Fitness Chat (Personal Development)

It appears that many people are using the CFAV Fitness thread for the purpose it was originally made for, over a decade ago. So I thought it would be useful to have a separate chat where we can support each other with our personal fitness goals, and to expand the chat to support cadets with their fitness too, particularly where they’re looking to pass service entry fitness tests.

Bit of background; I’m current CFC, ex regular army (medical discharge) and formerly an ATC cadet. Several years ago I was very fit but became injured running the London Marathon, didn’t change my diet and (bluntly) got fat. After overcoming chronic plantar and calf problems, I’m finally working at losing some weight and getting my fitness back.

Over the next 9 months I have an ultra, a half and a full. The full is once again the London Marathon for the first time since my injury.

I’m focussing on base fitness at the minute, heading out at least 4 times per week. 1 of those is always parkrun, 1 is always a long run, 1 is always a short, easy run and the 4th is a mixture of sprints, hills and other varied workouts. If I can be bothered, I’ll try to get a bike ride in there too.

So where are you on your fitness journey at present? What goals are you hoping to achieve or the next 12 months? And how can the ACC community help you achieve them?

Side note: I’m a UK Athletics qualified running coach, so feel free to ask me any questions on running. If you’re embarrassed to ask a particular question, DM me and I’ll answer within this thread, keeping you anonymous.


Great thread idea, thank you for setting it up.

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I’m focusing on powerlifting at the minute.

Big meme going around abou “lift heavy stone, make sad head voice go away”.

Found over a few years that’s pretty true.

Coming back in after a slipped disc and I’m slowly pushing the weight up at the minute. Looking at potentially competing in the RAF powerlifting comps in a few months. Get my totals higher and have a look.


That would be incredible. We want competition reports if you do make it there!

Haha. That’ll be a little while yet. I need to get my totals a little bit more competitive.

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IIRC RAF powerlifting is open entry for beginners. Good luck!

Yeah. I’m involved in my local club. Just waiting for it to coincide with me not being away.

Strava has a new feature that lets you easily see all your record times.

My 2 miles (14:13), 5k (22:47), 10k (47:25), 15k (1:13:32) , 10 miles (1:18:44), 20k (1:39:11) and half-marathon (1:45:04) records were all in the same race, back in 2017!

Just made me giggle that so many of them were from the same event; I was clearly on a good day that day!


Nice! Only time I’ve had recorded was for a 10k I did in 2016. That was 57m. Can’t remember the exact time. Always did loathe running. I remember being quite proud of it, it was 3 years post broken pelvis that one.

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Completed the 2.4k run in 11m05s. Best time since a fairly nasty injury a while back. Well within the 11m11s RAF fitness standard (and without giving too much away I am not in the 17-29 age bracket). So quite pleased!


Not as fit as i once was.

Making sure i leave the office and go for a walk.

I had to leave the house early (for a viewing), so got to my daughters school 30 minutes early. Parked up, and walked… looked at google maps with a… “i wonder if i can get there in 15 minutes” i did, and back, and now going to get my daughter.

For me, its the little wins. I’m overweight, drastically behind the fitness curve, and various medical problems creeping in.


Oooh, interesting. But can’t see it obviously on the app, where is it?

Click on the “You” section (bottom right of screen) then it’s at the very bottom of the “Progress” tab.

Only just appeared on my app, so they might be working through the different versions yet.

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I’m not a massive fan of YouTubers, but I think there’s one you should try: Mark Lewis.

Basically he was over 300lbs, dropped 100 of them and now competes at a very high level. His whole mantra is about habits not goals, but he’s actually lived it rather than some of these other BS influencers out there.

Some good times there! I’d like to get a sub 50min 10K. Fairly recently got a new 5K PB of sub 25min damn near killed me!

I do like his video’s, like you say they are very much “this is what I did”
I like his delivery and comedy too.

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Found and subscribed.


These days, a sub-30 is very tough for me. However, the “run slow to run fast” mantra definitely worked for me. Running slower over a longer distance increased my base level of fitness and, once I started looking at half marathons and above, my parkrun times tumbled.

First time round of doing distance running, my parkrun PB dropped from 31 mins to 22:15 in (IIRC) about 9-10 months. All I was doing was 2x 10k during the week, a Sunday long run usually of around 10-12 miles and the parkrun.

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Yeah agreed, I generally do easy runs during the week and push harder on ParkRun.

When I did Manchester marathon a few years back I found the same, naturally my 5/10k times were coming down naturally as I was doing 20mile + long runs.

Another couple running YouTube channels I enjoy watching:
The Running Channel -
JogOn -

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The Strava distance ranking criteria is more generous than that of the Concept 2 ski/bike/row rankings: only the whole distance is ranked for the purposes of the PB/Challenge/World Record attempt. Split timings aren’t recorded.
I first heard of the C2 online rankings whilst on Operation Bolton based in Ali As-Salim airbase in Kuwait in 1998. The RAF gym there had a couple of C2 rowing ergometers there. I didn’t start rowing myself for a couple of years: whilst on Mare Harbour Rapier site in at Mount Pleasant airport in the Malvi…oops, we’re not in the EU anymore, so I’ll call them the Falkland Islands :crazy_face:, I fixed a C2 rower we had and gained my addiction to it there - it wasn’t possible to go running every day off-site: either one was on a 30min readiness state, or the prevailing winds were too strong, forcing one to walk.
The C2 ergs are well worth the thousand quid investment in order to buy your own machine - I got mine ten years ago and have logged 23 million metres on it, without the slightest sign of it wearing out. Even a quick 2500m shoehorned into a spare ten minutes of the day can be an effective workout.
Indoor rowing does nothing for one’s running fitness, though. For instance, back in those days my 5k time for both running and row-erging was just under 20 minutes: now that I row most days and run less than once a week, it’s around 21 1/2 mins for rowing and over 25 for running, slower than for 5k splits I did on a couple of road marathons. :thinking:

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I don’t think that there is any organisation in the world that is better than the UK Armed Forces in providing opportunities for physical and adventurous training, sport and competitions at all levels from unit based up to international representation…and one gets paid to do it in work time to boot.
My own example shows what is available, and how far one can go with it, even if one is of mediocre athletic ability, but wants to have a good go at a sport or adventurous activity. Overseas tours are one of the best places to improve one’s fitness: it gives one something to do on one’s limited time off, and intra-unit fitness challenges are good fun to take part in.
I try and get this message across to the cadets on my squadron: we started up again after Covid with a Year Zero loss of aged out cadets/mass influx of new, so we’ll see what comes out of it in the form of interest in joining the RAF in a few years’ time. :thinking: