Need to Qualify for Air Force Basic Training - 1.5 Miles in 12 Minutes

by Ryan F.

I am a 19-year-old young adult 5'10" 145lbs. I'm getting ready for Air Force Basic Training in 2 months. I'm active, not a smoker, and was in sports in high school. One of the physical requirements for basic training is running 1.5 miles in 12mins or less.

I can almost run/jog the 1.5 miles, but I'm mostly out of breath by the end. Good thing is that my legs aren't tired.

My questions are:

  • Will slight jogging it or even fast walking, improve my time / stamina?

  • I get a slight head rush/dizzy, when I stop running, but not during. Is this normal?

  • Many thanks in advance for your answers.

    Answer by Dom:
    Hi there,
    Thanks for your questions about the dreaded 1.5 Mile Test!

    I will address your questions in reverse order.

    Head Rush or Dizziness after Exercise

    1.5 miles air force test
    A head rush or dizziness after exercise can happen. Possibly not something to be super alarmed about. It is likely caused by dehydration, a lack of blood sugar or a drop in blood pressure.

    I have it sometimes after my Sunday long runs. I get home after a couple of hours of running, quick shower and get stuck into garden and house work. Basically forgetting to take care of myself, i.e. not drinking sufficient water or might be a bit late having lunch or a snack and I get a few dizzy spells, especially when I stop an activity or get up quickly from crouching down.

    So, as a first port of call, make sure you hydrate and have something to eat. Eliminate those things as possible causes of your dizzy spells. Clearly, if it continues to happen, even when well hydrated and fed, then consult with your doctor, because something else might be at play.

    Slight Jogging or Fast Walking to Improve Endurance

    Jogging and walking are good ways to improve endurance. And as you get more familiar with covering longer distances and your endurance improves, you should find that you are less out of breath and your 1.5 mile test times should improve!

    You did not indicate how fast you can cover the distance now. With only two months to go, I hope you are not too far removed from your goal....

    It's quite an important component of the training equation - i.e. if you are close to your goal, then you can afford to be a little less aggressive in your training approach. Further removed (e.g. currently covering the 1.5 mile test in 15+ minutes)? Then there is some serious work to do!

    So, you are on the right track to improving your endurance, but how you proceed from here is dependent on how much progress you need to get.

    The general advice on how to get to your goal can be summarised in two simple lines:
    1. Run slow and long
    2. Do some fast stuff too

    1. Run Slow and Long

    1.5 miles air force test
    You need to start covering a lot more distance in your run/walks. The 1.5 mile needs to feel easy. The way to do that is to get to a point where you cover 5-6 miles with your run/walks!

    So, you need to start increasing the distance. You can do your runs or your run/walks or even walks at a slow pace.

    It would be fantastic if you could get up running or run/walking for 5-6 miles. 1.5 miles will feel like a short little stroll then... :)

    More advice about the approach to take can be found here:

    Increasing Mileage Safely - How to build up your running

    Beginner Running Tips - Check out a collection of beginner running tips to get you going.

    2. Do Some Fast Stuff Too
    Additionally you will want to build up some speed in the legs. With so little time to go, it will be good if at least once a week you start doing a faster workout such as intervals or goal pace running.

    Some useful links to explain this in more detail:

    Training for the 1.5 Mile Run

    Interval Running

    Goal Pace

    I hope that provides you with some ideas on how to proceed. With only two months to go you have very little time to lose. I'd recommend doing four runs per week and do long walks on two days, with one day reserved for recovery.

    Not knowing your activity levels, this is likely to be a big ramp-up in exercise, so you need to really listen to your body as you go on this fitness journey. Injury risk increases exponentially when you start doing more workouts and run for longer. So, all the while, keep checking in with your body and in case of problems, scale back the workout of that day or cancel it altogether.

    All the best.
    Kind regards,

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