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Simple Test to Measure a Runner’s Fitness Level

For runners to measure our fitness level or VO2Max can give us some quite accurate measure to estimate our overall fitness level, pace and VO2Max. All this information can also help us figure out what time of training we should aim for and according to our age, what level we are at.

Often, we find it challenging to find a way to know and test our fitness level. A good and easy fitness test used to estimate a runner’s aerobic fitness or VO2Max is The Cooper Test, which was created in the US in 1968. Internationally, it has been used ever since, it is simple and accurate.

The efficient functioning of our cardiovascular system is a key to determine our performance level. The ability to supply the muscles continuously with adequate levels of oxygen is referred to as the aerobic capacity.

Measuring the aerobic fitness by having runners to push their body to the limit provides an accurate measure of the aerobic capacity or VO2Max. Our VO2 Max is defined as the maximum rate of oxygen consumption as measured during intense exercise. It indicates how efficient an individual uses oxygen while exercising.

How to Perform the Cooper Test

The goal of the Cooper test is to run and cover as much distance as possible in 12 minutes.

Tips for Running Your Cooper Test:

1. Warm-up: Prior to starting the test, ensure that you warm-up for 20-30 minutes, including light jogging and 100m strides to get the body prepared.

2. Course: The test should ideally be carried out on a standard 400m running track, or find an accurately measured flat road course of the same distance (using your GPS watch).

3. Visuals: Put a visual aid (a cone or a water bottle) at the 200m point of the lap, to assist with pacing and help determine total distance covered.

4. Timing: You could use a 12-minute countdown function on your watch if performing the test on your own. This way you can focus on keeping count of the laps and then you can stop the test once your watch beeps. Alternatively, if you have someone helping to record the test, they can set you off and keep count of the laps and time.

How To Calculate Your 12-Minute Run Cooper Test Results

After completing the test, you could calculate your estimated VO2 max by using the following formulas

Kilometres: VO2 max = (22.4 x your distance in kilometres) – 11.3

For instance, imagine you cover 3000m. Your estimated VO2 max would be (22.4 x 3) -11.3 = 55.9.

You can then use your test result to compare your performance to the norms for both your age and gender according the VO2Max Chart.

Another option is to use the distance achieved to determine how you compare to others of similar age and gender.

Cooper Test Results for Males (in metres)

Cooper Test Results for Females (in metres)

Test Your Fitness Level, Feel Happy, Enjoy Running!


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