This test is for the people who are in the very earliest stages of running, people just starting out, people who are capable of either running a number of steps rather than minutes – or people running a minute or so or five or six minutes or less.
If that describes you, this test will help you determine which weekly schedule to start with in the Walk to Run part of the coaching program. One of the most valuable elements of this program is that I encourage you to be very careful about beginning at the right level of intensity. I don’t want you working at an intense level as a beginner, despite the fact that most programs have beginners doing exactly that.
If you can already run a half mile, non-stop, then you don’t need to take this test. Just start with Week 1 of the First 5k Program.
If you are just starting out, just beginning your running journey, please take the following test:
To make sure you’re starting at the right place, please take the following Fitness Test. Be sure to read through all the instructions because; otherwise, the test may be inaccurate.
If you can already run a half mile, a 5k or 10k, then you already know what you can do. You don’t need to take the test. Just go straight to the schedules, and pick the week that most closely mirrors your current training level.
If you’re just starting out, still building up to running a half mile, non-stop, please continue.
Walk one mile to warm up, walking briskly enough to elevate your heart rate. You’ll know this by feel. The more out of shape you are, the faster and more easily this will happen. If you’re in good condition, you’ll need to walk at a brisk pace. No matter how fit you are, this test will not be accurate unless you warmup first. This step cannot be skipped.
**You’ll need a watch with a timer or you can use the stopwatch feature of your phone.
The goal of this test is to measure how long you can run before it feels intense. For some people that will be 15 or 20 steps. That’s fine. The Walk to Run Schedules are for people at the very beginning. They’re meant to accomodate this level.
On the other hand, some people will find they can run 30 seconds or a minute or a quarter mile.
You will need to count your steps and time yourself.
When beginner runners start out at an intense level, one of two things happen: Either they hate it and stop training after a few days, or they get injured. Either way, they never reach their goal. My system works great!
Now, the goal is to run at your most comfortable pace until it starts to get hard/challenging and to measure the quantity of running by both time and number of steps.
What not to do:
- Do not run until you max out, until you can’t run any more. This maks the test invalid. I want you to run until it gets a little difficult, a little demanding but not until you’re uncomfortable.
- Do not run until you’re red in the face
- Do not run until you’re huffing and puffing.
What to do:
Start your watch at the beginning, and time yourself and simultaneously, count your steps. Run at the slowest speed you can run and when it gets a little hard, stop running and stop your watch and remember the number of steps you took. This is how you will determine which week’s schedule is right for you.
Running is defined by having both feet off thee ground at the same time. I do not ever use the term, ‘jog,’ by the way. It’s too vague and has a negative connotation. So, when I say slowest running pace, I mean what you might have previously thought of as a jog.
Most people just starting out, will only have one speed, either running or not running, and the running, any running, will be intense. I get that and expect that. That’s fine, but some people who are already somewhat fit – or who’ve been runners in the past – will be capable of multiple paces, at least for a short time. This is an endurance test. I need to know how far you can run. For that, it should be at your most comfortable pace, no matter what your fitness level.
Now, you have a critical piece of diagnostic information. You know how long your running segments should be. You’re ready to look at the schedules, the various weeks, and find the week with the hard days (there are three hard days per week; the others are just walking, in the beginning) that mirror your current level. Boom! This is where to start. It could be Week 1 or Week 9 of the Walk to Run Schedules, r maybe you discover that you can already run a quarter mile, comfortably. Then, you should find the appropriate week in the First 5k Program.
If you have any questions, please email me at email@example.com.