al005.cap.gov
Main Content

CARDIO TRACKER PROGRAM

HOW TO USE THE CARDIO TRACKER PROGRAM

A. Print your Cardio Fitness Tracker Sheet. If you don't have access to a printer, we can provide you with copies during a Squadron meeting.

B. Fill out your name, month and year at the top of the sheet.

C. The day of the month (1 thru 31) runs down the left-side of the page. Make sure you are documenting the correct day.

D. When filling out the tracker, place your initials by the correct DAY and the corresponding cardio activity you did for that day.

E. If it is a "Best Time" activity, also include your time in the designated box.

* NOTE 1: Do not include other activities on your Cardio Tracker. Document other activities on your Activity Tracker.

* NOTE 2: How To Use the Activity Tracker is located on the ACTIVITY TRACKER PROGRAM page.


EXPECTATION

Improving your run is one of the more challenging physical exercises to master. In general, whatever your current cardio performance, practicing cardio three times a week is barely enough to maintain current run times. Four times a week is where most people start to see improvements. Therefore, cadets should strive to do some sort of cardio exercising no less than four times per week.

"But I don't want to run four times per week."

The good news is that if you successfully utilize "High Intensity Interval Training" (HIIT) sprints, you can vastly increase cardio function in about 2 minutes of active cardio per day. YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT! The process will take you approximately 20 minutes or less, but the sprints amount to 4 thirty second high intensity sprints. So get curious, get excited, and keep reading!


RECOMMENDED SCHEDULE OF CARDIO

The RECOMMENDED schedule of cardio activity has been listed on the sheet (Monday thru Saturday). You are not required to do them in that order; however, it is highly recommended that you do.

* NOTE: If you did something different than the scheduled activity for a particular day of the week, initial under the actual activity you performed. You may make notes of deviation in a box such as, "2 mi run/soccer practice."


WHY THE RECOMMENDED SCHEDULE

Sunday has been provided as a rest day. This is because you will be doing PT on Monday's at CAP and PT Tests will likely occur on Mondays (occasionally on Saturdays) and you want to be rested and ready to perform at your best.

Mondays, when testing, you will be required to do a "Best Time" run. Therefore, each Monday is the best day to "practice like you play." Unless you have other athletic obligations on Mondays, on known CAP PT nights, save all of your energy and effort for the CAP fitness test.


CARDIO ACTIVITY EXPLANATIONS

1. 1 & 1/2 Mile FOR BEST TIME is just that. Run it in your best time possible. When initialing off on this cardio activity, input your time as well. a. YES! Practice running 1 and 1/2 miles so that when you test running 1 mile, you won't be struggling to reach the finish line because you have conditioned your body to have to complete more distance than necessary for your test.

    b. REMEMBER: if we are having PT at CAP, do NOT double up on your cardio. Save your energy for when you get to CAP.

 

2. 30 Second Sprint 4 Times With Full Breath Recovery. There are 4 days per week you should be doing these "High Intensity Interval Training" (HIIT) sprints and the HIIT days are equally divided between the other cardio training days that require longer endurance. This gives you a break between endurance and interval training days.

  • Sprints are NOT a distance exercise. This is a time exercise (30 seconds), AND an intensity exercise (give it ABSOLUTELY ALL YOU'VE GOT for ALL 30 seconds).

  • During the 30 second sprint, your effort should represent your absolute best INTENSITY effort. Imagine you have a starved lion behind you and you are running for your life. At the end of the 30 seconds, you should feel completely exerted. If not, you need to up your intensity on your next sprint.

  • At the end of EACH 30 second sprint, spend approximately 2 to 2-1/2 minutes walking it off, focusing on regaining normal breathing. If you need more time, take it. The important point is that your breathing returns to normal (you no longer feel "out of breath").

  • As soon as your breathing has returned to normal, start your next 30 second sprint.

  • Repeat this for a total of 4 sprints with 4 recovery periods / walking it off. Don't skimp on your final recovery period just because you are happy you are done. Still walk it off and focus on regaining your breath. NEVER JUST STOP AND SIT DOWN.

  • Sprints are ideally done on a flat surface but can be done on an incline (going uphill) to increase the challenge level. It is NOT recommended to do these sprints on downhill areas as it is easier to fall; particularly with the level of intensity you should be exerting. So uphill areas are fine, just make sure you are engaged in full intensity. If done properly, doing all 4 of these sprints should take a total of 20 minutes or less out of your day. In other words, if you don't have time for anything else cardio, you have time to do sprints.

3. 3 Mile Walk/Run/Jog Endurance NOT FOR TIME. This option is all about distance. Based on your fitness level, you can walk it, jog it, run it... a little of each. It matters less which one you are doing. The important thing is to get your muscles used to the endurance required to function continuously for a distance of 3-miles.

NOTE: Some cadets will need to work up to this level. Do the best you can and strive to improve each following week. If you are unable to complete a full 3 miles, please indicate that when initialing off on this exercise. This helps track your progress on improving your endurance.

IS THIS TOO EASY: Then focus on improving your time each week. Before you know it, you'll be ready to run a 5k.

 

Additional Pace Run (can be substituted for a Sprint day such as Saturday):

1 & 1/2 Mile Light Jog is about pacing yourself so you can maintain consistency. Again, this is not about time. It might take a little trial and error to find what pace you can perform consistently for the full distance. Do your best and then make adjustments each week until you get it fine tuned. The better you get at running, the quicker pace you will be able to maintain. The goal is to eliminate breaking your stride with having to walk which should help bring your 1 & 1/2 mile pacer run in line with your 1 & 1/2 mile best time effort. Making notes to remind yourself of your performance will help you the following week, so list them when initialing off on this exercise.


CARDIO TRAINING VIDEOS

In addition to your cardio training, there are exercises that will greatly improve your running capabilities. These exercises focus on strengthening Glute muscles and improving hamstring and calf functional strength and performance.

 

We will be providing a video that will go over these exercises in the near future.


Importance of Maintaining Fitness Tracker Sheets:

These trackers are for you and your leaders. Since you are to log in your activity at the end of each day, it will help remind you to look for opportunities to be more physically active. Also, if through this program you still aren't progressing in your PT Test results, we can evaluate your efforts and help you come up with a game plan to get you to your fitness goals. But if you don't put in an honest effort, we can't help you. We get you for PT 1 Monday per month and maybe an occasional Saturday. That is not enough to get you where you need to be. It is barely enough to evaluate your progress and provide some training and mentoring. Your success is dependent on what you do when you aren't doing PT at CAP. As you will find with most things in life, you will have to ask yourself "How bad do I want this?" And plan and act accordingly to reach your goals.

As always, each of your Cadet Staff Senior Members are here to help, as is your other cadet leaders and mentors. If you have questions or need advice, do not hesitate to reach out to us for assistance. We are here to support you as you strive to reach your full potential.

© 2020 Civil Air Patrol. All rights reserved.