Fitness training improves run times

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Eve Daugherty
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Kaiserslautern Military Community members completed an eight-week running improvement program Feb. 28, 2024, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

A total of 15 fitness coaches volunteered with the 86th Medical Group Health Promotions office to help KMC members improve their 1 1/2 mile run times and meet their fitness goals over the course of eight weeks.

“We work with individuals of various skill levels to help them improve their running form, running time, help them to either get ready for their fitness test, or just be more physically active,” said Catharine Cutler, 86th MDG Health Promotions coordinator.

Last year, participants saw an average of 40-second improvement on their run time after completing the training program.

“I am able to run longer distances without having to stop to walk as often, or at all,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ariana Ward, 86th Medical Squadron, orthopedic surgical technician. “This training has helped me improve my endurance and I have knocked a minute off my run time.”

Participants were split into groups, beginner, intermediate and advanced, with coaches that cater to their skill level.

“Every workout is laid out in a way where we do a dynamic warm up to start, then we go into the run which can be anywhere from 20 to 35 minutes depending on the skill level,” Cutler said. “Then, we'll do an ab workout that lasts anywhere from five to 10 minutes, and a five minute cooldown.”

The program also welcomes those who are not running currently.

“There's also a component for members that have experienced injury and want to get back into running,” Cutler said. “The walk to run is made up of members that have either experienced a chronic injury, or maybe they have a sprained ankle or knee injury and want to get back into running safely so they're not running a mile and a half starting out.”

While the majority of participants were active duty military members, anyone with base access can train with the volunteer coaches. A record-setting 97 participants signed up for the first training course of 2024.

“The new year is a good time for people to take stock of where their wellness and overall physical health was from the previous year,” Cutler said. “I think a lot of people want to start off the new year on a good foot.”

Regular physical activity can improve many aspects of KMC member’s overall health and contribute to mission readiness.

“I would say that mission readiness means being at your best physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally,” said Cutler. “That includes having access to healthy foods, getting adequate sleep and having some type of physical fitness routine.”

The volunteer coaches met with members three times per week over the eight-week period to provide consistent training. One of their goals was to to keep training outdoors as much as possible.

“There's a lot of issues with seasonal depression in the winter months,” said Cutler. “Having a way to get some outdoor activity with the sunshine can help boost mental health this time of the year.”

Volunteer coaches not only provide instruction to KMC members, but participate in the exercises as well.

“We're not asking people to go and do something by themselves, we want to do this with you,” Cutler said. “I really enjoy participating in this program and I think that it makes a really big impact on the community in helping people reach their fitness goals.”

The current training session began March 1, and coaches are accepting late registrants for those who still want to sign up.

“Advice I would give to someone who is struggling with fitness goals would be to try and find a plan that works best for you,” Ward said. “Don’t be afraid to try new things, and push yourself to achieve your goals.”