimal body mechanics allows greater efficiency with less chance of injury. Soldiers should strive to demonstrate and maintain proper running form during all running activities.
In the toughening phase, Soldiers perform speed running (30:60s, 60:120s, and the 300-yard SR) and sustained running. Initially, Soldiers perform six repetitions of 30:60s and progress up to 8 repetitions, and then begin performing 60:120s, 6 repetitions progressing to 10 repetitions. The intensity for speed running during the 30- and 60-second work intervals is 75 to 85 percent maximal effort. During the 60- and 120-second recovery intervals, all Soldiers walk until the next work interval begins. At the completion of 30:60s or 60:120s, Soldiers walk two to three minutes before engaging in other PRT activities or recovery. The SR is performed only one time when performed as an activity during a PRT session, in conjunction with 60:120s. The PRT leader designates the number of repetitions and signals the start of each group or individual. Formation running is conducted for no longer than 30 minutes in the toughening phase. All running courses should be marked at ¼-mile intervals so PRT leaders can monitor split times to ensure the maintenance of the appropriate running pace. Sustained running progression is built into the PRT training schedules through the employment of release runs and by moving Soldiers from lower ability groups to higher ability groups.
In the sustaining phase, Soldiers continue to perform the speed and sustained running activities from the toughening phase. In addition, HR, terrain running, and speed running under load are performed. Hill repeats start with 6 repetitions and add no more than 1 repetition every 2 weeks, not to exceed 10 repetitions. The PRT leader designates the number of repetitions and signals the start of each group or individual. Sustained running should not exceed 30 minutes in the sustaining phase. All running courses should be marked at ¼-mile intervals so PRT leaders can monitor split times to ensure the maintenance of the appropriate running pace. Sustained running progression is accomplished by moving the Soldier from a lower ability group to the next higher ability group. Terrain running is only conducted in the sustaining phase. Distances should generally be 1 mile for densely wooded areas and up to 2 miles on tank trails and open fields. During the sustaining phase, the 300-yard SR may be performed in ACUs and boots, progressing to individual body armor (IOTV) without plates, then with plates, then with fighting load. Caution must be used when determining appropriate progression. Environmental considerations are important in the ramp of progression. Repetitions, pace, load, uniform, and total exercise time must be adjusted when exercising at high altitudes and in hot, humid environments. Refer to Appendix D for environmental considerations.
The variety of running activities conducted during the toughening phase (30:60s, 60:120s, the 300-yd shuttle run, release runs, AGR, and unit formation running) and sustaining phase (30:60s, 60:120s, the 300-yd shuttle run, release runs, hill repeats, AGR, and unit formation running) integrate anaerobic and aerobic training. The 300-yard SR, in both the toughening and sustaining phases, and sustaining phase terrain running are also integrated to develop Soldier skills.
Calling of cadence and commands is the responsibility of the PRT leader or ability group leader. The command, “Double Time, MARCH” starts the formation running. The command “Quick Time, MARCH” terminates formation running (see TC 3-21.5, Drill and Ceremonies). After performance of preparation and any previous PRT activities (military movement drills 1 and/or 2), the Soldiers will jog for about ¼ mile before the first repetition of 30:60s or 60:120s is performed. When conducting 30:60s, 60:120s, or HR en masse, the PRT leader will control work (running phase) and recovery (walking phase) times from the center of the track or running area. The PRT leader will initiate the work (run/hill) interval by signaling with one whistle blast. At the conclusion of the work (run/hill) interval (30 or 60 seconds), the PRT leader will signal with two short whistle blasts. At the conclusion of the recovery (walk) interval (60 or 120 seconds), the PRT leader will again signal with one short whistle blast. This sequence is repeated until the desired number of repetitions is completed. Soldiers of varied abilities run for different numbers of repetitions during the toughening phase. Soldiers who finish early will continue to walk until all Soldiers have completed the activity. At the end of the activity, the entire group will walk for 2 to 3 minutes before performing any subsequent activities or recovery.
Running form varies from Soldier to Soldier. Anatomical variations cause a variety of biomechanical manifestations. Many individual variations may be successful. Attempts to force Soldiers to conform to one standard may do more harm than good; however, there are some basic guidelines that may improve running efficiency without overhauling the natural stride. Generally, the form and technique for all types of running is fairly constant. The following information addresses optimal running form for the major body segments (Figure 10-2).
Figure 10-2. Sustained running form
The head should be held high, with the chin pointed forward, neither up nor down. Allowing the head to ride forward puts undue strain on the muscles of the upper back.
The shoulders should assume a neutral posture, neither rounded forward nor forcefully arched backward. Rounding the shoulders forward is the most common fault in everyday posture while walking and running. The problem is usually associated with tightness of the chest and shoulder muscles. Another problem occurs when the shoulders start to rise with fatigue or increased effort. This position not only wastes energy, but can also adversely affect breathing.
Throughout the arm swing, the elbows should stay at roughly a 90-degree bend. The wrists stay straight and the hands remain loosely cupped. The arm swing should be free of tension, but do not allow the hands to cross the midline of the body.
TRUNK AND PELVIS
The trunk should remain over its base of support, the pelvis. A common problem with fatigue is allowing the trunk to lean forward of the legs and pelvis. This forces the lower back muscles to expend too much energy resisting further trunk lean to the front.
For distance running, much of the power is generated from below the knee. Energy is wasted as the knees come higher and the large muscles of the hips and thighs are engaged. Practice getting a strong push-off from the ankle of the back leg. This helps to lengthen the stride naturally. Lengthening the stride by reaching forward with the front leg will be counterproductive.
The feet should be pointed directly forward while running. With fatigue and certain muscle imbalances, the legs and feet may start to rotate outward. This may hinder performance and create abnormal stresses that contribute to injury.
Breathing should be rhythmic in nature and coordinated with the running stride.