Medical Corner: Interval training can improve you PT score

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Matt Gjertsen
  • 32nd Flying Training Squadron
There are two training principles essential to every form of exercise -- specificity and overtraining. Most people in the Air Force get plenty of specificity, running 1.5 miles over and over again. 

Though this is better than doing nothing, those who do nothing but that kind of training are neglecting the other half and are missing out on great benefits to their run time.
The following is a simple plan to make sure that you get the best score you can in the shortest amount of time. 

Start out by looking at your score chart and figuring out how fast you want to run. If you are a 30-year-old male and want to get 45 points, you need to run the mile and a half in 10:15. To give yourself a buffer and make the math easier, let's call it 10 minutes. 

Divide 10 by six and you get 1:40. That is the speed you would need to run every quarter mile in order to run your test in 10 minutes. That number now becomes the basic building block for the rest of your workout. 

To start out, warm up with light running for at least five minutes. Once your muscles are ready, it is time to hit the track. In the beginning, aim for four to six quarter-mile repeats at 1:40 with an equal amount of rest. 

Make sure to keep yourself at this pace. The first couple may seem easy but the last ones will be harder. You can do this workout once or twice a week. After a month of training, begin doing six to eight, then after another month increase to doing three to four half-mile repeats at the same pace. After you finish, make sure to cool down.

This workout accomplishes several things. Physiologically it will help increase technical things like your maximal oxygen consumption and lactate threshold. Mentally, it will get you accustomed to running the right pace so that it is easier when you take the test. How many times have you ran the first lap in 1:30 and the last lap in 2:30? 

Not everyone wants to be a runner, but if you incorporate some running principles into your training, it will help you get the most bang for your training buck and it also gets you done with the test faster.