Cooper Test

A few months ago I decided to give a running club a try.  I’d always avoided them in the past as I quite like running by myself, enabling me to train how I want.  However I thought it was about time to try and improve my speed, and some track sessions seemed the best way to do this.

Guildford and Godalming Running Club meet at the Spectrum running track every Tuesday evening, so this is what I decided upon.  Every week two sessions are offered; one aimed at half/marathon runners the other at 5/10k distances.  I’ve been concentrating on the shorter distances as this is what I want to improve my speed on.  

The sessions have been a complete shock to the system, and although I can complete them, I’m usually the one bringing up the rear.  This type of short burst speed running is not all in my comfort zone, but I suppose that’s the idea.

Yesterdays session was the ‘Cooper test’.  A quick google threw up this definition:

“The Cooper test is a test of physical fitness. It was designed by Kenneth H. Cooper in 1968 for US military use. In the original form, the point of the test is to run as far as possible within 12 minutes.”

So basically you run as far and as hard as you can round the track for 12mins and see how far you’ve covered.  The results are then used to calculate a measure of fitness.

After a warm up of 3x400m with a 60 sec rest between reps (not sure this helped with the test!); the 12 mins started.  Technically the test is supposed to be performed in still conditions, however this was not the case last night and there was certainly a head wind to contend with (nice excuse), however I set out at a pace I thought I could hold. 12 mins later I’d completed 7 laps and about another 150m so around 2950m in all.  According to this chart: 

That puts me in the ‘very good’ category.  Pleased with that!  More pleased however that for the first time I was neither last or lapped during training!

Plugging the results in here gives me a VO2 Max of 54.7ml/kg/min or 5.46min/mile.  

Although I’m usually interested in stats, I’m not really sure how this helps me.  I suppose the real test will be when we under take the Cooper test again in a few months to see if I’ve improved.


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