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Variety is the spice of running faster

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Why do people run? For some, running is a sport that fulfills their competitive nature. For others, running releases stress. For me, running is one avenue to stay fit for life. Why do you run? Do you run only because it's mandatory? How much effort do you put into your running? Is your goal to run only until you separate or retire? Are you "Fit to Fight"...or "Fit for Life?"

Since running is the primary test used for evaluating aerobics capacity (it's 50 percent of test score) and is often the most challenging part of the fitness test, I've asked Randall Hubbard, our exercise physiologist from the Health and Wellness Center (HAWC) to share some running tips for success.

The best way to improve running and fitness is to vary your running workout pace and distance. Endurance is best accomplished by making slow, steady progression (for example, adding one quarter mile every one to two weeks) in the running distance. Airmen should gradually build up to being able to run for three miles. To increase speed and improve 1.5 mile run times, you often have to leave your comfort zone. The best way to improve speed is by incorporating interval training into your running program. Interval training consists of quarter mile repeats (quarter mile running faster than your normal 1.5 mile pace) followed by a recovery period of quarter mile of jogging.

Running clubs are available and often used by runners as a mechanism for optimizing motivation, training and mutual support. In order to help members improve their fitness and run times, the HAWC, Fitness Center, and volunteer squadron physical training leaders (PTLs) have started a running program. This program is Monday through Friday at the Patrick AFB running track with workouts beginning at 6:30 and 6:45 a.m.

The workouts are scheduled as follows: Monday, Speed (Interval Training); Tuesday, Endurance (3 mile run); Wednesday, Practice 1.5 mile run; Thursday, Speed (Interval Training); Friday, Endurance (3 mile run). Members may attend any or all workouts. No sign ups required. Workouts can be modified for individuals returning to running after a medical profile.

Individualized fitness program, running gait analysis for proper running shoe determination and nutritional counseling are available to help active duty and reserve members meet their fitness requirements. For more information, contact the HAWC at 494-2660. Remember: There's life after the military...stay "Fit for Life"