Army fitness training diary: week two

Monday
I start week two full of enthusiasm, having quite enjoyed the travails of the first week, in a perverse sort of way. I'm spending the evening with a friend, who handily is a super-fit marathon runner. She takes me out for a 20-minute jog and chats away effortlessly, while I wheeze the odd reply. It's nice to be in someone else's hands. I don't have to plan the route or worry about how many long minutes still stretch ahead; I simply have to keep going until she tells me to stop.

Back at her house, I run through the strength exercises, which are definitely getting a bit easier. The only trouble is, I should be doing two sets now. Two lots of tricep dips and dorsal raises don't cause me any problems, but I think I'll struggle to do 132 sit-ups, and there's no way I can perform 88 press-ups, even with a break in the middle. I decide to stick to one set of those for today.

Reader Matt Foulkes, from Manchester, is also having problems with the sheer quantity of strength exercises required. "Are you sure you have to match the number of press-ups and sit-ups you managed during the initial test?" he asked. "I couldn't do it at all, and in week two you have to do two lots of your maximum press ups and sit ups! Surely this would be almost impossible?"

It certainly does seem challenging, and I wonder if these early weeks are aimed at people who are starting completely from scratch. It seems quite plausible to progress from, say, two press-ups to four in the space of a week. Going from 44 to 88, on the other hand, seems rather a steep climb. However, unlike the fitness test, there is at least no time limit, so you can have as many breaks as you need. I email Major Colclough at the Army Development and Selection Centre (ADSC) to see if he has any more advice for struggling civilians. I'll relay his advice next week.

Tueday
Rest day.

Wednesday
I'm visiting out-of-town relatives today, and can't get to the gym to do the interval training. Instead, I run laps of the village park. My boyfriend, armed with a stopwatch, bawls 'Fast!' and 'Slow!' in true sergeant major-style. The grass is waterlogged after a recent downpour, making the going tough, and I am spattered with mud by the end. It's far more tiring than the treadmill, but more exhilarating, too. A feeble winter sun even makes an appearance as I cool down and stretch.

Thursday
Officially, a rest day; unofficially, korfball training.

Friday
This should be another run and strength day. But I don't get up early enough to go in the morning, I'm too busy to go at lunchtime, and I'm going out straight after work. Oh no! I've missed a day and it's only week two. I feel incredibly guilty, but at least my evening activities are energetic: I go to a ceilidh and dance for a good two hours, then go to a club and dance some more. I work up more of a sweat than I have done all week.

Saturday and Sunday
I play a couple of friendly korfball games on both days. I end the week feeling I've burned quite a lot of calories, but haven't improved my strength at all. I vow to stick to the programme properly next week.

· Are you following the official army fitness programme? Email rachel.dixon@guardian.co.uk to share your experiences in next week's training diary

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.