The 2.4km run, with the additional strength exercises - pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups indicate your current fitness level ... a very short and effective test. A long time friend, ex-Southern African Defence Force (and Special Force) ... now a running coach Down Under and a very good runner himself, told me the following:
"Funny ... the kids I coach do 2.4km time trials ... it must be engraved into us." It is one of the best things you can do, and it takes 20 minutes maximum. If you don't have 20 minutes to spare ... get a life!!
Problems running with boots:
Some of the Special Force Units in the Southern African Defence Force supplied boots with flat soles. Some of us with some running experience, with the very first opportunity took our boots to an Indian shoemaker (available everywhere in South Africa) to replace the 'heeled' soles with flat soles. Shin splints was a very common 'injury' in the Defence Force. I see the Australian Defence Force still use boots with heels. Heels on any running shoe or boot encourages heel action ... the last thing you want while running. Heel action in running promotes the 'development' of your quads (muscles on your upper leg), which in return puts strain on your knees and lower legs.
Age and running:
This is something that really pisses me off, especially in Australia, where the majority of people think runners are 'wankers' as I've been told on so many occasions ... not to mention running when you're over 45. Research indicates the following:
Long distance runners were studied over a long period of time and their running times were studied throughout their running careers. At the age of 19, a runner ran a time of A ... as this runner aged, the running time increased to the age of 29 ... let's call it maximum time B ... from there on the running time decreased. Researchers then asked themselves how long will it take for that runner's time to slow down to time A??? Ok, it's your guess now ... age 35, maybe 45 or how about 50??? Research shows that it'll take you to age 64 before your time declines to your 19 year old running time A. What does this really means???
It means that the average long distance runner between the ages of 30 and 60 will easily outrun runners between the ages of 19 to 29!!! Now, what does this really, really means????
It means that as a hunter-gatherer this made perfect sense, if you took their average maximum age into account, as there were no hand-outs. If you couldn't run or hunt ... you'll die ... simple as that. So, ask yourself where you stand in the equation?? Can you run an antelope down at age 50 or 60??? Better get into the art of running ... maybe??
Running while overweight:
If you form is incorrect, you'll struggle with all sorts of problems. No point in running with boots and a 'rifle' if your form is incorrect. The best way of doing this, is to weigh your flat sole boots and 'rifle' (a 4.5kg weight) and your 1L water bottle. Change your diet to the only diet you were suppose to eat (I'll 'write' about this later) ... you never exercise to loose weight, you eat to loose weight.
As you loose a kg, you slip into your boots. As you loose another kg ... you slip on your 1L water bottle. As you loose one more kg ... you carry a 1kg weight, and you increase this as you loose more weight, until you reached your 'rifle' weight. You can only do this if your running form is right. There are excellent books and other information available in regards to this ... I'll 'pen' these down soon.
Your core strength:
You can't neglect the pull-ups, push-ups or sit-ups and expect results. The reason there are so many 'gadgets' available is because the average human just don't want to run or work against his/her own weight any more. Your ancestors did it for thousands of years ... time for you to get back to the future and chuck the gadgets into a hole.
Your feet strength:
Most running 'problems' come from our feet ... lack of barefoot running. You can increase the strength of your feet muscles by walking, skipping and running barefoot ... this is very important.