How To Improve Your Run Time

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Cindy Beard
  • 149th Serviices Flight
 The holiday season will soon be over and each of us will start setting our resolutions for the new year to come. For many of us it will be to get into good shape and start eating better. Along with the new year comes a new list of requirements, one of them being our annual fitness assessment. 
     I know, we all get butterflies that moment our unit fitness program monitor e-mails us to let us know we are due for our annual fitness assessment. Some of us have that moment of panic and try to figure out how in the world we can get out of it. You're more than happy to do the push-ups and sit-ups. Hey, they're only worth 20 points total; that's not so bad. It's that waist circumference and 1.5-mile run a lot of us are concerned about. 
     Waist size is a topic for a different article, but what if I told you I could help you right now in making a difference on your run time? I attended the Master Fitness Course at the Cooper Institute in Dallas and learned about improving what is called the Lactate (Anaerobic) Threshold. Have you ever been to the point in your run where it is so uncomfortable you feel you can't go any further? That is called your
lactate threshold. Your body is working anywhere from 85 to 100 percent of its maximum VO2 (the maximum heart rate at which your body can utilize oxygen during exercise).
     By doing interval training, which incorporates high and low intensities, you can improve your lactate threshold, which in turn can improve your run time. How? Well, you won't get burned out as fast as you did before. The key is to do it correctly. It's a simple and easy plan.
First you want to figure out what your goal is: whether you want to run the 1.5 miles in 11 minutes or 12:15 minutes. Whatever your goal may be, there is a plan for you.

     Example: Jon wants to run his 1.5-mile run in 11 minutes. He would follow the example chart below. The chart is an example of how Jon can improve his run time through interval training by shortening his interval time (the amount of time it takes him to run one lap) and shortening his recovery time (by either walking or a slow jog). Eventually Jon will be able to run the complete distance of 1.5 miles without resting between laps. This program is designed for running at least twice a week, each week decreasing the recovery time by five to 10 seconds.

     Below that chart is another that shows different 1.5-mile goal times and interval times. All that changes is the interval time; everything else will stay as it is on the chart (distance, recovery and number of intervals).
Now, how do you do this during mandatory squadron physical training? Get a group of people together in your squadron who have the same goal and train together. It's a motivational tool.

     We must be proud to serve in the U.S. Air Force and our country by getting and staying fit while living a healthier lifestyle. In return, we will be ready to go whenever we are called upon to defend our country.

Week      Interval Distance      Interval Time      Recovery Time      # of Intervals
1                   1 lap/400m                1:50                       2:00                      4
2                   1 lap/400m                1:50                       1:55                      5
3                   1 lap/400m                1:50                       1:50                      6
4                   1 lap/400m                1:50                       1:45                      7
5                   1 lap/400m                1:50                       1:40                      8
6                   1 lap/400m                1:50                       1:30                      9
7                   1 lap/400m                1:45                       1:30                     10
8                   1 lap/400m                1:45                       1:25                     10

Interval Distance: The distance you will run in the amount of time given for your
Interval time
Interval Time: The amount of time you should focus running for1 lap (400 meters)
Recovery Time: The amount of time you will walk/jog in between running your Interval Time and Distance. (It is important to stick to the training recovery times listed)
# of Intervals: The number of times you will run your Interval Distance (1st week-
4 laps of doing the Interval Distance in the Interval Time frame listed)

1.5-mile Goal Time                            Interval Time
10:30                                                            1:40
11:30                                                            1:50
12:00                                                            2:00
12:30                                                            2:05
13:00                                                            2:15
13:30                                                            2:20 

Editors note: Staff Sgt. Beard competes in physical fitness competitions throughout the country and is the 149FW Services Flight Fitness Monitor.