by Heba Hosny in Health + Nutrition

Serious Runners – Enjoy Top Running Fitness Tests (part two)

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As promised, we’re back with more running fitness tests. These tests are designed to help you in getting a reliable and accurate assessment of your endurance and fitness level. Enough talk! Let’s get running.

U.S. Marine PFT (Physical Fitness Test) Three-Mile Run

This test is performed by U.S. Marine personnel twice a year every six months.

  • Purpose: This fitness test measures legs muscles endurance and aerobic fitness.
  • Required Equipment: three-mile flat-running course and a stopwatch.
  • Procedure: The target of this test is the completion of the three miles distance in the shortest time possible. To start-up, all participants line behind the starting line. Once they hear ‘Go,’ time counting will start and participants will run at their own pace. Occasional walking is permitted.
  • Scoring: The total course completion time is recorded for every participant. For men, approximately one point is deducted from one hundred for every ten seconds slower than eighteen minutes. For women, approximately a single point is deducted from one hundred for every ten seconds slower than twenty one minutes. The participants must complete the run under a given time in order to pass the test. Check the below table for the minimum requirements for men and women.
Age 3-Mile Run Males 3-Mile Run Females
17-26 28:00 31:00
27-39 29:00 32:00
40-45 30:00 33:00
46+ 33:00 36:00
  • Comments: To achieve optimal result in this test, good pacing and adequate practice are required. However, motivation is the number one factor affecting the overall test performance.

1.5 Mile Run: Physical-Readiness-Test

This test is performed by the United States Navy personnel twice a year.

  • Purpose: measuring legs muscles endurance and aerobic fitness.
  • Required Equipment: 1.5 mile hard/flat running course and stopwatch.
  • Procedure: This test target is completing the 1.5-mile course in the shortest time possible. On start, all participants line up behind the starting line. On the command “Go”, the clock starts, and participants begin running at their own pace. Walking is completely discouraged but authorized when necessary. Upon test completion, a cool- down-walk is performed.
  • Scoring: Time taken to complete the required distance is recorded for each participant.
  • Comments: During the run, it is critical to provide medical support in place or some sort of medical emergency plan. In addition, serious climate conditions such as humid, cold, or hot weather should be completely avoided. Water or other sports fluids should be readily available after test completion.

The 20-Meter Run Fitness Test

This test is developed by fitness and health consultant John Miller.

  • Required Equipment: none-slippery and flat surface, 20-meter measuring tape, marking cones, and stopwatch.
  • Description: This test requires continuous running between two lines that are twenty meters apart, attempting to complete as much distance as possible in five minutes. At least one foot must step over the end-line on each lap. Excellent pacing is essential so that the utmost distance is achieved in the allocated time. Walking is allowed but not encouraged.
  • Scoring: The athlete’s score is counted as the total number of 20-meter shuttles completed in five minutes. The greater the number of shuttles completed, the more fit you are. John Miller reports that the top score he recorded for men was sixty and for women was fifty five. The worst score was nine for a man and a woman.
  • Target Test Takers: this test is ideal for people of various fitness levels. It is particularly suitable for those who have poor fitness levels.
  • Advantages: Large groups could easily perform this test simultaneously as long as there is enough number of people for counting laps. Alternatively, each participant would be responsible for counting his own laps.
  • Disadvantages: motivation and pace levels can influence the test score. As this test is often conducted outdoors, credibility of test results maybe questioned due to weather and environmental conditions.

The 300-Meter Anaerobic Run Test

  • Purpose: this test is designed to measure “anaerobic capacity”, which is very important for performing intense yet short amount of effort.
  • Required Equipment: running track or oval, stopwatch, plus optional marker cones to be placed around the course.
  • Procedure: The target of this test is the completion 300 meters in the fastest time possible. An adequate warm-up is required before the test, such as stretching, jogging, or short sprints. For start-up, participants should stand behind the starting line. Once they hear the command “Go”, running and time recording will begin.
  • Scoring: The total time taken to complete the 300-meter run is recorded, to the nearest 10th of a second. The below table shows test ratings for adult men.
Rating Time (seconds)
poor > 77
below average 71.1 – 77
average 65.1 – 71
above average 59.1 – 65
good 54.1 – 59
very good 48 – 54
excellent < 48
  • Reliability: the reliability of this test would depend on pacing and practice strategies and above all, motivation level. Once these key issues are taken into consideration, test results are definitely reliable.
  • Advantages: Large groups can do this very easily and it’s cost-effective test.
  • Comments: Participants may finish this test at a very close rate to each other. If the number of assistants needed to record completion times is insufficient, consider splitting up participants into smaller groups.

There you have it: excellent collection of running fitness tests for you to choose from whichever you prefer. One thing all these tests have in common is that motivation is a key factor in assessing your tests scores. Once you figure out the test that best suits your goals and fitness level, stick to it. Keep taking it on regular basis and if you have a consistent running schedule that you follow, you will notice rapid improvement in your tests scores in no time. Just keep running!

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