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Preparing for upcoming PT test? Read this first

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. – Whenever the physical training test rears its head, the chatter that comes with it is heard, spanning from confidence to self-doubt. Although an integral part of military life, there are those who struggle with certain components of the test, often time’s the run, and I just happened to be one of these people.

But as fortune would have it, I came across a service on base I wasn’t even aware existed. The Ellsworth Running Clinic. I took the course with the intentions of writing an article, and ended up rethinking everything I knew about running. It was my wake-up call.

In the course I learned a great deal about the proper running form and how much of a role it plays in your performance. Each part of your body works in tandem to be able to propel yourself forward – if a part of you is moving incorrectly, it can throw you off dramatically.

Thankfully, along with its educational courses, the running clinic provides gait analysis testing to determine where your form lies. After taking the gait analysis, I learned that my form was atrocious. From bad arm swing to improper foot placement, it was a mess.

Form, however, is not the only component they teach you. The course discusses many different stretches and exercises consisting of resistance workouts, such as knee sidesteps, ankle long sit, elbow flex and so on, to condition and strengthen the smaller muscle groups of the body that aren’t worked as much.

Proper footwear is an important factor as well. Beforehand I thought shoes were just shoes, not a big factor in a person’s run. But I learned that when running, the arch in your foot plays a role with your form, your feet start to swell, and wearing the wrong shoes can lead to injury.

With the tips and tricks I learned from the clinic in my mind, motivation from my peers and a goal of reaching a 90, I took to the track.

The techniques I was shown felt awkward at first, initially thinking they were unusual, but they worked. Because of the practice I had done with the new techniques, along with a pacer buddy to keep focused, I was able to shave off over 30 extra seconds and surpassed my goal.

Whether a person is avid runner or simply a beginner, I recommend attending a running clinic session. The information I learned during this class was highly beneficial for me, making me a more confident runner.

For more information on the running clinic, contact Geri Seal, 28th Medical Operations Squadron health promotion program manager, at (605) 385 – 6250.