Ever wonder how fit you are as a runner? Although this may not be not something you think about every day, the truth is, no matter what type of athlete you are--marathoner, baseball player, lacrosse player, or casual jogger--determining your running fitness level will ultimately help you improve your ability to train, allowing you to safely increase endurance while building confidence. So, if you run, it is a good idea to test your running fitness a few times a year.
Before we jump into 7 ways to test running fitness, let’s start by explaining the two types of fitness.
The Two Types Of Fitness
Anaerobic - Literally meaning “without air”, in short, this type of fitness is the ability to produce speed and power. Great for short running bursts, anaerobic is used when sprinting or powering to the finish line.
Aerobic - Literally meaning “with air”, this type of fitness is the ability to move at a sustained level for a period of time. That means aerobic fitness is used anytime that anyone runs, walks, or moves.
With that, when determining the running fitness of any athlete it is important to do tests that replicate their sport. For example, when looking at a rugby player anaerobic is key but when looking at a track star that specializes in the 10,000-meter event, aerobic is essential.
Please note that, while some of the following tests like the Yo-Yo are good for beginner runners, others like the 26.2 Predictor are great for professional marathoners or cross country athletes. Each test result may be compared to your own previous score or to averages of people in your same age and gender.
Also called the bleep test or a shuttle run, the goal of the yo-yo is to run a 20 meter stretch, back and forth, faster and faster, until the runner is exhausted. In between each sprint, you have a 5-second rest period. The test is over when you, the participant, are no longer able to keep up the pace to finish the 20 meters timely. The number of times you can complete the sprint is your score.
To perform this test, after warming up, run one mile as hard and fast as you can. Once done, you can use your time to determine a longer distance pace. For example, for a 10K pace, multiple your mile time by 1.15. Note, this test can also be done walking.
3. Yasso 800’s or 4 X 800’s
Actually two different tests with the same concept, Yasso requires you to run 800 meters ten times while the second test only requires four times. Best done on a track, after running at full speed, then do a recovery jog, followed by another run at full speed. Do this until you complete the rounds. Your time is your result.
As mentioned above, this test is for long-distance runners. It is used to predict marathon time, gauging preparation before a race. When performing this test, start by running at your marathon pace for 10 to 14 miles, then run according to how your body feels until you hit 20. Once complete, use the average time of your race pace and multiply it by 26.2.
Great for both runners and walkers, to perform this test, move as fast and far as you can for 12 minutes. At the end of the allotted time, calculate the distance covered. Once you have your distance, determine your VO2 MAX mile score by multiplying the distance by 35.97. Things to remember when doing this test, use a stopwatch and perform it on a track with a solid surface. Traction and surface-levels can affect results.
A short yet effective test, this test can actually be performed by cyclists, runners, swimmers or other competitive athletes. To start, complete a warm-up, then when ready, run as fast and hard as you can for three minutes. In the end, record your distance. Repeat this test in the same running conditions every week or so to see improvements.
7. The 5K Test
This test is great for runners who want to see their current endurance levels. To do this test, you need to run a 5K in the shortest time possible without stopping. Once complete, you can pace your future workouts, prepping for longer races on your achieved 5K time.
Want to ensure you are equipped for testing?
To ensure you are ready to make the most out of these tests, we suggest having the proper gear including shoes, clothing, and compression socks. Shop the Crazy Compression best sellers for all types of runners and get ready to achieve the best test scores of your life.