I'm still buzzing after the second fitness test, and it seems I'm not the only one. Strangely, male readers seem to be hiding their light under a bushel, but Guardian women have made great progress. For example, Jane Alexander can now run 1.5 miles in just under 13 mins (down from "at least 15 minutes"). Her hip-to-waist ratio has also improved, and is now an impressive 0.74 (down from 0.81).
Kerstin Hammes is also going great guns, having shaved one minute off her run, performed more sit-ups and increased her flexibility, although press-ups still pose quite a challenge. Kerstin has specific goals, too: losing weight and achieving a good time in the Race for Life. She admits that on bad days she "just wants to throw in the towel", but can take pride in the fact that she's made it to phase two.
Is anyone else working towards a specific target? Let me know on the email address below.
I go to korfball shooting practice for an hour and then run back, which takes 17 minutes. It's tiring, but manageable - I keep the pace 'steady', as stipulated in the training plan. The real effort starts when I get home. Bear in mind that I did 52 press-ups and 69 sit-ups the previous day. Now I find I have to perform another '3 x max' for each (three lots of as many repetitions as I can manage in two minutes) interspersed with some squats and dorsal raises.
I start with press-ups, and only manage 32 for the first set. My muscles must be more tired than I realised. Thankfully, I don't get much worse, mustering 27 and 26 reps for the next two sets. The sit-ups start off a little better, at 60 for the first set, but then drop off dramatically: I only manage 47 and 41 in subsequent sets. I'm so exhausted near the end that I'm actually yawning mid-exercise. I'm also ravenous - I devour my healthy sir-fry in a flash, and then reach for the chocolate.
I'm determined to have a completely sedentary day. I take the bus to work instead of cycling, eat lunch at my desk and go to the cinema after work. I barely move! It's great.
Back to the grindstone. As far as I can make out, today's interval training demands are the same as last week's, albeit phrased slightly differently. I have to run hard for one minute and recover for one minute, repeated for 10 minutes. To push myself, I up the speed on the treadmill by one level for my recovery periods. This certainly has the desired effect, as I have barely caught my breath by the time I have to speed up again.
At tonight's korfball practice we do a circuits session, with five minutes spent on each different korfball-related activity. One activity is simply running laps, and I feel a lot less daunted by the prospect than I would have done five weeks ago. My group manages seven laps.
Today I should be doing the army-issue circuit training, but I decide to save it for tomorrow when I'll have more time.
I persuade my boyfriend to join in with the circuits. We march on the spot to the Arctic Monkeys (it passes for rousing warm-up music in our indie household) before launching into the eight exercises. They're not too taxing - only 2 sets of twelve reps for each one - so I vary things a bit.
I attempt the more difficult 'decline press-up' outlined in the Upper Body booklet. This involves putting my feet up on the (sturdy) coffee table so that my shoulders and head are lower than my hips, then performing the usual press-up. This position places more weight on the arms, and gets quite tough by about rep 10. For the sit-ups, I vary the speed, trying some super-slow movements rather than going as fast as I can.
I do the other exercises by the book. I've never done a 'one-legged squat' before, and am quite relieved to be trying this rather ungainly posture in the privacy of my own home, instead of the gym or the park.
I play a korfball match, as usual. I think I'm starting to feel slightly fitter on court - or maybe I'm just benefiting from the absence of a hangover after nearly two weeks without alcohol. Either way, it's been a good week - I hope I can keep it up.
· Are you following the official army fitness programme? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your experiences in next week's training diary