Did you know that the segment of your Air Force fitness test that most affects your score is the 1.5 mile run? A perfect score on the 1.5 mile run can ensure you fall within the Air Force Fitness Standards and propel you through the rest of your fitness test. The run is worth a whopping 60 out of 100 total points! Even just a passing score requires you to run at a pace of about 7.5 miles per hour if you’re a male under 30. In order to score well on the run, you’ll need excellent cardiovascular fitness and endurance.
While we’re only going to talk about three methods here, there are many ways to improve your cardiovascular fitness. First, assess your current level of fitness. Lay out a 1.5 mile course and time yourself running it. Make sure that your distance and times are accurate as a few seconds or a few yards can make or break your perfect score. Use the Air Force Fitness Calculator to see what time you need. Once you’ve got your baseline fitness level, it’s time to work to improve.
Tip #1: Train Outdoors
Treadmill training is all well and good for general fitness, but there really is nothing like the real thing. That saying goes for running as well. Sure the occasional run indoors on the treadmill is great if the weather has decided to cancel your exercise plans, but making it a habit can actually fool you into thinking you’re more fit than you are. By running outdoors you experience things like wind resistance, varying slopes and grades and different running surfaces. The treadmill only has one surface, the belt. If you have to train indoors for whatever reason, add an incline to your treadmill workout, your legs will thank you afterwards.
Tip #2: Change it Up
If you always train the same distance at the same pace, you’re bound to fall into a rut in your training and maybe you won’t get out. Instead, change up your workout. If you’re running your 1.5 mile course at a certain pace, try one day a week of shortening the distance but speeding up the pace. So if you’re running 1.5 miles at 8 miles per hour (a 7.5 minute mile), try to run 1 mile at 9 miles per hour (a 6 minute and 20 second mile) . You’ll build up your stamina and speed at the same time. Also, try performing your push-ups and sit-ups before you run to increase endurance for the long haul.
Tip #3: Interval Training
High intensity interval training has taken off recently as the cardio workout of choice. By constantly varying your pace up to short bursts at a very high speed, you can actually help train your body for faster and faster speeds. The high intensity part is the fact that interval training won’t work as intended if you run for a minute and walk for five, you need to vary your pace between different running paces all the way up to your maximum speed for interval training to be effective. Remember, being in the best possible condition for your Air Force fitness test will make sure that you excel each and every time. Slacking on personal fitness won’t do any longer.
Use these three tips to excel in the 1.5 mile run and exceed the Air Force Fitness Standards. If you need a detailed plan that takes the guesswork out of training – you should check out the complete AIR FORCE PT Test system. Click on the graphic below and see what the program has to offer.