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  • Writer's pictureDallas Galloway

Measure Aerobic Fitness with the 12-Minute Run

For 50 years athletes have used a simple test developed by Dr. Kenneth Cooper to determine their aerobic fitness level.

12 Minute Run Test Administration

Prior to taking the test, be sure that you are properly hydrated, and warm up for at least 5 minutes.

Here are the basics for administering a 12-minute run test:

  • Use a flat and accurately measured surface such as a standard 400-meteroutdoor track.

  • Choose a time of day where weather conditions are relatively mild.

  • Run in lane 1 (the inside lane) the entire time.

  • Try to maintain a steady pace throughout the test while covering as much distance as possible.

  • A common mistake made by those who are new to the test is to start much too fast. This will result in early exhaustion and will cause you to slow down considerably the rest of the way.

  • Keep track of how many laps you have completed, rounded to the nearest quarter of a lap.

  • Cool down properly by walking slowly for 5-10 minutes.

The following chart will convert the number of laps you completed with the distance in miles covered. Since running tracks today are in meters rather than yards, you need to be aware that 1 lap (400-meters) is just a tiny bit shy of a quarter mile. Therefore, 4 laps on a 400-meter track is actually 0.994 miles. 

Click here to calculate your estimated VO2 max based on the distance in miles that you cover during the 12-Minute Run test. The link will also provide you with your fitness category based on your sex and age group.

Full article here.


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