After many weeks and months of training, it’s time to put that hard-earned fitness to the test. As both a means of validating your hard work and dedication as well as to gauge your current ability, a ‘fitness test’ type workout will provide an accurate assessment of your training to date. It should also serve to both reward your past and present efforts while also motivating you to push for even more going forward.
A fitness test is similar to a prediction workout in that it will depend entirely on the type and distance of race you are training for. A marathoner focusing on endurance will be looking to pass a very different test than a miler who is mostly interested in speed.
The idea behind any good fitness testing workout will of course be to try and get the most out of yourself and get an accurate assessment of your current fitness. It should therefore be more challenging than a typical workout but not as challenging as a race. (Although there are numerous reasons why a race environment might in fact not be the best setting for performing at your best).
Mentally, you should approach this workout with the intention of giving 100 per cent and seeing how well you can do. Find the best possible route and try to save this for the most ideal time of day.
Here then are a sample of fitness test workouts* for a few popular race distances:
5K: 5 x 1K at 5K race pace with one minute easy/rest in between.
10K: 3 x 3K at 10K race pace with two minutes easy/rest in between.
Half: 4 x 15 minutes at half-marathon race pace with three minutes easy/rest in between.
Marathon: 2 x 45 minutes at marathon race pace with five minutes easy/rest in between.
*Be sure to warm up with 10-15 minutes of easy running before starting the designated workout. Add a few strides–10-20 second accelerations–and dynamic running drills as well. Finish with a final 5-15 minutes of easy running.