In South Korea, running club offers AF fitness test prep
Stars and Stripes October 21, 2009
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — Airmen here and around the globe know that when the tougher new Air Force fitness standards kick in next year, the running test will count for a major part of their overall fitness scores.
So officials here are setting up a “run club” to help get them ready.
“The objective is to have a program for airmen to prepare them for the aerobic run assessment that’s due out in January,” said Dr. Reginald B. O’Hara, an Air Force physiologist at Osan. “Because it will include 60 percent of their total score.”
The club will incorporate a 16-week program that features weekly runs and lectures on an array of run-related topics, O’Hara said.
Active-duty personnel will have first crack at taking part. But it’ll also be open to Defense Department civilians, contractors and dependents.
It’s geared for those who are currently jogging at least twice weekly, O’Hara said.
“This is a running club, so this is not for everyone,” he said.
“If someone is not currently running at all and just wants to start an exercise program, this is something they couldn’t belong to.”
Those interested can sign up at the base gym or the nearby Health and Wellness Center. The club’s first meeting is set for Oct. 29 at the Officers Club.
Good fitness scores are of high importance to airmen because a record of failed tests can lead to separation from the Air Force.
Starting next year, the Air Force will test airmen’s fitness twice a year instead of once. And where cardiovascular fitness now counts for 50 percent of an overall test score, it goes up to 60 percent next year.
The body composition portion of the test drops from 30 percent to 20.
Club lecture topics are to include injury prevention, how to use a heart rate monitor, sleep and recovery, how to increase speed through tempo training, proper stretching, nutrition, and effects of caffeine.
Runners will be divided into groups according to their running levels — beginner, intermediate and advanced. Runs will vary from 30 minutes to an hour and take place on Osan and off base.
The club will cap its training in March by taking part in a marathon in or near Seoul, O’Hara said.