Hiking With A Weighted Backpack


One of the training tips that my Coach had given me when I complained about my knee pains as a result of my long runs in the mountains is for me to try hiking into the mountains instead of doing my easy long runs there. However, he told me that I should carry a weighted backpack with me starting with 10-15 pounds for my first try or experience in hiking to the mountains. This workout of hiking with a weighted backpack should be done once a week.

This advice or tip was given to me way back last December 2019. It was good that I bought a North Face backpack which is made with thick material and does not have so many pockets or dividers inside it. I would use 2-liter bottles filled with water as the weight I would carry inside my backpack. Since then, I have been hiking with a weighted backpack once a week in going to the mountains for a hike of 3-4 hours and steadily progressed on making my backpack weight up to 25 pounds. Despite the fact that I would be enticed to run the downhills, I forced myself to be patient and slow on the downhills. On those hikes with weighted backpack for the past weeks and months, it gave me more strength on my legs and thus, I was able to finish my ultra trail races (local and international) since then up to the time Covid-19 Lockdown was imposed.

During the Lockdown period (past 4 months), I have been doing my daily runs in my Backyard Loop and I would be doing my hiking with a weighted backpack once a week. After I rested for one week of no running, I resumed my hiking with a weighted backpack yesterday with a reduced weight of 20 pounds. However, I did it in my Backyard Loop. After one mile, I started to perspire and after one hour, I was able to hike a distance of 3 miles.

Hiking With A Weighted Backpack

It was good to be back hiking with my weighted backpack again and I am eager to go back to the mountain trails in the coming days and weeks.

Thank you for reading!

 

Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) Challenge In 30 Days


When I was the Assistant Chief of Staff for Training and Education (G-8) for the whole Philippine Army in 1999 to 2000, I came up with a Command Directive that had been approved by the Commanding General of the Philippine Army for the strict implementation of the Army Physical Fitness Test where every personnel of the Command, to include all the Generals, to undergo the said test on a regular basis, for promotion, and other administrative movement to include application for schooling in the local and international training schools. Since its implementation, I was a witness of deaths of those who passed and failed in the said test, separation from the service, and non-promotion of officers and men of the Philippine Army. Because of this test, the Officers and Men of the Philippine Army were able to embrace the importance of a healthy body and mind. There had been studies made by the local medical practitioners on the validity of the Army Physical Fitness Test just to prove that the US Army Standards are not fitted to our local soldiers but after some adjustments of the standards, I personally still believe that the US Standards fit well to any person on earth. For one to be able to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test Standards, one has to prepare and train for it.

To prove my point, I asked a soldier in his mid-40s who failed in his first APFT to report to me every day for daily workout of the 3 exercises involved in the test. I asked the soldier to start doing at least 20 reps of push-ups, 20 reps of sit-ups, and run, jog and walk the 2-mile run. On a daily basis, the soldier was asked to increase the reps by one repetition every day and ask the soldier to run, at least, one hour everyday at an easy effort. After a month, I conducted a PFT on the said soldier. He was surprised that he finally got a score of 90%. He passed the 70% minimum score by getting a 90% scoreĀ  after preparing for the test in one month. If that soldier who failed can improve within a month, it is possible that anybody who failed in the test could pass it with the proper training and preparation.

I know that the said Command Directive that I authored is still in place and being implemented right now by the Philippine Army. This is now one of the policies of the Philippine Army that is already institutionalized.

Now, after finishing an international and local Virtual Races during the period of 4 months of Lockdown due to Covid-19, I have been thinking of a running challenge or doing any physical challenge that will motivate me to do some exercises and running on a daily basis. I immediately thought of the APFT but to add challenge into it, I would do it on a daily basis, instead of the Quarterly Period (once in 3 months) which is the regular schedule for the conduct of the APFT in the Philippine Army.

So, on July 25, 2020, Saturday, I started my daily Army Physical Fitness Test Challenge In 30 Days. I have to make a video each of my daily APFT and have it uploaded in my You Tube Channel. Actually, I did the Video posted for my Day #1 on You Tube for a “teaser” on my APFT Challenge. On my first day, I did 21 reps of push-ups which is a passing score for my age; 29 reps on sit-ups (passed); and 28:13 minutes on the 2-mile run (failed!) in my Backyard Loop which is a single-track trail with lots of turns and uneven ground. The passing time/score for the 2-mile run for my age is 20 minutes.

The full instructions of the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) and Standards/Minimum Score could be seen here.

I hope to update my You Tube Channel with a Video on this Challenge every 6 days.

Thank you for watching this “teaser” video on the said Challenge.