Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is a relationship between overall fitness improvement and varying amounts of running and movement mileage.
Methods: Subjects were male U.S. Navy recruits (N = 1703, 25 divisions), ages 17-35 yr (mean age = 20.1 +/- 2.9 yr), who attended boot camp from April 1996 through August 1996. During the first week of training, recruits performed a 1.5-mile run to determine baseline fitness levels. The results from the initial run were compared with a final 1.5-mile run conducted 6 wk later.
Results: Based on an age-adjusted fitness scale for a 1.5-mile run time, about one third of the recruits began recruit training in "Excellent-Superior" condition (N = 558), one third began in "Good" condition (N = 582), and one third began in "Poor-Fair" condition (N = 563). Running mileage among divisions ranged from 11.5 to 43.5 miles for the entire 7-wk training period (mean = 22.7 +/- 7.2 miles; 8-22 run days, mean = 13 +/- 4 d). In addition to running, the divisions accumulated many movement miles (110-202 miles; mean = 145 +/- 26 miles) while marching in formation. Recruits who began training in Poor-Fair condition improved the most with an average decrease in run time of 1:55 +/- 1:06 min (15.6% improvement). The Good group improved by 47 +/- 37 s (7.3% improvement), and the Excellent-Superior group improved by 17 +/- 32 s (2.9% improvement).
Conclusion: The magnitude of fitness improvement, as measured by run time improvement, was directly related to baseline fitness level but not related to movement mileage or high-intensity run mileage accrued during training.