By Michael Golembesky
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — You have just reached the three-mile marker and your lungs feel like they are on fire. Your skin is dry but your shirt is soaked with sweat. There are lots of advantages to running at altitude, and here at Peterson there are many jogging routes for you to test yourself.
Cardio, from the Greek word kardia meaning heart, is an excellent workout for overall health and well-being. With an elevation of 6,187 feet above sea level, Peterson is an ideal location for strengthening your body to high altitude jogging.
Runners at Peterson will have a new jogging course option coming later this spring. A new quarter-mile gravel oval track is being built in the open space adjacent to the Army Strategic Command Headquarters, also known as building 3. This track will be open to all personnel with base access.
In addition, there is no need to run alone. The Peterson Running Club meets at 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday behind the bowling center. The club welcomes all levels of runners and is an excellent opportunity to meet fellow cardio enthusiasts and learn about other running clubs in the Colorado Springs area.
To get the most out of jogging at high altitude, follow these simple guidelines form the 21st Aerospace Medicine Squadron:
- Hydrate. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your run. The goal is to have your fluid intake match the amount you lose during the run, so the more you sweat out, the more you need to replace.
- Take it easy. Start with easier runs until your body has adjusted to the altitude, increase your distance and speed as your cardiovascular fitness improves.
- Wear sunscreen. Colorado’s higher elevation greatly increases sun exposure even on those cloudy or overcast days.
- Lip balm. When you pass another runner you want to be able to crack a smile, not your lips.
- Acclimate. Because the barometric pressure decreases at higher altitudes, it feels like there is 25 percent less oxygen here than at sea level.
The Peterson HAWC can measure an overall fitness level (VO2 max) for active duty members and match specific heart rates to your aerobic, anaerobic threshold and maximum heart rate. Additionally, the HAWC offers biomechanical gait analysis with corrective exercise prescription and body composition testing. The information can help active duty members succeed in not just their Air Force physical training requirements but their specific exercise program and goals.
Jogging course options here at Peterson include:
- Oval track located behind base gym, building 560
- 3.5 mile trail run around the golf course
- Coming soon: quarter-mile oval track east of building 3.
Three routes that start at the fitness center include:
- 3k route with turnaround point at golf course club house
- 5k route with a turnaround point near the new east gate
- 10k route that loops around Peak View park
As a reminder, wearing headphones or earphones (other than hearing aids) while walking, jogging, running, bicycling, skating or skateboarding on base roadways is prohibited.
For more information about fitness facilities, workout activities and running route maps, stop by the front desk of the Fitness and Sports Center or visit the 21st Force Support Squadron website at www.21fss.com/about/fitness-center/. For information about the HAWC call 556-4292.